“That Was From Before I Was Born”

July 20, 2013

Nelson from the simpsons, pointing finger out with "Ha ha" bubbleHave you heard people say that before?

Often it comes with a smile, maybe a little shoulder shrug, and a slight little chuckle. (Wording varies too: “before my time,” “oh, I’m too young to remember that,” etc.)

Usually it’s in regards to some TV show, technological invention, historical event, or who knows what else. There’s a plethora of things it could be about…

Do you know part of the reason I know people say it? Because I have said it before!

And that’s incredibly embarrassing to admit. Really, just awful. I saw Mindy Kaling mention something from the early 90s on twitter the other day. Someone responded they hadn’t been born yet. They followed that up with “How’s that make you feel?”

That’s so rude! Although honestly, any time any of us feel the need to get out our megaphones, turn on our flashing lights, and proclaim to the world: “I’m so youthful!” – We might as well flat out follow it up with “How does that make you feel?”

Because really, how often have you heard that said (or perhaps said it yourself) when it’s not meant to be at least a tiny jab to the other person?

But let me let you in on a little secret. (Actually, it’s probably not a secret. Most likely, you all know this.) The reason we actually point out to the world, “I’m so young!” isn’t because we truly think we’re so great, but because we are so insecure.

I guess maybe I should stop saying “we” when I’m breaking down the feelings behind this, ’cause I can’t speak for everybody. But, I know for me, sometimes the reason I sort of flaunt my youth (even though I generally try not to do it) is because I am made to believe it’s valuable for some reason. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

Not only am I made to believe it’s valuable, but it’s incredibly fleeting! So, every chance I get to feel young is a chance to think (with desperation), “I’m still relevant, special, and liked, gosh darn it!”

(Even though in actuality, as far as Los Angeles years go, I’m long expired. (I’m over 18, after all.))

But the truth is, not knowing about an awesome TV show or interesting past event doesn’t make any of us so super cool or cute. It just makes us ignorant and less interesting.

I discovered Three’s Company for the first time last year (which is embarrassing in itself that it took me that long), but I adore it! It’s wonderful. I was the one who was missing out by not seeking out more television shows from decades past.

Since I’ve seen the show, I’ve actually heard Norman Fell and Mr. Roper jokes in various palces! And I can totally place what that means now. Learning about the past enriches my life, it doesn’t diminish it. There’s really never a reason to point out that I was too young for something, unless I just want to feel like a doofus.

So, if you’ve ever been around me when I’ve said I didn’t know about something ’cause I was (haughty voice) oh far too young for that – ugh, please forgive that arrogant, weird (and totally insecure) side of me. And if you’re ever around me if I do it in the future, but a stop to that. (Although I hope I’m awesome enough to never say it again.)

And if you’re someone on twitter rubbing Mindy Kaling’s face in the fact that you’re younger than she is, just remember – she’s the showrunner and star of her own television show on FOX. She’s wildly smart, funny, and successful. It doesn’t seem like being in her 30s is working out too poorly for her.

(Edited to add: Note: Sometimes this is a purely factual statement that helps in passing inform what you’re talking about – such as when Neil Degrasse Tyson mentions what he’s too young to remember in this video. I don’t feel like he’s bragging – just talking. (Nonetheless, I think the majority of the time, my point still stands.))

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?