This Is Us

So You’ve Realized You’re as Old as the Mom From ‘Home Alone,’ and Other Millennial Milestones

How to celebrate your impending irrelevance

If you are anything like me — a 38-year-old who owns multiple DVD copies of Heathers so I can still watch it when the grid goes down and the world becomes The Road, even if one of the cannibals on The Road steals my other copy — you woke up recently to an unwelcome surprise. Timothée Chalamet starred in a Super Bowl car commercial where he portrays the college-age child of Edward Scissorhands and Winona Ryder’s Kim. This commercial begs many questions, including: In the movie, Vincent Price gives Edward his scissorhands as an aid to help in his movement—so why was this kid born with them? Isn’t that like if I had a kid and that kid was born wearing one of my hats? Also, how traumatic must that pregnancy have been? Also, why does Chalamet need this money? Did he already spend all of his Dune money? What, does he need a new yacht to practice tongue-kissing on?

But there’s one bigger, more important question lingering over all of these: How the hell did I get so old?

I’m not here to answer that question for you — only your knee pain and faint personal memories of Bob Dole’s Pepsi commercial can do that. But I am here to tell you that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, it’s a life milestone you should appreciate: the Feast of Realizing That the Important Art of Your Youth Is Simply the Next Generation’s Meaningless Retro Nonsense. And I demand we celebrate it. I demand we start observing Life Milestones for Aging Millennials.

When you’re young, it feels like there’s a new life milestone celebration every 15 minutes. Bat mitzvahs! Quinceañeras! Graduation! Prom! Around every corner lurked a new opportunity for adults to congratulate you and lovingly photograph your worst haircut (a bob that was incorrect for your face shape paired with Buffy-style highlights you did yourself with Jolene mustache bleach).

But over time, the milestone celebrations trickled off. This is true despite the fact that when you’re in your thirties and forties, you’re changing as much as you were back when you wore a pair of Jncos to phonetically learn your Torah portion. But at this point in life, you have to get married or have kids to get anyone to even pretend to pay attention to your internal growth.

There’s no reason we need to live like this. We can live happier, healthier lives by embracing every milestone that comes our way now — and embracing them with full-throated celebration, not shame. Once Jeff Bezos finally admits he was hiding 215 million hits of the vaccine in his garage “just to be safe” and we get back into the swing of regular life again, we have an opportunity to re-envision how we want those lives to play out. I suggest we consider ways to integrate these new aging milestones. The all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktail is on me!*

Day You Realized You Are as Old as the Mom FromHome Alone’

Alternate celebrations: Day of Realizing You Are as Old as the Mom in a YA Novel; Day of Realizing Danny Tanner Was Only Supposed to Be 30 in the First Season of Full House; Day of Realizing There’s a Whole Generation That Considers Winona Ryder a Mom Instead of a Sexual Icon

How it is celebrated: Watch Home Alone. Google Catherine O’Hara’s age, because you’re trying to figure out how old she’d have to be to have four kids and a McMansion and enormous shoulder pads. Spend the rest of the film unable to enjoy Kevin McCallister’s Death Wish-style antics due to the knowledge that Kate McCallister is supposed to be your age yet somehow has a McMansion and shoulder pads and so many kids that she kind of has to neglect some of them, just for logistical reasons. How did she get the money to buy that house? She and John Heard never talk about their jobs or anything, and frankly, they take very long vacations for people with high-flying business careers.

Watch Home Alone 2. See the part where Kevin goes to his uncle’s gut-renovated uptown Manhattan brownstone, and decide the McCallisters just have family money. Probably from poisoning the ocean or something. There, now do you feel better?

Feast of When You Stop Noticing Your Back Ailments

Alternately: Feast of When You Stop Noticing Your Knee Ailments, Feast of When You Stop Noticing Whatever Is Going on With Your Left Hip (Is It Higher Than the Right One? Is That Even Possible?)

How it is celebrated: Oh, this is not the day your back pain goes away, friend. That’s the day you die! No, on this day, the sensation of your random body muscles stiffening and contorting in pain — possibly due to an injury you obtained in 1997 after accepting a dare that involved letting your best friend, Dunkin D, very slowly, gently, and carefully run you over in his car (a 1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet) — is no longer noticeable to you. It has simply become part of the wretched background noise of daily life, like your credit card debt or those cats who seem to always be having sex beneath your window whenever you have an important work call.

(What is Dunkin D doing these days, anyway? You guys kind of lost touch after college. Google him for a few hours. He either runs an extremely profitable all-natural dry cleaning business or he’s been dead for eight years; those are the only two options.)

Deliana (Day You Realize Delia Deetz Is the Only Relatable Person in ‘Beetlejuice’)

Alternately: Tuccina (Day You Watch Easy A and You’re Like “Stop Cutting Away From Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson Because This Is Their Tale!”)

