1. You sweat those newly-applied purple streaks right out of your hair.
2. You use the word “fuck” more now, even more than you used it in the 1980s — and you swore a lot in the ’80s.
3. Previously, you thought you were too punk for Sufjan Stevens. Now you hear a song of his in the car and sob uncontrollably, thinking: Sufjan, you may be young enough to have been a Comp 101 student of mine back when I was adjuncting in the ’90s, but you’re still the only one who understands me.
4. You start referring to anyone fifteen years or more younger than you as “the kids,” for example: “What is all that fucking horrific monotonous bass coming from the apartment above me? Oh, must be the kids and their fucking EDM again.”
5. Sometimes at the very beginning of a hot flash, when your face is prickly and the sweat is just starting and the lights in your living room seem to suddenly strobe, you convince yourself that it’s 1987 and you are back at Man Ray dancing to the Sisters of Mercy, and it’s not the end of the world as you know it and you feel fine, really.
6. You have, on more than one occasion, googled an acronym you’ve seen “the kids” post online – and the realization that this is something your elderly mother might do cues a sweat tsunami.
7. Spoken aloud, while looking in the bathroom mirror: “What the everloving fuck is going on with my neck?”
8. You hear that new St. Vincent song on the car radio and sob uncontrollably, thinking: Annie Clark, you may be nearly young enough to be the child I might have had if I’d been pregnant that time I missed my period in 1985, but you’re still the only one who understands me.
9. You’re 50 and still underemployed, because Gen. Fucking. X.
10. You privately think “the kids” are alarmingly intolerant of free speech these days, but you’d never say this aloud or online because “the kids” are your bosses.
11. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH CAGE THE ELEPHANT DO THEY PAY ROYALTIES TO THE PIXIES ON EVERY FUCKING SONG WHY DON’T “the kids” JUST LISTEN TO THE FUCKING PIXIES INSTEAD, FUCKING HELL I’M GETTING A HOT FLASH.
12. Injustices besides Cage the Elephant’s career that trigger hot flashes/rage sobbing: mealy peaches; being cut off in traffic by a gas-guzzling pickup truck festooned with un-ironic DON’T TREAD ON ME flags and TRUMP bumper stickers; having a project you designed and developed canceled on a whim by a manager who’s young enough to have been the baby you — thank god! — didn’t conceive that time you forgot your diaphragm in 1986.
13. Suddenly you can’t hold your liquor. This is especially bad because your plan for dealing with old age had been to get rip-roaring drunk every day from age 70 on.
14. The “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror makes you sob uncontrollably, thinking: Charlie Brooker, you’re the only one who understands me.
15. You realize that all those times you thought you were enjoying things ironically, you were really just enjoying them. (See: Lifetime movies, Bonnie Tyler’s “A Total Eclipse of the Heart.”)
16. You never thought you’d ever get this fucking old, man.