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Friday, April 25, 2008

Aging vs. Growing Old

During my high school years I remember taking a trip to see my dad and a friend came along. He picked us up at the bus station and when we got into his van and turned on the radio, Motley Crue came jumping out of the speakers at us. Not only was I surprised but my friend was shocked that a parent would be listening to the same things as we were into. Thanks to growing up listening to Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and the early rock bands of the 80's from my dad's collection, they became some of my favorites as well. Now, just to clarify something, my dad is the youngest of most of my friends' dads because I was born just before he reached legal drinking age. With that being said, how many dads do you know who have "Dr. Feelgood" playing at glass-shattering levels coming into their 40's?

This brings us to the topic of aging vs. growing old. We are all "aging", but it's different for everyone in how they let it affect them. We've all heard the term "aging gracefully" which is another way of saying that someone wears their age well or that their appearance is still retaining some youthful glow. What I am referring to is just how much we change as we get older, from our taste in music to our political beliefs and everything in between. I can guarantee one thing for my senior years, and that is you won't see me breaking out John Tesh and Yanni simply because I have an AARP card in my wallet. Rest assured that on the other hand I will not be the old man with a cane in the front row at the strip club. It may seem far too early for a man about to celebrate is 32nd birthday to be thinking of "aging", you might say. Since having a son, I've noticed that the days pass like hours so I often find myself thinking about how I'll be when Gavin graduates from high school. I'm not concerned with being a "cool dad" or being "hip" for all of his friends because I'm sure my dad wasn't terribly concerned with that and ironically enough, he was cool without even trying.

Does growing old mean that you have to "grow up"? I sure hope not, and I plan to do everything in my power to keep that from happening. To my knowledge, there's no law that you have to "slow down" or give up the things that made you who you are along the way but I see people conforming to the senior citizen mold and wonder where their sense of youth went. I think the best example of this is what I call the "standard issue senior citizen shades" or "geezer goggles", which are the giant black glasses that cover the entire top half of the wearer's face. Mark my words, you will NEVER see those on me; no disrespect to those who use them, but DAMN!

Now getting back to the music issue, there is nothing wrong with slowing down now and then and giving the ears a rest. I do it now and then and sometimes I'd rather hear Norah Jones or Sade than Korn. That being said, age won't make me suddenly feel the need to abandon the music I grew up on just because those around me may think I'm acting childish or trying to cling to youth. I feel that many who start altering their tastes are trying to conform to what is expected of them because of nothing more than age, which is nothing more than a number unless you allow it to be. I've often said "you're only as old as you feel" and one sure way to feel old is to start acting that way. This post is my declaration of defiance in the face of "growing up" just because my age indicates I should.

1 comment:

Denise C. said...

Recently I've been feeling old...or at least older in all of the best possible ways. I feel older because I am experiencing life and soaking in ever experience. I am now present in the utmost sense of the word. I am fully aware of the fact that I am just beginning to enter some of the best years of my life. They are the best because I know myself better than I did when I was much younger. In some ways, I'm clearer about what I want and in others, to be honest, I'm less clear. Although I'm way more willing to admit that now. I'm more comfortable in my own skin. I feel older because I can appreciate how little I know but also how far I've come. With that Said... that doesn't change who I was, and part of growing is improving yourself without loosing your essence.