I was just reading Pitchfork's year-end Top Albums list, doing that thing that we like to do, seeing how many of the albums we love are on the list, seeing how many of the albums listed I have even listened to, how good my musical tastes are (or are not), and how much I am (or am not) on the musical pulse of what is happening in indie rock America these days and where various albums I am in love with are ranked on a list. And one of the albums I loved and listened to over and over again this year was Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, ranked #11 on Pitchfork's list, and in their brief description of the album they say this line that really cuts to the bone for me in a way that good writing should do, or a good turn of phrase should do, something phrased well and with the knock of truth to it, that makes you nod, makes you say, "yes, yes," the line in the case being: "The Suburbs isn't so much about feeling old as it is about not always feeling young."
This cuts to something not only because it summarized nicely the mood of the album and what the musicians were trying to convey, where they are singing from, but also because it summarizes where I am at in my own life right now, a place I wasn't able to pinpoint exactly until reading that sentence, and which also summarizes why I would have ranked this album even higher on a Best Albums List (one that's only loosely sketched out now in my own case). Though it's yet to be compiled, I can say for sure that the #1 spot would belong to what claimed their bronze prize, Deerhunter's Halcyon Digest, the only album that I have probably listened to more this year than the Arcade Fire, an album that I listened to earlier this evening and that broke my heart for the umpteenth time.
But back to what this writer said, what Mark Pytlick said - I am not always feeling young. It's a shift in feeling that has occurred and that is occurring. I don't feel old. I still refer to particular types of guys as men, saying about someone my own age in when trying to describe him that he's "a man," meaning somehow different than me, me still conceiving of myself in some ways as boyish, in some ways as adolescent, despite being 29 and in six months nearing that big three-oh. I do feel different though, not young, not even how I felt a year ago prior to dating Jacob, that at that time my life was still marked my going out a good five or so nights a week, drinking till sometime in the early am, grabbing a few hours of sleep, and feeling in some ways more distinctly alive that in ways than I feel now.
I really freely admit that I don't want to do that anymore, that the appeal of living such a type of life no longer captivates me, no longer really interests me, that at a certain point in the evening, probably early on, I will think about how I'd rather be getting stoned and hanging out at my house. I think about this more and more often lately, this difference. I think about this sometimes because Diego often chastises me and tells me to live my life when I fail to meet up with up him at such and such a bar, that the failure to get excited about leaving my house once settled in and comfortable makes me old. And it does. I am thinking more and more that aging is more and more a process of becoming more and more interested in comfort, that one desires to no longer sleep in hostels or have many roommates after a certain age, that they want things cleaner and cleaner, that they don't feel like going out to a bar at 1 am after they have already been lounging around in their pajamas around their apartment for hours while stoned. And I am not entirely sure that what I sometimes want to attribute to aging isn't necessarily attributable to depression.
I am drinking wine and the heat is on in my apartment, blasting out from the one heater in my apartment for which we pay the bill. I say we, referring to my boyfriend and I, my boyfriend who is also a subject here, a cause. Is it aging, is it depression, or is a type of stupefying co-dependence? I am not really sure.
Another thing that is difficult for me is that I believe so much of my spark, so my much of the charm I possess, is born from a desire to impress a crush, to wow this or that person, to get them into bed with me. I fear that now that I am in such a committed relationship, this basically my husband at this point, that perhaps something may be lost, the bit of personality that likes to engage cute strangers and chat with them, that is more aware, more alive, while walking about town, the eyes constantly seeking out the eyes of others, cruising. Now that that is muted to such a large extent, is something lost? If so, am I mistakenly attributing that to aging?
At some point in college, one of my professors - I forget who at the moment - pointed out this bad habit of mine in a very insightful critique, saying I continually asked questions I could just as easily (and with more effect) pose as statements. Posing them in question form is a way of shielding myself from criticism, from having to defend a statement I'd rather hint at with a leading question.
And so I am more boring than I used to be and this is attributable to a few things: aging, settling down with a boyfriend, and a generalized depression brought about by the feeling that I am stuck in a boring job that eats away at my soul. I am not feeling old, but I am certainly feeling not young, that that feeling is a memory and it is a bit bittersweet, that I am wondering how to scale this next hill ahead of me, what it is I have to do to roll this fucking heavy tire over this hill, how to not let it sit here in this valley I've landed into.
I listen to music and I get high and I go the gym and I try to let it all out. I try to exert myself and get all the frustration out of my system, to tire myself out, a high-strung dog that needs a long walk to leave it panting on the kitchen floor, the cold tiles of the kitchen floor cooling the dog's overheating body, his mouth smiling ear to ear, tongue out, panting, trying to catch breath, dripping droplets of spit onto its paws. And you have to keep moving. It's the only way.
Your thoughts here strike a chord with me. They often do, but this one in particular. It's not so much that I feel not-young than that I feel isolated from young-ness---if that makes any sense. I'll be 45 in less than two weeks; I'm in excellent health and physical shape. I work at maintaining a fit body and mind. But men my age or younger who are similarly in shape or similarly curious intellectually have rejected me my entire life. Men twice my age or more and bears constantly approach me for sex, but nobody that I find interesting. So what I mean by feeling isolated is that I actually *feel* young: energetic, curious, whimsical. But other such men ignore me or reject me outright. Maybe it's the gray hair? Gray chest hair made me sad when it happened. Finding gray in my pubic hair is much worse and deeply depressing.ReplyDelete
And the feeling is causing tension now between my partner of 19 years and me because he has become much more "comfortable", as you put it. He's still active and fit, too, but his interest in sex with me is all but gone.
There's a Greek traditional song I've always liked but which I sing more and more nowadays. The first verse sums it up: "Oh, if only youth happened to us twice and old age not at all!"