Last night's Garbage concert here in Cleveland was completely awesome. I'll write more about that show eventually, but what really sticks with me is a story that Shirley Manson told during the show.
If you aren't familiar with Garbage, you're missing out, but the short story is that they're composed of three talented music producers (one of whom arguably produced many of the best albums of the mid-90's) and one fantastic Scottish personality in Shirley Manson. The guys are in their 50's and 60's, and Shirley is 46. They were gone for 7 years between albums, in part because the record industry took the fun out of it all. They've returned on their own terms, self-releasing, and it shows they're having fun again.
In any case, Shirley told the story of some 20-something complaining to her that she didn't want to get old. Her comment was something along the lines of, "Why are young people so fucking scared of getting older?" She rattled off some obvious benefits of getting older... you typically have a bigger bank account, you have more credit available to you, you don't have to share a place to live, you have sex more, and most importantly, no one can tell you what to do. As she bluntly put it, "You can do whatever the fuck you want. Getting older is awesome."
She's absolutely right, and yet the obvious reality she points out is the opposite of the way we tend to view our voyage through adulthood. Age and experience bring all kinds of power, but it's easy to focus on the less real issues of risk and danger. We fear being obsolete when we have yet to peak. Why is that?
Shirley's pep talk really stuck with me. A lot of actions we might consider to be midlife crisis material may in fact be the actions of embracing the part of life we're in. She's right... getting older is awesome.