907: Ages

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Every age: "I'm glad I'm not the clueless person I was five years ago, but now I don't want to get any older."
Title text: Every age: "I'm glad I'm not the clueless person I was five years ago, but now I don't want to get any older."


This is a graph of the general themes that occur between the ages covered by each individual set of brackets. The layout is a parody of larger timescales of human or geologic history, e.g. "Bronze Age" or "Iron Age".

The "ages" identified and experiences typical at that age:

  • 0-3 - "[Non-sentient]" - Babies/toddlers are not self-sufficient and not intelligently communicative, which means they lack many of the elements that we associate with human intelligence. Sentience is difficult to clearly define, but it's often (and somewhat erroneously) correlated with self-awareness. There's disagreement about when self-awareness emerges in children, but some sources argue that it occurs around 2-3 years old.
  • 4-12 - "Everything is exciting!" - During this period, children are growing rapidly and learning many things for the first time. Between the newness of their experiences and a general lack of emotional inhibition, children of this age frequently exhibit a level of enthusiasm and excitement about the world which is rarely found in adults.
  • 13-17 - "Everything sucks!" - As children grow to be teenagers, they frequently have prolonged periods of personal and emotional turmoil. This age range includes the transition from childhood to adulthood, which carries multiple social, personal and biological implications. Many children of this age tend to encounter hard truths of life and lose much of the naivete of youth. This often leads to strongly cynical attitudes about life in general.
  • 18-22 - "Woooo college! Wooooo—" [vomit] - This age is typically a young adult's first foray into the freedom of adulthood (frequently in college). With many of the restrictions of childhood removed, but lacking the experience and maturity of someone older, young adults will often take things to excess, including partying and drinking (which accounts for the vomiting).
  • 23-30 - "Relationships are hard!" - Having grown out of the young adult stage, people in their twenties experience their first "adult" relationships, and generally encounter a great deal of difficulty and often no small amount of heartbreak.
  • 31-42 - "So are careers!" - Growing now into their thirties, many people become increasingly concerned about building careers. The more serious one becomes about a serious and long-term vocation, the more complexity they're likely to encounter.
  • 43-54 - "No daughter of mine is going out dressed like that!" - This is the general age range in which people might be the parents of teenagers. This phrase is a cliche, implying a parent is forbidding their daughter from wearing revealing clothing in public. This sort of interaction represents an older person who is focused on preventing perceived impropriety or danger, and is often thought of as an oppressive killjoy by the younger generation.
  • 55-75+ - "[More sex than anyone is comfortable admitting]" - For people with kids, this age is known as the "empty nest" phase, where their children have moved out on their own. For many people, this is also when retirement occurs. Both of these things bring about a significant increase in both free time and privacy. While many young people don't like to think about their parents being sexually active (and some would prefer to assume that older people don't have sex at all), there are many people who remain sexually active well into their later years.

The title text is a joke about the shortsightedness of many people (at any age) in believing their current age to be ideal.


[A number line labeled "age." The start point is 0, with points labeled 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, and the line continues past the width of the panel. There are interstitial, non-labeled points. Above the line are labeled brackets, with the rightmost one trailing off in a dotted line. They are (approximated):]
0-3: [Non-sentient]
4-12: "Everything is exciting!"
13-17: "Everything sucks!"
18-22: "Woooo college! Wooooo—" [vomit]
23-30: "Relationships are hard!
31-42: "So are careers!"
43-54: "No daughter of mine is going out dressed like that!"
55-75+: [More sex than anyone is comfortable admitting]

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I don't know how Randall knows about the 55+ range, but ok. Davidy²²[talk] 01:44, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps he is dating an older lady... 02:47, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
The fact that STDs among the elderly are going rampant -- Lackadaisical (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

"0-3 - babies/toddlers are not self-sufficient and not intelligently communicative." Babies at age 2 can communicate pretty good.(And some older people cannot "intelligently communicate". Kickasl108.162.229.40 18:52, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

I believe the idea is that most 2-to-3-year-olds are only capable of communicating things that could be boiled down essentially to either "I want that" or "I don't want that" (at varying levels of intensity and repetition). This is not generally considered "intelligent" communication - indeed most of the phylum chordata is capable of this level of communication. -- Brettpeirce (talk) 14:33, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
As a father. That's just BS. Or I have a genius baby. At 3 she is communicating more than just needs. She communicates fears, dreams, imagines she's a superhero, can count to 20, and can point out logical fallacies. She understands when I'm away on business, and can understand that I cannot interact with her physically. However, right afterwards she'll pretend I can interact with her and will run from the phone. She is sentient. I have reason to believe they are capable of these thoughts at even younger age, just unable to speak their minds. Cflare (talk) 21:51, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Wow, Randall. Way to be a privileged white middle-class dude. Not everyone goes to college! Nitpicking (talk) 14:34, 12 September 2021 (UTC)