Why social media makes you feel like you’re 100 years old

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I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 82.

Something is happening online wherein it has become fashionable for objectively young people to say that they feel hideously, grotesquely old. The sentiment is everywhere: self-deprecating, semi-ironic bemoans of being an elderly hag surrounded by mere tots. On Twitter, 17-year-olds go viral for feeling ancient compared to the middle schoolers on their timelines. On Instagram, meme accounts share images of the Golden Girls captioned with “me watching TikTok.” On TikTok itself, college kids act as though they’re too washed to be on the app at all, while commenters praise Selena Gomez as the “queen of aging,” as if by 28 one should expect to be a rapidly shriveling crone (which, if you’ve ever read one of the dozens of BuzzFeed articles about the difference between being in your early 20s versus your late 20s, is in some way accurate).

There is now a kind of cottage industry for this precise emotion, made up of memes, listicles, and trend stories that are often in imagined response to missed milestones like making Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list or the presences of unfathomably young…


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