So, I’m going to be 50 on Saturday, and last night at the Gurf Morlix show I had a chance to talk with several friends about what I’m doing now with my music. Reflecting upon some of the conversation this morning, I know that being a touring folk singer songwriter at age 50 isn’t exactly the most rational lifestyle. My friends, both younger and older have chosen/taken/accepted paths along more conventional lines, along with children, grandchildren, the security of careers that offer benefits, and the ability to put something away for retirement.
In my reflection, I wondered if I suffer from what people might refer to as “Peter Pan Syndrome” which is considered as something that “affects people who do not want or feel unable to grow up, people with the body of an adult but the mind of a child. They don’t know how to or don’t want to stop being children and start being mothers or fathers” and “they are unable to grow up and take on adult responsibilities, and even dress up and enjoy themselves as teenagers when they are over 30 years old.”
Well, OK, I never did have children – that was mostly a selfish choice on my part and one that was quite honestly and most likely a financial one – having and raising children is a huge financial responsibility as well as the physical and emotional toll it can take. I know this simply from the shit I put my parents through!!! But I have for the past 25 years always held a day job – whether it was part time, temp work or full time, and have always paid my bills on time. For the most part, I dress fairly normal – Levi’s, T shirts, snap-button-western style shirts and leather boots. Birkenstock sandals and shorts in the summer months when I want to be more comfortable. And let’s not forget my funky cowboy hat when on stage!!!!
Perhaps the child-like part of my personality comes from the fact that I am overjoyed and incredibly grateful that I get to do what I do, that it’s NOT a conventional career and that I get to travel and play MY music, AND get paid to do so. Besides, what is so wrong with occasionally seeing things through the eyes of a child, with innocence and without the prejudices we can often let tarnish our outlook as we become teenagers and adults. With an open mind and heart..... Nothing, as far as I can tell.
So, here’s to turning 50 – I don’t need to hear that it’s the new 40 or anything else that will supposedly make me feel better about getting older. Besides, it’s only a number and mentally I don’t feel old. The body has aches and pains in places it once did not, but overall I feel like life is getting better all the time. I’m more productive and busier in my career as a musician than I have ever been and feel that in finally “following my bliss” that I am meeting more and more people in my line of work which in turn is leading to more and better opportunities. I also feel a sense of obligation, duty and willingness to share what I am learning on this journey. While getting older can often be seen in the negative light of having less time left on this planet and being one day closer to death, I would rather view it as an opportunity to be one year wiser, with experience gained and a future full of countless possibilities. When my AARP membership packet comes in the mail, I will choose to raise a glass and say “cheers” to the golden years that lie ahead.