Oct. 23rd, 2003

kgoodbuddy: (Default)
In 2004, I'll be turning 50. I've always sworn I'd never have a mid-life crisis, but I can see one coming full speed ahead. I've always been a fringe person, never fitting neatly into any of the handy categories our society uses to make sure everyone's pigeonholed properly. That's nearly always (okay, probably NOT okay at 13 or 14) been fine with me. So why am I starting to feel so self-conscious about who I am and what I enjoy?

I have friends who smile indulgently at me because I happen to love the same music their teenagers do. I'm sure they think it's part of some effort to be "cool". But I've NEVER liked listening to oldies----for me, half the joy of music is hearing what's coming next. I love concerts, but more and more I feel like I don't belong at the ones I really want to see.

You're not going to see me in a tube top in this lifetime, and I'm perfectly willing to just look-but-not-touch the beautiful young men I see. But I can still spend half a day in line for tickets, love a good road trip, and would much rather spend hours debating issues with my sons' friends than spending time with people who expect me to conform to whatever role a "mature" person is supposed to play. I remain a confirmed rollercoaster freak.

The new label floating around----"rejuvenile"----is being used to describe mature, responsible people whose tastes in music, movies, or recreation are more "appropriate" for much younger people. It's a label I find condescending as hell. How am I supposed to change my tastes? I like what I like. I can't see that ever changing. So how do I get past feeling like a freak not only among people my own age, but also with the people whose tastes I share?

When I was 17, my best friend was a 70 year old retired English teacher. She had a huge Victorian house, and rented out her upstairs to several guys from a college rock band. They loved her, she loved them AND their music. There was no stink of "oh, isn't she a cute little old lady" in the relationship---she was a vital, interesting human who remained a part of the changing world around her. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

In some ways, I think I've accomplished that. Teaching teens for the last 15 years has probably helped, and I've loved my relationships with those students as they grow into terrific adults. But I see now what I missed when I spent so many afternoons drinking coffee in Mrs. Penland's kitchen---if she had any close relationships with other people her own age, she never mentioned them. She probably found them boring as hell ;-) And I wonder now if she felt as out of place as I sometimes do.

I'm rambling. Time to quit. But I really haven't found an answer to my dilemma----I don't want to change who I am, but I don't want to look like a freak to everyone around me. If there are any suggestions floating around out there, feel free to send them my way ;-)

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kgoodbuddy

May 2009

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