First, it was the friends getting married.
Then, the friends having babies.
Then, the friends getting divorced.
And honestly, for me, the second and the third happened at about the same time. Almost at the same rate. (Eventually, I hope the babies will prevail over the divorces. For now though, they're almost neck and neck.)
Then, it starts getting weirder.
There's the unexpected milestones. The ones you have no idea are coming, that you really couldn't have been expected to anticipate during your endless, immortal, infallable late teens/twenties/late twenties).
Your friends all stop smoking.
You start avoiding certain bars because everyone is way too young.
The hipsters in your neighborhood are suddenly emulating a completely different look than when you were a young hip kid. Instead of every dude at the Empty Bottle looking exactly like Beck, the dudes at the Sidewalk Cafe are all sporting the dyed black hair and pseudo goth style of the more recent Bright Eyes phase. I'm thinking there's probably some new hipster/music idol/look combo but, frankly, I don't live in the edgy 'hood anymore.
You end up in some kind of senior-ish position at work. You make a ton more money. So do your peers.
Everyone buys homes.
Your friends buy second homes.
Even though you don't have kids (if you're me, anyway), you start identifying with the parents more than the kids.
Most recently, I reflect upon my post-college early twenties as the distant past. The 22 year old girl from a decade ago seems as sweet and innocent as the twelve-year-old sixth grader. I've had a whole other lifetime of growing up.
I don't feel old as much as I feel richer, smarter, calmer, more confident. I am so grateful for the things I've learned.
And no way in hell would I want to go through it again.
I am still shocked and dismayed as I watch American Beauty again, for the first time, since it was in the cinema. And I identify with the middle-aged parents more than the teen-aged kids.