GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.
My friend Ramit asked me to write up a short list of things that you should do in your 20s, before you get married and have kids. I guess that since I've done both, I qualify, at the age of 31, as an old man.
Even if you're no longer a virgin (or even a "technical virgin"), the sentiments of Herrick's poem still applies--there are things that are much easier to do when you're young, and I hope that this post helps convince you to stop putting them off.
TOP 7 THINGS TO KISS GOODBYE WHEN YOU GET OLD AND HAVE KIDS
Been putting off your travel plans? Don't! Traveling can be tough enough when you're on your own. Now imagine that you have several kids that have bladders the size of peas, who refuse to eat any food that isn't purple, and who require more supplies than the U.S 3rd Army.
Travel now, or regret it later.
Enjoy eating out? Clubbing? Staying out late? Better live it up now. Unless you go the nanny or boarding school route, your days are numbered. Heading off to Vegas for the weekend is good fun when you're single, but grounds for arrest when you have kids (and don't take them with you).
Kids possess the destructive force of a natural disaster. If you think of each one as a Class 5 hurricane, you wouldn't be far off. After the first 100 times you clean the house, only to see it resemble a crazy cat lady's lair after just a single day of normal play, you'll give up too.
Between day care, the rent for a bigger house, clothes, food, toys, and the cost of getting a minivan (seemingly inevitable once you have two kids), my tots run me about $70K a year--post-tax. In other words, I keep about as much money as a single guy making $100K per year less. And you wonder why my friends have houses, and I still rent--it's because I was the first among my peers to have kids, by a wide margin.
When I was still in college, my roommate told me about encountering some middle-aged guys on the golf course. They told him, "Do you like golf? Nice cars? Guitars? The good life? Then never have kids! I could have bought a handful of Ferraris with the money I've sunk into my kids."
Imagine not getting a full night's sleep for 4-5 years. Yeah, welcome to my world. You'd be surprised how much you'll crave sleep once you have kids. I wouldn't kill a family member or friend to get more sleep, but I'd consider offing a stranger or a member of Congress. (Who am I kidding--I'd do the Congressperson for free!)
If, by some wild coincidence, you actually are a virgin, let me tell you that sex rocks. It really is as good as people make it seem on TV. The problem is, it's hard to find time for sex when you're chronically sleep deprived and have several light sleepers who could burst into your room at any time, and I mean AT ANY TIME. Gives new meaning on the term, "pressure to perform," when you know your kids might wake up if the dog barks.
When you're young, having sex three times in a night might seem routine. When you have kids, having sex three days in a row is a major accomplishment.
1. Free Time
You may not know this, but you have ridiculous amounts of free time right now. You just waste it. Once you have two or more kids, you'll be lucky to have an hour a day to yourself outside of work. Rather than going to Sheryl Crow concerts, you'll find yourself hoping that she makes a guest appearance on Sesame Street, just to hear something off her new album (even if the lyrics have been changed from to feature "The Letter I" and "The Number 7."
Now life as an old man can still be pretty darn good, despite all these drawbacks. It's not that life as a 20something is better, it's just different. Enjoy the life you have while you have it, because once it's gone, it's gone.