I Am “Why Do I Need Venmo?” Years Old

By Janine Papp Annett ’96

Comic of adults dancing with caption, all my dance moves are now considered ironic

Do you find yourself wearing a lot of clothing from L.L. Bean? Do you need to avoid too many glasses of wine or too much coffee, because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself awake at 3 a.m., unable to fall back asleep? Do you sometimes genuinely enjoy the music they play at the dentist’s office? I hate to break it to you, but this means you’re probably A Person of a Certain Age. 

women in line for club with caption, do ma'ams need ID?
drawing of woman in salon with caption, i'm how much do you want to cover your greys years old


Picture this: You’re out to dinner with a group of friends and the check comes. Inevitably, you’ll find that no one has change for a $20, or worse, no one has any cash at all. (I don’t know why no one could find time to stop at an ATM when they knew they would have to pay for dinner.)

Or, much to your horror, one of your friends will offer to pay with her credit card and say you can simply Venmo her your share of the bill. The only problem? You don’t have Venmo. You could offer to give her cash, but your friend will look at you like you’ve just offered to pay her during the Colonial era with a promissory note. PayPal? Forget about it. That’s like offering a testimonial about someone on Friendster.

Maybe you’ll start asking yourself why you need to adopt this new platform. What’s wrong with good, old-fashioned cash or credit cards?

Congratulations, you are now officially “Why do I need Venmo?” years old.

drawing of desk top with caption, I'm i can't wait for book club years old

Even if you no longer know about the cool up-and-coming bands or you are not an early adopter of the latest technology (but you are an early riser!), there are some benefits to getting older — like the fact that you can easily rent a car or that you don’t have to show ID to prove you’re old enough to purchase a bottle of moderately priced bourbon once a year at the liquor store. You might even have a 401(k). Maybe you feel more comfortable in your own skin and more confident about who you are. Perhaps you finally found the one brand of pants that fit you consistently. (If so, please share what they are, particularly if they’re available at a reasonable price point and you’re on the pear-shaped side.) Numerous studies have shown that many people get happier as they get older and find their stress, fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety lessen. (Maybe their IBS even goes into remission!) As Ben Franklin said (I think), “With age comes wisdom” (although Oscar Wilde clarified, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone”).

In addition to becoming “Why do I need Venmo?” years old, you just might find that you’ve become “hurt yourself putting on your pants” years old, “saw something you had as a kid in an antique store” years old, or maybe even “I can get down low but I can’t get back up again” years old. In which case: Welcome to the club. The members of this club go to bed early, wearing comfortable pajamas and reading a good book.

It’s really not so bad.


This essay is excerpted from I Am “Why Do I Need Venmo?” Years Old: Adventures in Aging, by Janine Papp Annett ’96 (Running Press, 2021). Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The New York Times, Real Simple, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

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