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[personal profile] kgoodbuddy
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 ;-)

opinions by schuyler

Date: 2003-10-23 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mid-life crises (or possibly crisises) are okay, do what you feel you need to, but life is too short to hate the things we like. So what if people say that 50 is too old for NSync? People said that ten was too young for Monty Python and look how I turned out (okay, bad example). The point is that you're well on your way to being Mrs. Penland, or at least the you version of her. Do what you want and screw what people say. I'm 22 and I think you're damned cool.

Re: opinions by schuyler

Date: 2003-10-24 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In my head I know you're right----I shouldn't give a damn what anyone else thinks----but that's easier said than done. You know those disdainful looks we all give the tube-topped hoochies at concerts? I've gotten more than a few looks like that myself, from younger (mostly) folks at concerts and friends my age or older who stopped listening to anything new when the Beatles broke up.

I'm not sure I'm cool, but I'm glad you think so. You're not so bad yourself, for such a whippersnapper ;-)

I'm going for the clichés here.

Date: 2003-10-25 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're only as old as you truely feel. If you still enjoy doing those things now as much as you did when you were younger, go ahead and have at it. Don't let anyone boss you around, especially if it makes you unhappy.

there is never "too old"

Date: 2003-11-15 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
my advice (because I follow it?) - be yourself, like what you like and move on. If others don't like it, they're only hurting themselves by not giving you or the thngs you like a chance.

I was led here to your journal by the comment you made to my comment in Lucy's journal about PR&TR and The Monkees.

I'm a square peg and always have been and I know that other people know it and the ones who look at me funny get a "Snoopy Vulture stare" in return, and the ones who get along with it are my friends and acquaintances.

I DO like oldies and folk music though, but that's me. I also don't see why boybands are bad. Frankly, when NSYNC were first being released, I was one of the first consumers to hear their first album, since we were being offered the rights to publish a book about them ... I made a copy of that CD to listen to myself because it was so good! So.... ya know, I go with whatever floats my boat, adn screw the rest of 'em who can't take life easy. :>

Re: there is never "too old"

Date: 2003-11-15 11:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nice to meet another square peg ;-) I posted this in a moment of weakness---most of the time, I just do my thing and let the chips fall where they may. Although I DO find myself trying to be a bit more discreet about my opinions and preferences, if only to avoid the inevitable arguments. I've always described myself as a "fringe" person---even in my small high school, I got along with everyone but belonged to no particular clique. I was lucky to be able to fly under the radar and avoid the kind of harassment that so many other kids were subjected to. Nowadays, I've got good friends who love me ANY my little obsessions, and I'm content with that. I'm going to probably be the oldest person at the Q100 concert in Atlanta, and anyone who doesn't like it can just kiss my rosy ;-)

Re: there is never "too old"

Date: 2003-11-15 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it also depends a bit on where a person lives, about how discreet one needs to be about opinions and likes and dislikes. I'm from NYC and thereabouts and I now live in LA. I feel less of a square peg here in LA where everyone marches to their own drummer than I did while working in corporate NY - but NY was where I formed my "you don't like it? then don't look" attitude. ALTHOUGH I do have to be careful about some of my more liberal opinions while with the people who have horses at the ranch I board at, 40 miles N of LA. They're a lot more conservative.

As for the music, I will listen to BSB and NSYNC, but I've gone in a different direction. It's funny to see the crowd that follows the people I'm currently going to see and listen to. The folks who follow James Lee's music are in the 40 & Up age range whereas Peter's followers span 16 to 60.

And yeah, even though things were never so good in grammar school (I was definitely the odd kid out and knew it), in high school I had my friends and I got along with everyone. I pretty much decided, from day one, in high school, that I WAS different and I didn't care. And so I played up the different. Either people were embarrassed and avoided me or they thought it was cool. And that's how I've been since only moreso. :>

Being on the fringe is sorta fun. We get to have more fun than the straight laced folks. :>


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