Yellow Brick Road is a local band that plays “classic rock.”
I am getting old. The first song I danced to, “I wanna rock ‘n roll all night, and party every day….” caused my chest to constrict and my breath to catch that I (ashamed to say) had to leave the floor before the dance was over! I had to pace myself, picking songs with breaks in between and not bop around the dance floor like I used to do in my heyday. I vowed to get back to the gym the next day.
The other revelation I had was one that made me feel much better about myself. I looked around the room and was comforted by the company I was in. Not only were the women I had come with enthusiastically dancing with abandon, the floor was filled with men and women of all shapes, sizes, ages and dance moves. Almost all were lip syncing to the songs. Some were with partners and you could just tell by the way they moved together that this was foreplay for them. Others didn’t need a partner; they couldn’t resist that draw of a particular song that took them back in time and they danced all on their own along with many other single dancers. I said to myself, “This is what fifty looks like!” For the first time since I acknowledged that I am indeed middle-aged, I felt comfortable in my own skin and middle-aged body.
Of course when I see the pictures that include me in the shot, I will still cringe at the image. It is very hard not to recall that I used to take much more flattering pictures.
My first reaction to a photo of me now is “Oh my god, look at how fat I am!” But being amongst all of these peers who, when I looked closely I could see the younger version of them, gave me a renewed sense of acceptance. None of us, if we age naturally, is going to look like our much younger selves.
This is me around 1983
In fact, the happiness I saw on the faces of those dancing to the songs of their own heyday lifted my spirits so much that I was proud to be a member of their age group. For all the bemoaning I do about wanting to be skinny like the celebrities I see on magazine covers I saw one woman who was tiny and truth be told, she looked ancient! I will keep my extra pounds as it fleshes out the wrinkles. (I could do without some of the more jiggly parts, though).
And, I still get picked up by the lead singer!
Lastly, I know that, along with age, comes a determination to be true to oneself. I know why I don’t partake in nights out very often, and it’s not just because I like a full-night’s sleep. I can’t handle the cigarette smoke or the really loud music, especially of the hard-rock variety. Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, and Led Zepplin were not my music mainstays; I am more the Supertramp, Boston, and Elton John variety. The band that night, however, played a little bit of all these and I was quite content, that is until I could longer stand the smell or the sound. So, I said my goodbye, headed to my car, breathed deeply of the fresh air and reveled in the silence of the night. Yes, this is what fifty looks like: a little bit of fun, a little bit of peace and quiet, and a whole lotta memories.