Have you ever had a moment when reality hits you gobsmack in the face? Where the fantasy world you have built in your mind shatters?
That was me recently. My sister and I have a penchant for attending concerts by bands that were top of the charts when we were growing up. REO Speedwagen, Foreigner, Rod Stewart, Little River Band to name a few. This time around it was The Doobie Brothers. Those of you with a few less years around the sun are probably scratching your head (or more likely googling) that name, but they were a big deal back then and judging by the number of people who were willing to sit in the rain to rock with them, they are still a big deal for many of us.
Sharing the news that we were going to see the band with co-workers led to the inevitable statement….”They must be a 100 years old by now!” They had to be right? Since I was just young and in high school/college when they were big stars, they were probably old back then. Convinced that most in the crowd had much more grey hair than I and were most likely wearing sensible shoes, I laughed at how old the band must really be until I googled it myself. Shock and horror set in as I passed the phone to my sister to show her.
The original band members were in their early seventies. Not young, but not ancient. Shocked by that realization, we started checking out the ages of the members of other bands we have seen. Most of them were right in that age group and, in the years since we have started our bands of our youth tour, we haven’t had a single one where the band didn’t sound great, the music wasn’t rockin’, and we weren’t left feeling as pumped up as we did the first time we heard their music.
But here is the gobsmack moment…..for me to consider them old, I have to start thinking that I’m old too. But I don’t. You’ve heard the phrase “age is a state of mind”? It really is and like so much else in our lives, if we are programmed to respond in a certain way, we succumb to the negativity of it. Birthdays with a zero at the end signify another step to old age. The Medicare threshold of 65 means you should pack up your bag, retire and head off into the sunset. Don’t climb on that ladder – you’re too old. Knees hurt? Old people have achy knees. Sitting in the rain in the dark at a concert? Oh my goodness, but you’ll catch pneumonia and you know that can be fatal for old people!
You know what though? I got home in the middle of the morning, well past my bedtime and yet buoyed by the exciting evening, I stayed up until dawn. Pneumonia? Never happened because although we sat in the rain waiting for the concert to begin, with age comes wisdom and we were prepared for the weather. We were dry and comfortable and when the rain stopped, we stripped off those rain ponchos and enjoyed an evening under the stars. We stood, we danced, we clapped, we hollered, we hooted along with the 10,000 or so other fans in attendance and when it was over, I felt even younger than I did the day before after watching those old guys on stage for over two hours doing what they loved. I hope they do it until they are a hundred.
The morale of this story? Don’t be gobsmacked into believing that age is a limitation to what you want to do whether you are young or old. You are what you allow yourself to be and expectations or limitations imposed by others should not define you or your abilities. Sit out in the rain and sing your heart out my friends!
Until then, be well….