I don’t really even know what that means. When I think of that phrase, the image that fills my head is one of a balding man speeding down the road in a convertible Corvette. I remember going to dance clubs when I was in my early 20’s. My friends and I would be out dancing on the floor, and occasionally one of us would be approached by what we would consider to be an older man, hoping that we’d agree to dance. I often wonder if those men were really that old, or if it was just that I was that young. My friends and I would scoff at the idea of some old guy hanging out at a club, hoping to get the attention of a young girl. Naturally we’d laugh and swear we’d never be continuing to hang out at clubs when we’re that age! (whatever age that was…and the lesson there is “FAMOUS LAST WORDS”!!)
When I was really young, I am sure I must have been around ten or so, my grandmother used to come and stay with us for the summer. My parents both worked and felt my younger sister and I were far too young to be at home alone for an entire day. This meant sharing my room with my grandmother for the entire summer. Oddly, she was not a big Duran Duran fan, and I can remember her constantly telling me that she wished I’d take down my posters because she always felt like they were watching her! (Oh, my poor grandmother!) I’d watch her in the mornings when she’d get up, and it always seemed to take her three times as long to put on her clothes as it did me. When she would finish, she’d always turn to me and say a single sentence that has been burned into my head for all eternity.
“Don’t ever get old, Rhonda Lynn. It’s hell.”
Who could ever blame me for wishing to avoid the whole aging thing?? I had it on decent authority that it wasn’t something I’d enjoy!! When I think back on those days now, it seems so funny that my grandmother always seemed old to me, yet she only died about ten years ago at the age of 86. I really hope that I’m more active than my mom or my grandmother in my later years – I want to be able to say I really LIVED every ounce out of my life that’s possible. I’m sure both of them feel as though they got plenty out of life – and my mom is still alive and kicking. She’s had a brand new beginning to her life, brought on by my father’s death nearly four years ago. I’m proud to see her going and experiencing new things, even if it’s with a new “friend”.
I think things must be different for my generation than they were for my mothers generation. She never went out with friends while I was growing up. There were no concerts or girls nights out for her. I never heard her talk much about music, and I know she never really went anywhere without my dad. She really thinks it’s strange that I have this incessant need to have my own interests, friends and experiences because she never felt that way when my dad was alive. In comparison, I live for those moments! I cringe when I hear the word “cougar”, or when TV shows make fun of people my age going out, as though once you turn the age of 30, you’re supposed to settle down, never to have fun again. It’s even worse when the words “mid-life crisis” are thrown around, as if to explain our behavior. Trust me, this is no “mid-life crisis”.
Yes it really is true, I still enjoy going to concerts. I love getting together with friends for the weekend over music, friendship and the occasional martini. (make mine extra dirty!) When I was younger, Friday nights were spent not sleeping, but staying up to watch late night videos, listening to records and fantasizing about what eyeliner Nick Rhodes used. My friends and I would get excited over whatever band was coming on tour, and while most of the time I had to stand back and watch as my friends would get tickets to the shows – that never did stop my excitement at the prospect! We’d call one another over the newest songs we’d hear on the radio, we’d try to one-up ourselves over who had the best Duran Duran pictures, the latest news, the “closest encounters” (I’d typically lose that one…funny how that still holds true!), and the best information. These things really haven’t changed, although admittedly most of my normal Friday night activities don’t typically include having a girl-talk session with my husband about makeup. In my opinion, a mid-life crisis is all about capturing whatever youth you’ve got left. I’ve never let my youth go to begin with, so there’s nothing to capture – it’s still here!
Is this – my Duran Duran fandom and everything that has gone along with it – really a mid-life crisis? I doubt it, otherwise I started suffering from it when I was ten years old. My life, and the enjoyment I get out of living, is what keeps me young. My feeling is that when life stops being fun, I’ll be ready to exit this great planet of ours for whatever Duranie retirement home “in the sky” is next.
Pity those who dare call it a mid-life crisis, for they’ve already stopped living. -R