How it is celebrated: Watch Beetlejuice, your favorite movie from early adolescence, because you’re in search of comfort. Realize that every character is kind of an asshole (yes, even the Maitlands, ESPECIALLY the Maitlands! You’re telling me they can’t cross over into the eternal peace of the afterlife because they’re worried someone is going to fuck up their hideous wallpaper? I’ll fuck up ALL of your hideous wallpaper right now! For free! Oh my god!)

But of those assholes, the only really relatable one is Delia Deetz. Lydia is 12; Beetlejuice is that very charismatic guy you dated in your twenties who lived in a van outside his dad’s house for “political reasons”; Charles is doing that classic middle-aged dad thing where they act like they want to make all these big changes to spend more time with their family and then when everyone bends over backward to make them, they just hide in the basement building model ships.

The only one not fucking around here is poor Delia Deetz, who would have obviously have rather stayed in New York City, where she could be having a nice late dinner with Cindy Sherman at Odeon and then maybe doing a tiny bit of coke at the Mudd Club if she was feeling especially frisky. But instead, she’s trying to be a good partner, she’s rolling with it, she’s attempting to make the best out of the situation even though you know the people at the local supermarket are not going to be very nice to her about her frankly amazing leather opera gloves. Honestly, maybe the real villain in Beetlejuice is Charles, a dad who cluelessly leads his goth family to the ’burbs, leaving them with nothing to do but summon the dead and/or become injured by their own dangerous art.

Orthodox Rugratia (Day You Show a Child Something You Liked When You Were Little and They React Like You Showed Them a Piece of Roadkill)

Alternately: Day You See a Baby Play With a Wooden Block Like It’s an iPhone

How it is celebrated: Very earnestly try to show your child (or niece, nephew, godchild, younger cousin, or best friend’s kid that you can’t really relate to but, god, you’re trying) a beloved show or film from your childhood — let’s just say, for argument’s sake, E.T. Forty minutes in, look over and see them making the same dead-eyed, blank expression you had when your dad used to try to make you watch old episodes of Bonanza. Turn it off, saying, “No, whatever, actually, it’s super boring, I don’t even know why I put that on.” Cry in the bathroom (don’t worry about the kid noticing; they’ve already moved on and are watching TikToks about how to very gently and carefully run over their best friend with a 1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet).

Day You Realize You Have to Throw Out Your Baby Doll Dresses

Alternately: Day You Realize You Have to Throw Out Your Mesh Crop Top That, Now That You Think About It, You Maybe Bought to Wear to Ozzfest? Could That Be Right?

How it is celebrated: Pull a dress out of your closet. Not just any dress — a dress you love, a dress you consider indicative of your own dynamic personal style. Maybe the dress has a Peter Pan collar, maybe it has a baby doll waist, maybe it has weird ruffles or pictures from My Neighbor Totoro all over — it doesn’t matter. Look in the mirror and feel suddenly horrified. You don’t look whimsical—you look deranged! If you walked all twitchy down a dimly lit hallway in this dress, you could probably be a Silent Hill villain. Oh my god!

Quickly pull from your closet and drawers any/all of the following:

  • Heart-shaped sunglasses
  • Crop top that a sales associate once assured you gave you a “real Kate Hudson in Almost Famous vibe”
  • Striped knee socks
  • High heels with giant bows on the toes/back
  • A threadbare furry winter hat with bear ears that you thought gave you a kind of “sexily unbalanced, Marla Singer from Fight Club” vibe
  • A knockoff of that pink pouffy dress Villanelle wears on Killing Eve that you bought from Etsy, and even though it is basically made out of a pink trash bag, it did somehow cost over $100

Almost ritualistically, try on each item in front of the mirror. Then, slowly, take each item off, realizing you can never put it on again. Scream “All of my clothing looks like it belongs to a sexy baby!” up to the skies, where it falls upon the ears of a cold, uncaring god. Buy some high-waisted jeans and hope the pain ends eventually.

Day You Realize You’re Horny for TV Dads

Alternately: Day You Started Watching Riverdale

How it is celebrated: If you talked to your therapist about the death of Luke Perry, then you have already celebrated this. Otherwise: Watch an old episode of Stranger Things. Remark, to both no one and everyone, “Why doesn’t Jim Hopper have a girlfriend? I mean, what, Joyce can’t date him cause she’s a neurotic mom who’s lived through trauma? I’m a neurotic mom who’s lived through trauma! STOP TELLING ME I’M NOT ALLOWED TO DATE JIM HOPPER!”

Day You Checked Timothée Chalamet’s Wikipedia Page for His Birthdate Because You Had Just Seen “Call Me by Your Name” and Yeah, It Was Very Good, But Also, You Were Like, “If He Was Born in 1997 or Later, I Will Leave This Fucking Planet”

How it is celebrated: Lucky you, he was born in 1995! I mean, the very end of 1995. Really, almost 1996. Remember 1996? The year you lost your virginity? …I mean, he’s probably not yours. I mean, if he was, someone would have told you, right?

Right?

*Of course it’s not on me, that was just a trick to get you to read to the bottom of the page.

“I was feeling very depressed, which is how most stories start.” —Amy Heckerling * buy my damn books: https://tinyurl.com/yxd852a2

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store