At what age do you get to do whatever the hell you want without worrying about the consequences?
I’m not talking about that “when I’m old I will wear purple” stuff; I mean physically.
It seems to me that life is like The Little Engine That Could.
When you’re young, life is a straight track without obstacles. You’ve got plenty of fuel to go wherever you want. You’re going to live forever (you think), so who cares what you put your body through? Sex with strangers, pizza and Coke for every meal; where’s the downside to being the beer-pong champ of the world?
As you get older you hit the foothills of the mountain. You start running, not as a way to get somewhere, but as a means to keep in shape. Safe sex becomes your mantra, and organic produce works its way into your diet.
I think I can, I think I can!
When you get to your 50s, you’re laboring up the steep incline. Can you do it? You’re taking in bran and fish oil like there’s no tomorrow. Sex is a rare thing that often requires chemical lifting agents. Trips to the gym alternate with new-age quackery in a desperate (futile?) attempt to keep death from the door.
Then, if you’re lucky, you’ve made it! You reach the crest of the mountain and can coast the rest of the way down. You’re one of those people in their 90s who smoke, drink, eat brownies for breakfast and take the tags off mattresses with reckless abandon.
I knew I could, I knew I could!
What I want to know is when, specifically, do we hit the crest? At what age does science figure our bad habits don’t make a difference any more? When can we get off the treadmill and hop on the coach going to Pleasure Island?
Because I want to put that date on my calendar right now, and circle it. In red.