The other day, a Facebook friend posted something that really struck a chord. To paraphrase, he said something like he felt as though he was a 22 year old spirit stuck in a 42 year old body and openly wondered whether he should continue playing music. Another friend posted one of those cartoon sharing things expressing a similar sentiment that you are only as young as you admit to being. This whole debate on the age appropriateness of listening to or (especially) performing music has gone on for a long time. In 1976, Jethro Tull did a mini “rock opera” about a 1950s “greaser” who was now in his mid-thirties (gasp!) called Too Old to Rock n’ Roll, Too Young to Die.
I think what strikes me most about all this is the constant obsession with chronological age. There are things that you enjoy now that you enjoyed when you were younger. Keep on enjoying them! Fun can be had at any age, the key is not caring what other people think about your age or whether what you are doing is “age appropriate.” Just like the 60ish guy driving a Sebring convertible and blasting REO Speedwagon’s “Roll with the Changes” who pulled into the gas station next to me, just go with it and have fun – age is just a state of mind! Heck, look no further than Paul McCartney, who just turned 70 last week. What if he would have decided he was “too old to rock n roll” three decades ago?
My husband worked with a man for several years and they became good friends. However, after knowing him for years, my husband was surprised to find out that his friend was in a “new wave” band in the early 1980s and they had actually made some professional recordings. This man had not played music since that band broke up in 1982 and further, he had not heard the studio recordings because they were in digital audio tape format and no one had a device to play that. My husband took the tapes to a studio to be converted, did a little mastering, and came up with a CD for the band (check out the final product here). When the band members, now well into their fifties, heard the music they produced over a quarter century earlier, they were absolutely giddy.
The question I’d like to ask my Facebook friend is simple – on your final day, when your reflect back on the moments and deeds of your life, do you really think you’ll regret playing too much music while you were in your forties?