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Look, I know none of you want to hear this. You’d love to think that you’ll keep on plugging away at life with the same intestinal fortitude and ferocity that have made you the wild, off-kilter party animal that college life has made you. Everything for the last several years has been a steady, uninterrupted climb to the top. You went from barely being able to stomach a beer in high school (unless you were cool enough to be crushin’ brews since age 12, mad respect) to finding yourself pondering the dynamics of Multiverse Theory; that is, is there a universe in which drinking before noon on a Tuesday is even remotely acceptable? I’m no Neil deGrasse Tyson, but that one’s going to be a tough sell.
Alexander the Great once said that a man reaches his peak at the age of 26. The thing is, Alexander the Great wasn’t pounding cases of Natty Light and soaking it up with a 5-dollar large pizza. He was too busy conquering lands and naming a goddamn city in Egypt after himself. While it’s a wonder of the 21st century that you can literally spend four years dicking around in a semi-alert state, it takes a certain toll on you.
The first sign of your descent is the hangover. Rather than being hungover one in every five or six times you party, it starts to be more of a coin flip. Instead of cracking a morning beer and calling it good, you adopt a whole ritual that includes hourly aspirin tabs, ice cold water with lemon, and catching up on your favorite period drama.
You know that evening run that you go on to clear your mind at the end of the day? You need that run now. Your body has made changes that make every last late-night fast food excursion do real damage. Between your senior classes and your part-time office job, you’re doing more sitting than moving around, and your body hates you. It fucking resents you.
Maybe you’re an exception. To make a comparison with an all-time great, look no further than Tom Brady. Good old TB12 is nearly 40 years old and has been playing better lately than he was at age 30. His middle finger has been firmly jammed in Father Time’s face for over half a decade now. Suppose you’re like Brady, defying your age and still drinking heavily at 23 or 24, you’re still fucked because there are forces at work that are greater than your own physical deterioration.
Arriving at the tail end of your college career is akin to waking up from a coma, and as the haze clears, you begin to see the world differently. That collection of liquor bottles you have on your shelf? What are you, nineteen? Your friends are all interning at investment banks or law offices and here you are drinking until dawn and stumbling to your job at the car wash. The world has passed you by, and nobody bothered to warn you.
Oh, has reading this made you a quivering, emotional mess? I’ve got just what the doc ordered.
There you go, all better..
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