"Youth is something very new; twenty years ago no one mentioned it."
How much R&B and hip-hop does a middle-aged white dude have to listen to in order to convince himself that his "shiznit" is off the "hizzay"? I'm not sure what the answer is, it's a rhetorical question really. If you're using those terms then your shiznit is most definitely not off the hizzay because as everyone half our age knows, urban slang is old-school the day after it hits the sidewalks. There's nothing more pathetic than a middle-aged white guy trying to act 'street'.
So how to stay young and still enjoy a healthy mid-life crisis? Why do some of us wait until we're in our forties to do the things we should have done in our twenties? Why do some of us at this point in our lives notice more often those of the opposite sex who are ten or twenty years younger? (I'm not of course referring to myself, although it's very common in men my age. So I'm told. Wink.). Actually the answer to this question is very simple. We wait until we're in our forties before we start noticing those ten or twenty years our junior, because if we did this when we were younger it would just be major creepy. Really, do the math.
Anyway. As a continuation of thought from my recent post ("Youth is Wasted on the Old"), Sandy and I often find ourselves hanging out with a younger crowd. How cool is it to spend time with a couple only to realize they could be your son or daughter? On a scale of one to ten it can't be measured, because a negative number that low hasn't been invented yet.
The topic of this post came to mind as I was driving listening to my Ne-Yo CD (Year of the Gentleman). The fact that a middle-aged guy like me even owns, let alone listens to, a Ne-Yo CD is a huge thing to admit. Trust me. This is the thing that a guy can lose guy-friends over, because in another guy's mind whatever coolness factor you're riding on just got knocked down several points.
We hang on to what we can and chase that which is ever elusive. It seems we're never content to be our age, or act it. I know I'm not. Last summer I started composing music on my computer using a digital audio program. I've only produced two pieces so far; I'm not sure how to categorize them but I know they're not something a guy my age would normally listen to. I've written a few raps, one a gangsta rap which pokes fun at my very-cool neighbour (which I've performed in front of his entire family), another which could possibly have some commercial viability. Funny thing is I still consider myself first and foremost a rocker.
Occasionally I've pulled into the parking lot in the morning with my stereo blasting, revelling in the looks of disdain from those who are probably thinking I should act more my age. Actually I kind of like pissing people off sometimes (not at work of course). You can only go with the flow for so long before you've gotta shake things up a little.
When Sandy and I are out in public, the more I don't want to be somewhere the more likely I am to act up. So if we're grocery shopping, you can pretty much guarantee the forecast will be periods of scattered maturity with a 90% chance of silliness. Which includes the threat of embarrassing her in front of the "big hot sweaty firemens" again. Who knew a person could go bright red like that? Hmm.
Next summer I hope to attend an all-night trance concert, maybe Tiesto or Armin van Buuren if they're in town. Not because I'm trying to fit in but because I genuinely love the music. These events generally consist mostly of those much younger than I on a WAY-too crowded floor partying into the small hours of the morning. 'Course now, there are factors to be considered that weren't present before. Can I last nine hours on my feet? Hmm. I bet if I napped before the concert, took a bottle of aspirin with me and situated myself by the nearest bathroom for frequent breaks I could. Who, me getting older?
I take comfort in the fact that what I'm going through right now is coming very naturally, I'm not trying to fit in and it's not taking any effort. I surround myself with the people I do because I feel very much at home in their company, not because of any hidden agenda. The music I listen to, well, I think I'll always keep up with what's current. Yet I wonder, at what point do you draw the line? A sixty-five-year-old guy driving a souped-up import with a pair of twelve-inch drivers in the back pumping out hip-hop is very obviously grasping at fleeting youth. My time will come. Until then I'm in serious denial and I'm gonna have as much fun as my forty-four-year-old body and twenty-five-year-old mind will allow.
Ain't mid-life crises grand?