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Matt Damon Aging, also known as Matt Damon Gets Older, is a reaction featuring actor Matt Damon (who portrays James Ryan) rapidly aging into an old man from the 1998 war/drama film Saving Private Ryan. The reaction image and GIF are typically used to express how something makes one feel old or out-of-touch upon realizing the age of something they used to love. It is less frequently used as a way to show how someone is waiting for prolonged amounts of time for something to happen, such as the release of a game.
The original clip that the meme is pulled from is seen during Saving Private Ryan, released on July 24th, 1998, specifically the scene where James Ryan visits the grave of Captain John Miller after the war has concluded. During the clip (featured below), James Ryan is looking down at the camera as the scene shifts to the present day, showing him rapidly age into an old man.
The GIF version of the scene appears online as a common reaction several times throughout 2015, though the exact first use is unknown. One of the earliest examples was uploaded by Redditor<1> turtleplop on February 6th, 2015, to the r/reactiongifs sub. The post (seen below) received over 16,400 upvotes and 504 comments.
MRW I discovered my first ear hair at 33 from r/reactiongifs
Another example was posted to Imgur<2> on November 12th, 2015, by user LowFatBaconWrap. The post (shown below), which uses the reaction GIF to the caption “MRW I tell my son my first dad joke,” has since been viewed over 25,000 times and given 3,100 points.
iFunny<3> user NotImagine_2016 posted one of the earliest four-panel versions of the reaction image (seen below) on May 2nd, 2017, receiving nearly 100,000 likes and 1,000 comments.
On November 30th, 2017, Twitter<4> user BasicallyIDoWrk uploaded the reaction GIF under the caption, “‘You’re 27, you’re almost 30’ -Simone,” receiving over 2,200 likes and 102 retweets.