Growing into middle and old age is a gradual process that occurs over the course of many years. Youth burns bright and fades slowly. Those youngest years depart at a churning pace, relentless and constant.
But our perspective of the transition is not aligned with that gradual piece. Us humans tend to understand things in a much more staccato way. We're prone to epiphanies and sudden realizations.
And few epiphanies feel more significant than the discovery that middle or old age has arrived. Though the evidence often comes along during a day's most mundane moments, the conclusion feels grand. After all, this is mortality we're talking about here.
A recent Reddit thread encouraged folks to recall a time that a minor occurrence tipped them off to the harsh truth: they were getting older.
LollipopDreamscape asked, "What was the moment where you thought, 'I'm getting old?' "
Middle Aged Inception
"I had a dream the other day about being in high school again, then I woke up and realized I was 28. Then it dawned on me that I'm actually 38..." -- dick-nipples
"Same. These last 10 years might as well have been a year." -- PhoneJazz
"I still have recurring college dreams when I'm stressed. I'll be 41 in less than a month." -- Happy_Fun_Balll
"It's like your subconscious is trying to hurt you lol" -- Tutuformypoopoo
"Don't Screw This Up, Kid"
"When I was older than my doctor." -- Panda-Head
"My grandmom described her doctor being lovely young man. My aunt told us he was actually in his mid 60's." -- fantsukissa
"That one hurts. When I moved I had to find a new GP, and I swear she looks like she's a teenager." -- FormalMango
"My wife and I went to a party, we brought guacamole. We left the party and forgot the bowl."
"My wife and I talked the next two days about how we need the bowl back and when we finally coordinated with the other couple and got our bowl back we were extremely happy."
Health Takes a Front Seat
"My wife and I had a 20-minute long discussion about fiber. That was it. We were officially old right then." -- kayser3373
"Literally was just talking about fiber not 15 minutes ago." -- siegewolf
"I will talk about fiber to anyone who will listen. Even better if they share my fibrous passion. It's so great for you and I long for the day when it's added to foods like protein is." -- TheOpus
Out of the Loop
"I have no idea what's happening in music right now. And I don't mean that in a lewronggeneration, 'back in my day!' Kind if way."
"I mean that I literally have no idea what is happening. I used to be so plugged in. I knew all the coolest bands and went to all the best shows. I was giving recommendations to people, I was making mix cds, it was my dream job to be a music supervisor for tv."
"Now...I don't know anything any more. I try, but it's overwhelming."
"I was driving and saw a very attractive younger guy running shirtless on the sidewalk. My immediate thought was 'OMG dude! I hope you wore enough sunscreen today!' " -- LadyBatman
"Similar, but I saw a guy in the parking lot of the grocery store and thought DAYUM....he was 55 at least and all grey." -- icamom
"Or when you watch college sports and think to yourself 'he's hot!' And then hope to God he's over 18." -- IHateRicotta
The Brutal Calendar
"When the new person I was training at work told me she was born in 2002." -- FormalMango
" 'Where were you on 9/11?'...'Not born yet.' Fuuuu**..." -- DeathSpiral321
"I was doing urban exploring and bumped into some teens. They asked me when was the first time I visited this location. I answered. It was the year they were born." -- I_love_pillows
"When everything started hurting all the time. Get up from sitting down, back pain. getting up in the morning, full body pain. Do any type of exercise, excruciating pain for multiple days."
"Started taking ibuprofen like motha f***in tic tacs"
Tis the Season for Utility
"One year I didn't get any socks for Christmas and was disappointed" -- Urethra_tormentor
"For me it was when I realized I was more excited about how Christmas was a day to sleep in rather than about getting gifts. Now that I have a (soon to be) 4 year old, I'm going to have to go back to getting up early once she grasps the concept of Christmas Morning." -- Dimonah
When Sleeping Becomes Strenuous
"When I couldn't sleep without hurting something on me. Currently stuck awake because I hurt my shoulder sleeping." -- applejackrr
"Sleep on the floor for a few days" -- xxrambo45xx
"And then, as you're lying awake, you start thinking about how the same injury used to be better the next day, and now it takes three days and some pain killers to start to get back to 'normal.' " -- markscourtney
A Place Where You Belong
"Went back to my university town for a wedding. Group of friends went to the club we all used to go, left in shock 5min later because everyone there looked about 12 years old."
"Ended up going to the 'oldies pub' instead."
Pop Cultural Differences
"Not one moment. But anytime I hear a song I grew up with played on a oldies or classic station" -- cantfindmykeys
"When you bring up events, actors, music or shows that everyone knows about, and discover that no one knows what you are taking about" -- feral_philosopher
"Or reading about current celebrities and having no clue who any of them are or what they do." -- darkbee83
Not So Fast
"I tried to skip steps on the stairs. Brain was totally unaware legs couldn't do it. Ate sh**." -- wouldja916
"oooofffff" -- Useless_bumbling_oaf
"But did people laugh or help? That is the real sign." -- announcerkitty
Gotta Get That Value
"Reading reviews on Amazon for lightbulbs" -- greenbean1969
"That's pretty bright of you." -- Thinks_Like_A_Man
"Daaaaadddd" -- Phoenie81
Spanning Multiple Eras
"When I saw three rookies start playing in Major League baseball and realized that I saw all their fathers play as well." -- loosethegales
"Same with hockey now. Every time the World Juniors are on or you follow the draft and you remember having their dads on your fantasy team not too long ago." -- LetsTalkDinosaurs
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.