I hope I'm wrong about this and you've already transcended that milestone
The problem is that I think I 'transcended' it for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, I'm a legacy after my father, who taught about half of the people now slowly transitioning into senior staff. Secondly, though somewhat related to the above, for one reason or another, people often think I'm a lot smarter than I really am, so investing their time in me can be easily rationalised. Thirdly, a point related to both previous ones, I never had the feeling of some insurmountable gap between myself and the authority of professors, teachers, whatever. Of course they are better at this shit, most of them had their doctorates for longer than I'm alive ffs! So I asked without restraint, talked with them, got them to recommend me books they consider valuable but not necessarily course-worthy etc etc etc. And whilst many thought I'm being a brown-noser, I knew that the best way to get a senior researcher to talk was to approach them and say "so I read your papers on X, but can't wrap my head around X' in the thing you cited…" or "sorry to bother you, but I got this idea/intuition/hunch after the last lecture/presentation/paper, but can't find anything definitive on it" and they literally wouldn't shut up about it, since it's clear they do it out of passion 99% of the time. Probably helps that I rarely ask questions when I'm not interested in something myself, so it tends to go swimmingly.
Right now I'm trying to sever all remaining ties to my university in order to see how I'll fare without at least the first point, which is why I'm aiming for PhD studies almost literally anywhere else.
Though, age-related jabs seemed to stop being that much of a thing after I started retaliating indiscriminately. After verbally destroying one dumbass, I finally got what I wanted this whole time: people not talking shit within my earshot. Plus, to quote Freeman's Mind internet series (watch it if you hadn't, it's a riot), being fit in an academic field means you can easily beat up most of your competition. :P
I honestly had no time to ponder matters of religion or other things. I guess you put it best with "Still, that doesn't mean that it's terribly difficult to have fun at no one else's expense, get payed, and progress as a person all at the same time. We all have bad days, or weeks, or months. No big deal." It felt oddly nice to revisit this post, though. Not enough to say that notifications were a part of The Plan, but sometimes it's something one needs and doesn't know.
EDIT: Also, here's a joke for you: e ^ pi ≈ 3 ^ 3 = 27