It’s not until about 30 that you begin to internalize that your life is finite.
In late adolescence you are under the impression that youth is an immutable characteristic of your identity. To be fair, it’s all you’ve ever known up to this stage. Aging, as it relates to a teenager has only ever lived safely in the abstract.
In your 20’s, you are further self-deceived. You are so overcome with the excitement of early adulthood that for nearly a decade you are too distracted by adventure to realize that time is passing by. Your first job, your first apartment, your new friends in a new city all reassure you that your story is only beginning to be written.
But then 30 arrives — much sooner than expected — as a blaring wake-up call to rouse you from the slumber of imagined immortality. You do the math and realize that even if good genes and good fortune are on your side, you are already a third of the way through your life. And even more alarmingly, your 20’s went by much faster than expected, much faster than the decade of adolescence that preceded them. You worry if the passage of time keeps accelerating at this rate then the next sixty years — years you are not even guaranteed — might actually feel no longer than the thirty that have already expired. You might as well be halfway there. You, the person who up until a moment ago was supposed to be young forever.
What’s still more troubling is that by 30 the novelty of pleasure has begun to wane precipitously. You become alienated from the hedonism that along with your youth undergirded your identity life-to-date. The law of diminishing returns has been set in motion never to be slowed or reversed.
And there is not even the stoic pride of years well-spent to remunerate you for these now stale pleasures. If anything your pride is at unprecedented lows because you have only just recently caught sight of how mediocre you truly are. You are not the precocious young person you once saw in the mirror. You never were. It was only ever a mirage — the cool air of potentiality passing over the hot bedrock of ego. You can no longer ignore the emerging population of prodigies, many years your junior now, that are already more accomplished in the domains you once believed you‘d have conquered by 30.
So with your finitude revealed and your pride gravely injured, you realize there is only one path forward. Kill the rest of your ego entirely in the ultimate act of rebellion against time and mortality. Generate a child.