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You’re every bit as old as you feel!


Jack Johnson at Cricket Pavilion last week

You know those moments when you’re suddenly, and painfully, aware of how old you are? Well, they’re coming more frequently these days and let me say, they suck! My most recent realization came Sunday night at the Jack Johnson concert at Cricket Pavilion. I know, it’s just asking for embarrassment to go to a rock concert as a middle aged mother of two. But we really like Jack Johnson. So we forged ahead, certain that there would be a healthy representation of baby boomers and gen-xers mixed into the youthful audience melange.

We’ve actually gone to several concerts this year. We saw Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in Prescott this winter. It was part of their Arts Center season and we were by far the youngest in the audience. Then we went to Vegas to see Garth Brooks. Yes, I admit it. I LOVE HIM! But there too, there was a plentiful number of, shall we say, mature audience members.

Last night I felt like that old brown banana in the fruit bowl, you know the one nobody will eat because it’s too mushy. It just sits there forever, until you bring home a new bunch of hard green ones from the store and finally decide to toss it or use it as compost.

It started when we got there a bit before 7. Well, that’s what time our tickets said the concert began. Can you say “out of touch?” We actually told our sitter that we’d be home around 10 thinking three hours was more than enough time for a thorough sampling of Jack’s greatest hits. We were a bit surprised by the plethora of empty seats surrounding us. Finally, after 2 hours of warm up bands, we remembered that stars like Jack Johnson don’t open their own shows. The wise youngsters in the house arrived a few moments before 9:30 when Jack finally stepped onto the stage. We seriously contemplated going home before he even began. Life is definitely more limiting when you wake up between 4 and 5 a.m. every morning.

We were happy we stayed. The concert was amazing. We even spotted a few families with young kids in the pit. That helped soften the sight of thousands of college coeds spreading out in all directions. And I guess we should be happy that not a single one asked us to buy them an adult libation, an act I remember performing on several occasions when I was a mere underage student looking for an alcohol buzz.

But my question is this: why does life have to stop when you hit middle age? Why weren’t there more people in our age bracket at this concert? His music is mostly mellow, has a great message, is beautifully arranged and artistically impressive. Why don’t middle aged people go to concerts? They’re fun. You get to dance and sing and let go for a few hours. That’s got to be healthy. I feel like we all run around tied up in knots, worrying about our work, our kids, our finances. It gets old, and so do we. We need to have more fun.

That’s it. I’m starting a red hat club for middle agers. Only we’re gonna wear togas, one of our generation’s most identifiable party icons, as an homage to John Belushi and “Animal House.” We will stop feeling out of place at nightclubs, poetry slams and concert venues. We will eat at “beautiful people” restaurants, and buy our way into VIP back rooms at all of the hottest clubs in town. We will play frisbee on the beach, drink more than we ought to, and gulp down a few Red Bulls to get through the work days after our wild and exotic nights of debauchery. We will make-out in public, show our bellies, pierce our noses. Middle agers of America, join with me in taking back fun. After all, we invented it in the first place, didn’t we?

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About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Seattle, WA with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

9 responses to “You’re every bit as old as you feel!

  1. Barry Shalen ⋅

    Debra, Debra, Debra…….
    The answer is that most of us baby boomers (and no offense, you’re not really old enough to call your self a baby boomer yet) don’t listen to the radio stations that play newer artists like Jack Johnson. Serious XM baby boomers are listening to the 60’s or 70’s, or perhaps the 80’s, or the Grateful Dead station. Others are listening to NPR or extremist talk radio, while others are listening to their own collection of music – which is mostly from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I’m right at home at most concerts I attend, because they’re artits that have dusted off their walkers to go back on the road because their social security is enough to live on. New music can indeed be good, we’re just resistant to change. So whenever you discover a “new” artist that you love, you need to expose your friends to that artist, much like I exposed you to Lindisfarne.

  2. HAHA I love this post – stay fun forever Debra!

  3. amanda

    I don’t think life has to stop (at least, I hope not!), but I think you’re definitely busier/more tired/financially practical/have young kids at home, etc., etc., in middle age, which sometimes puts a damper on the “fun” part. But, I’m not done having fun, yet!

    • gettrich ⋅

      Neither am I! Here’s to fun-filled middle age with all the accouterments; young kids, pesky financial obligations, hectic schedules, and not enough hours in the day. You’ve inspired me to keep on funning.

  4. randomambiguity ⋅

    Debra, thank you for this. I was having similar thoughts the other weekend when I was at a cafe. I overheard some twenty-somethings talking about what they were drinking the night before, actually the wee hours that morning. A friend of mine was with me and we started laughing hysterically.

  5. acorn74

    I loved this post! My closest girlfriends and I went to Maroon 5 concert recently and I felt much the same way you describe. Being in (or approaching) “middle age” is absolutely no reason to stop having fun.

  6. Great post! I’m with you on the red hat club for middle agers.
    I just hope the piercings aren’t required. 🙂

  7. amna

    Ah God I loved this post..I have been seriously contemplating going to a U2 concert here in Melbourne since March..it is October now and the concert is in December and I haven’t still decided whether I should go or not? eversince I became a parent (which happend only 2 years back) I have sort of retired from activities like concerts..I am always thinking about my child and cannot switch off being a mum for a second 😦

    • gettrich ⋅

      Go! Just go! You will have so much fun and you will be teaching your child that it’s great for grown ups to live life, have fun and enjoy!

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