Griffin and Glenn are at the Warped Tour right now, and a couple of hours ago, Glenn posted that he and Griffin were two feet away from the barrier during Tonight Alive, which is one of Griffin's favorite bands. All I could initially think about when I read that post was how thrilled Griffin must be and how crazy he must be going inside and out, and I was so happy for him. After a few minutes, though, that happiness wore off, and jealousy settled in. I wistfully remembered my younger days and the excitement I used to feel, not only when experiencing things for the first time, but when experiencing certain things no matter how many times I'd experienced them before, things that, for a desensitized, jaded 37-year-old who's seen it all either in person, on the computer, or on TV, have become so old hat, they barely elicit a response from me at all.
Like flying--when I was young and living in Chicago, I used to fly to Florida with my mother every year, and everything about the trip excited me. I remember staring out the window, rapt, on the ride to O'Hare at the billboards along the expressway advertising various airlines, the excited feeling in my stomach I had when walking through the airport, and the even more excited feeling I got when boarding the plane. When I moved to Florida at eight and started flying in the other direction, to Chicago, the feeling was exactly the same. Come to think of it, that feeling didn't just accompany plane trips, it accompanied road trips, too. I used to feel it when my family would drive to Disney World and we got to Kissimmee. I'd see the billboards for places like Arabian Knights and Ripley's Believe It or Not, and my stomach would flutter. Nowadays I go to Disney World, and my stomach is like a rock. There's almost no excitement at all.
Besides the more-than-once things that used to give me the happies, there were the experience-them-for-the-first-time things, too. Things like finally seeing the Ramones in concert when I was 18 and traveling to Europe at 23. Those are things I can never do for the first time again (and in the case of seeing the Ramones, well--you know), ergo, the feelings they brought forth are also in the past.
I was thinking about these things and the plight I now face as a been-there-done-that middle-aged woman when I realized something: I was wrong. As right as I usually am (hahahahaha), this time I one-hundred percent wasn't.
Yes, those times of sheer, unadulterated excitement are fewer and further between, but they aren't actually gone. In the past few years, I've experienced them several times: my first time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is the most magical place on earth; at the Angels and Airwaves concert; watching Griffin play bass; seeing Keifer kiss a girl in The Diary of Anne Frank; seeing Grindhouse at the movies; stepping foot on Chicago ground for the first time since I was about 29, a place that, no matter how old I am, always makes me feel a sense of excitement and possibility; seeing Blink-182 not once, but twice--heck, almost every time I just listen to Blink-182, I'm feeling this (I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist); getting a PR in my last 5k; the first time I received an email that said one of my essays had been accepted for publication; the first (and so far only) time my writing was actually solicited. (And these are only the things I can think of off the top of my head.)
So my point?
I like to grumble. I like to complain. I like to get all nostalgic for the past while grumbling and complaining. I like to lament my lost youth and envy the endless possibilities awaiting my children, my students, and anybody "lucky" enough to be ten, twenty, or thirty years younger than I. But despite all the grumbling, complaining, and lamenting I do--in spite of the kvetch that I am--being 37 really isn't so bad.
Would I rather be 16 without a single line on my face or dark spot on my hand? Seriously, who wouldn't? But, still--I think (gasp!) I actually kind of like the place--and even the age--where I am.