Getting older…aren’t we all? This year marks one of my mile stone years and it has occurred to me that I probably have more time behind me than I do in front of me. If I live to 100, I am starting on my second half of life (you do the math smart people! *wink!)
What does this do to a person? What does this do to a musician? I can only speak for myself obviously and my musicianship permeates my “person-hood” so I don’t really separate the two.
I know others who may look at musicians and say, “If you haven’t ‘made it’ by thirty give up.” Well, we need to clarify, what is the definition of “making it”. I didn’t even have my first paid gig or my first record until I was 32! Would that all be for naught? Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah happened when he was 50! Was he a failure before that song? Or did everything he ever did lead him to write that masterpiece?
Aren’t we all “sharpening our axes”? I've noticed my drive has been shifting in this "growth spurt". I am less driven to please others and more about sharing simply what is true at the time. I find freedom in this. I have been a people pleaser the majority of my life. What can I say, I like making people happy. I would sing that song (Bobbie McGee) even if my voice would take the hit and I had a whole weekend of shows to still do. Now? Not so much.
I’m more about the win-win. If it feels right and I’m in the mood and I know I will nail the delivery, sure…I’ll sing that song (What’s going On). But if it’s a mixed crowd and I’m not feeling the love…hell no! Yep, it’s taking me 50 years to not care! Ha! And it’s not that I don’t care…I suppose I am giving myself a bit more compassion.
I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, not bad for a 50 year old!” Ha! And I KNOW this is still a pretty young age. You folks that are older are saying, “You just wait kid – you’re a puppy!” It’s a matter of perspective. The 20 year olds will think we are old farts and the 70 year olds will think we are pups.
And then there are those who we seem ageless, and I do feel ageless truly (accept when my feet ache or my body tells me I’m not 28 anymore). I have realized we need to be smarter with not only our time (since we have less of it- do the math right?) but also smarter with our life’s force energy. It takes more energy to do things. Let’s face it, our batteries are not as fresh and don’t re-charge the way they use to. We learn to prioritize our TIME and our ENERGY and I think there is wisdom in that.
Classic example; there is a club we play in Oregon that we walk our equipment up quite a flight of steps (probably 20 steps or more). Then we duck under a small door and set our PA over-looking the patrons and the bar. We are still strong, we can still do that and pride could make us bust our butts up there. I say to Mo, “Let’s see if we can find ourselves and ‘angel’.” And sure enough 2 young men appear to help haul our stuff up there. These boys would hardly guess that we could be their mother’s age and we thank them and Spirit for sending those lovely boys our way. It all works out! Now where are they when we are done at mid-night? Ha! Good thing we are STILL in shape because we were on our own.
Physically you would never give it a second thought when you are young and fit. I have always tried to prioritize fitness, yet I falter like many. I do my best. And I think the beauty of getting older is finally, “my best IS good enough!” I think that’s what happens! My standards are not lower, but I am more of a compassionate being to myself and that makes all the difference.
“Sorry I can’t sing that song…I just freaking don’t want to…love me anyway! Here, let me sing you a song like that one, you might like it more!” Ha! It’s comforting and you know, I don’t think it’s a phase. I think it’s here to stay.
Like me writing this blog. I don’t care that you know how old I am. I have people saying to me, “don’t tell people how old you are!” as if shame should take the lead. Why? What will that serve? Who cares? Will you see me differently? Will the industry see me differently? You want me to fool you? I think I’d be deranged if I had to “act” like I was still 30! And frankly there are some main streamer big hit artists out there still trying! Ugh! That looks exhausting!
One thing is for sure: We ALL get older! And those artist that were swinging from the trapeze singing their songs will someday look back and be like, “Whew! I don’t have the energy to do THAT again”.
It’s almost frightening to be in the public eye and have an underlining expectation of not aging! That is crazy and I’m completely NOT going to embellish these people because wisdom has taught me, it’s more about them and less about me. I can’t stay young for you, to make you still feel young!
But I can play a sweet song and we can all reflect and go back to a younger day in that song. I can still rock and roll and folk and jive! I’m FAR from done with my musical career so don’t panic! I’m just beginning to hit my stride! I have many musical ideas and much more maturity to handle all these concepts!
I think the freedom that comes along with aging is exactly what this country and world needs. ALL of Life is Beautiful! Not just the first half! The seasons shape who we are and who we become and in the words of my own song, “We stand in the middle of ourselves” and isn’t Life Beautiful?
Embracing the ALL of it is the secret to staying and feeling young. Also, I’m a firm believer of getting on the floor. Yep! Get on the floor with your dog, get on the floor and do yoga, get on the floor and play with your kid, get on the floor and make love…GET ON THE FLOOR! I have a theory that people who get on the floor every day keep a young attitude! Try it! Works for me!
Cheers to my second half and to YOU who may be in on your 1st half, 2nd quarter, 4th quarter! Where ever you are on this journey called LIFE, embrace it all! Stay forever young in your heart! Get on the floor and keep listening to music. Find a song that takes you back to your teen-age years, to your 20’s, 30’s. Music is SO POWERFUL! It can transport you to a time in your life! Not many things can do that! We need music to find transcendence! How fortunate and blessed I feel to be on this journey, wrinkles and all! Thanks for reading and some of you did your “homework” from the last blog. I invite you to this writing assignment:
Pick a song that is epic from your past. Listen to it. Reminisce. What things are you grateful for that you know NOW and didn’t know then? (You don’t have to turn it in AND it won’t be graded! For those who like to write, you might find out some things about yourself.)
Enjoy and thanks for reading my blog! Stay forever young at heart!!!