As anyone who knows me well can appreciate, the band Garbage has been a fixture in my life for more than 20 years. Now they have a book (I'll do a write up on it when I get through it), and there were some interviews with Shirley and Butch on Yahoo. In the last segment, about the most recent Strange Little Birds album, Shirley goes on a bit of a rant about the "truth in power" of representing yourself as a 50-year-old and embracing the age that you are. While we can't all be Shirley Manson (she did briefly play a Terminator on TV, after all), we can own our age.
Here's the thing, I'm tired of the cultural expectation that anyone over 35 has nothing to offer. I hate that marketing is designed to convince you that you look too old, you need help getting a boner, you just need to lose a little weight, and you need to cover up that gray. Seriously, fuck all of that. We are all going to get older and die. That's reality. Embrace it.
You see, a funny thing happens before you die: Life. Experience is an extraordinary thing that I think too many people squander. We go through so much shit in life, and so much happiness. We can learn from that, and that education can give us confidence. Confidence doesn't mean that we should feel infallible, but it does mean we can truly believe that we can figure stuff out and contribute.
I've got a ways to go before 50, but I bring up 35 because that was a pivotal year for me. I got laid-off, the economy was taking a dump, but it was the first time in my life that I realized that the things that I could control were in fact things I was addressing. I was pretty good at stuff. Life, to that point, had given me the experience I needed to believe that I could kick ass, that age was an asset.
So yeah, I miss my dumb skater hair, but in its place I've found some level of wisdom and peace. Life is still hard, but I know I've got this. I also know that I have to share what I know, and never stop learning. My 20-year-old self could never have understood that.