The state of mind: Is the post-90s gen­er­a­tion al­ready feel­ing old?

Shanghai Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Cao Xinyu

THE hash­tag “symp­toms of ag­ing for the post-90s” has been viewed about 190 mil­lion times on Weibo.

Be­ing a post-90s my­self, I gave it a chuckle when I first saw it. The old­est mem­bers of the post-90s gen­er­a­tion are not even 30! How can we have any­thing to do with “old?”

But as I dug deeper, thoughts.

A vi­ral video do­ing the rounds on Weibo shows re­ced­ing hair­line, for­get­ful­ness, pref­er­ence of com­fort over style, fas­tid­i­ous at­ten­tion to health and sud­den af­fec­tion for any­thing that is pink — these are just some in­di­ca­tors that my gen­er­a­tion is over the hill.

I have to ad­mit, ex­cept for the last bit, that it was prac­ti­cally talk­ing about me.

My re­ced­ing hair­line wor­ries me ev­ery time I look at my­self in the mir­ror.

I went to a count­down party on New Year’s Eve but left two hours be­fore the count­down even be­gan. I couldn’t han­dle the noisy mu­sic and the overex­cited crowd was be­gin­ning to bother me.

I’ve been wear­ing long johns since late Novem­ber. Ev­ery time I see some­one cull their pants to flash an­kles, it sends shiv­ers down my spine.

I’ve been car­ry­ing ther­mos wher­ever I go, and the last time I got up to fetch wa­ter, my bones creaked a bit.

I guess I do feel that I’m get­ting old be­fore my time. And some of my friends have voiced sim­i­lar con­cerns too.

Huo, a high school friend of mine, said she has al­ready re­signed her­self to be­ing called ayi or aun­tie by teenagers.

I had sec­ond

“I used to be of­fended when peo­ple called me aun­tie. I once de­manded a pri­mary school stu­dent ad­dress me prop­erly on the sub­way. But now I feel like I am old enough not to care,” she said.

As some­one who just turned 25, Huo has long waved good­byes to milk tea, cof­fee, cock­tails and all the bev­er­ages young peo­ple may like. She has a teapot on her of­fice desk in which she makes chrysan­the­mum tea when­ever she has a sore throat. And she tucks into bed be­fore 11pm ev­ery night.

It’s about at­ti­tude

Though her healthy lifestyle is com­mend­able, it does seem like her life lacks pas­sion. She also thinks her mem­ory is on the wane be­cause she has so much to re­mem­ber at work.

As a ser­vice ad­min at an Amer­i­can elec­tric com­pany, she of­ten works non­stop eight hours a day, some­times six days a week. But her work­load never ends, and her boss is hard to please.

Though her hard work has won her ap­proval, she thinks her ca­reer prospect is quite dim.

“I have gained ex­pe­ri­ence, sure. But I can’t move up to the man­age­ment level, be­cause I don’t have an en­gi­neer­ing back­ground. It’s ba­si­cally a dead-end job,” she said.

As a lib­eral arts stu­dent, she used to be a book­worm and wanted to learn Ja­panese. But now she felt like her job has taken a lot from her. She couldn’t re­count how many times she tried to read af­ter work but didn’t make it to the fourth para­graph. At night she couldn’t find the strength to do any­thing other than ly­ing there with her phone in hands.

Asked how she could in­fuse her life with pas­sion, she said per­haps join­ing a gym and de­vel­op­ing a hobby could help. But both these things take time and en­ergy, some­thing, she says, she lacks.

I think I know ex­actly how she feels. Hav­ing worked for nearly a year af­ter my grad­u­a­tion, I feel the mount­ing fa­tigue pre­vents me from hav­ing fun. I can clearly sense that I am ag­ing faster than I should be. The pos­i­tive and cu­ri­ous self that I used to be is long gone.

But an­other friend sounded up­beat. She said she was hav­ing the time of her life.

Wang, who is also 25, works for a con­sumer prod­uct com­pany. Af­ter spend­ing eight hours in the of­fice, she de­votes nearly all her spare time to Chi­nese clas­si­cal dance.

She had al­ways been in­ter­ested in Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture and his­tory. To her, Chi­nese tra­di­tional dance is the cultural in­ter­pre­ta­tion of each dy­nasty. Its smooth footwork, grace­ful move­ments, ex­quis­ite cos­tumes and mu­sic, and the story be­hind it, in­trigued her. She now at­tends dance classes sev­eral times a week. Though the hard train­ing causes pain in her joints, she still thinks it’s a bless­ing to live her pas­sion.

“You’re as young as you feel” is the cliché we have all heard about. Per­haps it is true. To the post-90s who feel like ag­ing be­fore their time, it may only de­pend on your at­ti­tude to­ward life.

If you feel old, then maybe it’s time to do some­thing about it.

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