Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Column #20: My generation's aging - and that's a good thing

In last week's USA Weekend magazine, the cover story was about Drew Barrymore. Generally, that wouldn’t interest me, but this story caught my eye. The cover quoted her as saying, "I'm trying to figure out what the second half of my life is going to be."

Barrymore, 35, is only 6 months younger than me, and only slightly young enough still to remain within the youth-obsessed media's acceptable age demographic.

From the perspective of today's teens, I suppose she's been an adult for a long time now. By any reasonable standard, 35 is fairly adult. But, as someone who's known about (if not actually know) Barrymore since we were both 7, it's odd, having to consider that someone still so youthful and immature-seeming is barreling towards 40. Because that means that I am, too.

This isn't a problem for me, though. I'm one of those people who got called "an old soul" by concerned teachers. I can't wait to yell, "Get off my lawn!" at some rambunctious kids without having to worry that they might still consider me young enough for a fight.

I anticipate being a lot more adorable at 70 than I was at 35. At the very least, it will make more sense, why I'm wandering around in a cardigan and sensible shoes, mumbling about how the Kardashians haven't done anything to deserve their fame.

In the same magazine, I saw that Macauley Culkin just turned 30. Melissa Joan Hart, TV’s "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", and starring in a new sitcom with Joey Lawrence, also 34. Remember Hanson? They just played a free show at Ear X-tacy. Among the three of them, the brothers now have seven children. Recently, Hanson played inside Ear X-tacy. The Hanson brothers now have 7 children between them.

I've tried to be young. It just wasn’t for me. There’s not much worse than not knowing what's going on, not knowing who you are, being at the mercy of so many cruel factors - parents, teachers, bosses. I'd rather be old, rich and fat than get really stoned while the Foo Fighters play in a field behind me.

Meanwhile, all around me, some of my peers are trying hard not to grow up and move on. Hey, I'm glad that your band was awesome in 1989. I'm sure it was super exciting for you when you were 16, rocking out with your teenage fans and friends, hormones in overdrive and totally stoked to move out of your parents house one day. But now we're heading towards middle age, and even Drew Barrymore is getting old.

Why do bands keep reuniting 20 years later, but old high school football teams never do? Would that really be any different? Both are intensely physical roles played by people who are, ideally, in prime physical and mental shape, trained and ready to go out and conquer in the name of glory, money and, most importantly, chicks.

Athletes, like dancers, retire much younger than teachers or doctors for a pretty obvious reason. Yet seeing how old, fat and sad the Pixies look now did little to discourage their fans.

Clearly, I didn’t peak in my teens. I’m finally happy now, in my 30’s. I did what I guess you'd call "settling down". No more psychodrama romances, no more staying out 'til 4 a.m. drinking away the pain. Now we have cats — three of them — and they are much more entertaining than hanging out with dudes, rocking out to yet another intense band in yet another sweaty basement.

That stuff helped me hate the suburbs and Ronald Reagan when I was an angry teen, but now I get to live in a great neighborhood in a lovely city, and we finally have a president who symbolizes the fact that this country is making progress and dealing with its prejudices.

Dear Generation X, our turn is over. Kennedy is no longer our VJ. MTV doesn't even play videos any more. Winona Ryder is no longer a movie star and Soul Asylum is finally a faded memory. Reality doesn’t bite us any more.

C. 2010 Velocity Weekly

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