How to Rationalize the Success of People Younger Than You

Private Plane

Let’s pretend for a second. Your grandpa has arthritis. He’s been suffering for years, can’t golf anymore and pops Advil on a daily basis like Skittles. You’re a young, successful, handsome doctor who just finished up residency and is looking to do big things. You’re scrolling through Twitter and see some 20-year-old undergrad researcher at Boston U has developed a cure for arthritis. What’s your first thought? Forget that guy. I haven’t done anything. I guess it will be nice to golf with gramps again. This Boston U guy is 20?! Ugggghhhhhh.

You can’t help it. Everyone thinks like that. People of all ages do amazing things, so no matter how old you are; someone younger than you is dominating your accomplishments. For example:

  • If you’re 19 and jazzed you got into a great college and are having fun freshman year, some high school senior gets accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.
  • When you’re 25 and excited your third $10/hour internship finally has led to full-time employment (at a whopping $35K per year), a 22-year-old has a 10 million evaluation on Shark Tank selling flip flops.
  • 30 is when you really start wishing ill on anyone younger than you having success, and there’s a lot of shade to be thrown given the amount of adults younger than you is significantly larger than at previous milestone ages.
  • At 50, literally everyone driving past your Toyota Highlander has a Mercedes. Time to leverage that 401K and lease a Corvette.
  • When you reach 75 I’d imagine you’d have more perspective. Nope. Forget Bobby and his genetics. “I could still be playing from the white tees too instead of these condescending yellow senior tees if my parents did Crew at Yale and I didn’t slip on Mary’s Pinot Grig spill last month.”

You’re not going to be able to stop thinking like this completely, so how do you rationalize people younger than you having more success? Here are a few reasons you’re doing just fine. Let them give you comfort.

Younger, successful people are still too vain and worried about everything

Let’s use tattoos as an example. 22-year-olds get trendy things like Chinese letters tatted on them they think say “Everything happens for a reason” but actually says “mountain bike”. I wouldn’t have gotten a tat when I was 22; now I’d get this tattoo.

Stay hungry tattoo

It works to motivate me in life and in the kitchen, shows people Tupac and I have similar tattoo sensibilities and is a clever way to convey that although I may be getting fatter, my sense of humor is staying as sharp as Bieber’s obliques. Chinese letters (or whatever nonsense is trending now) can’t do any of that.

Younger, successful people don’t have time for awesome things like:

1. Solving unrealistic movie dilemmas

At the end of Fast & Furious 6, that fight on the plane runway takes FOREVER. How long would that runway actually have to be? Someone not young and successful figured it out. Planes generally travel at 115 MPH when trying to take off and the scene took 15 minutes, meaning the runway is around 28.75 miles, 25 miles longer than the world’s longest runway at Qamba Bamba airport in China.

2. Coming up with equations to decide between delivery and frozen pizza

Obviously you want pizza, but should you splurge on some delivery or waddle on down to Walgreens for a $4 Jack’s? How do you decide? This equation is what I’ve come up with to settle your debate between delivery and frozen pizza:

DElivery vs. Frozen Pizza Equation

Let me explain how the sausage was made here. We start with pi for obvious, pizza pie reasons and multiply by your jean waist size (For ladies, use 30 if you’re extremely fit, 32 if you’re right where you wanna be, 34 if you always spend $2 more than you want to at the Whole Foods salad bar, 36 if you’ve been on a two-year vacation and the diet starts tomorrow, etc.) The drinks come into play because if you’re really hungover, your self loathing probably makes you lean more towards delivery. If you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you potentially want to save money, or are trying to be healthier; both excellent reasons to lean more toward frozen. The number 14 represents a pepperoni pizza coefficient, and was chosen because it’s the number of letters in my favorite kind of pie, delivery or frozen. The equation then subtracts the number of dogs you own because if you own a dog, you don’t need as much comfort from pizza, and adds the number of volunteer hours you did the last week. Paws = #TreatYoself = Delivery. So you add all of these numbers up, and you have your answer. Why over/under 8? Because that’s how many slices are in a pizza. Duh.

3. Thinking about ways to bro-i-fy famous paintings

Check out Vincent Van Bro.


Younger, successful people have a lot of dumb relationship stuff to get over with

Take Russell Wilson for example. He starts dating Ciara after saying he knew he would end up with her before even meeting her. Eva Mendes seems nice. Eva Mendes seems cool. Eva Mendes seems funny. Then, 15 minutes before she goes on stage at a concert, he gets a sign from God saying he needs to lead her to the light.

I’m so done with Russell Wilson. He’s more a member of the Colorado Rockies than a Wisconsin Badger as far as I’m concerned. For how often Russ talks about teamwork and selflessness and 157 other nonsense cookie cutter clichés, this is so selfish and out of line. There’s no way God would send him that message right before Ciara’s concert. He would wait until after. God wants Goodies performed at its highest level. He didn’t bless her with all that talent for nothing. How is Ciara supposed to get her mind right to perform Love Sex Magic and Dance Like Making Love when Russ Danger just asked her to Dance Like Playing Scrabble?

You’d never see older, wiser, poorer, middle manager Todd acting like this.

1, 2 Step out of here Russ.

Younger, successful people probably don’t have time for listening to NPR

NPR is a quiet cabin in the woods of northern Wisconsin. It’s simple and refreshing and you can escape and talk about the non-material pleasures of life with people from varying backgrounds around a metaphorical camp fire. Young, successful people don’t have time to enjoy this. Cabs and Suburus get NPR, not yachts and private planes. Missing that downtime to evaluate what’s really important has to turn you into a savage.

Tangent: If I ever have the pleasure of talking to Ira Glass, I hope the conversation starts with him telling me about his favorite place in the U.S. to cross the street. After three minutes and when his story is crescendo-ing, I cut him off and go on a rant about the people who have to be first in line to cross the street who will run up to the very edge of the curb at cross walks and box me out even is there’s only six inches of available space. I’d then transition to complaining about the people on sidewalks who are standing there but then decide to merge back into traffic walking directly in front of me when I’m jamming out to Fetty Wap, when all they would have to do to not have me almost pull a hammy is wait two seconds for me to pass. You want to talk some more about walking Ira?!

Younger, successful people can’t get push notifications

I love push notifications. Sometimes after posting a photo to Instagram of the skyline or a clever pun I see in urban nature, I enforce a “I’m not going to look at my phone for 30 minutes” rule and just let those double taps add up.

Around minute 17, I sneak a peak and see if I’m off to fast like start (Oooo double digits already! I’m not going to look to see who liked it until later. What a fun treat that will be.). Or if I have to readjust my expectations (What?! It’s 1:37. Wait. Seeing the time means NO ONE HAS LIKED IT YET.).

Successful, young people can’t get push notifications. Taylor Swift’s phone would be buzzing and lighting up all day and she’d get distracted while in important business meetings or while trying to apologize to Nicki. In general, young, successful people probably can’t enjoy the internet like the rest of us. They don’t have time for Cinnaman Bun Tumblr. That’s sad.

Cinnaman Bun Tumblr

And finally, they’re probably named Madisyn 

You may be rich, young, hot, successful and have found a cure for arthritis Madisyn.

But your name’s still Madisyn.


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