Floundering Around at 40 (with Music)

My theory of life and maturation is that we have to go through all the stages of life sooner or later. I missed out on my adolescence, so I had to make up for it. This happened in my early 40s. I was floundering around trying to figure out where to go next with life and this transition — the one I’d missed — was necessary if I was going to move forward. Since I don’t want to write a true confessions here (fascinating though the story is!) suffice it to say that when I think of the music I grew up with, I think of bands like Primus, Alice In Chains, Nine Inch Nails, and Ministry, not The Beatles. I was a huge fan of industrial punk music (still am). It was a natural transition from loving hardcore in the 80s.

I have a clear and happy memory of going to a movie with some friends and sitting in the back seat on the way to a bar, singing “Jesus Built my Hotrod” with Gavin. “Jesus built my hotrod. It’s a love affair, mainly Jesus and my hotrod.”

So, Gen X? Thank you for the music.

What was it like being 19 at age 41? For one thing, I wasn’t underage, but I might have had to buy a six-pack at a 7-11 for friends (from Europe, truth). The people I hung around with were mostly in their 20s. I was pretty well-preserved (at that point) and the only giveaway (according to one of my friends) was my “old lady hands.”

Music. The Boys on Bikes (with whom I hung out more than anyone else, the kids in my neighborhood) were at the age when people define themselves by the stuff they listen to. My truck had a tape deck (88 Ford Ranger) and out of that thing blared Metallica (often) Pearl Jam (not for long) and then the day came when Jimmy (age 16) said, “You’ll like this,” and plopped a Sex Pistols tape in. Of course I liked it. I’d always liked it. That was followed by Dead Kennedy’s (“Holiday in Cambodia” was their favorite but it’s profoundly truthful so why not?) Then there was Fart No More.

That whole moment of my life was filled with hiking, mountain bike riding, concerts, friends and music. Teaching? I was earning a living. I remembered thinking that the whole idea of a midlife crisis was stupid but I was having one.

As I write this blog, I listen to a radio station in Kansas City that plays this music every morning between 9 and 10 (their time). It’s great. Brings back my youth.

(featured photo: Hallowe’en costume. It made people scream because they didn’t see it until they got close enough)


19 thoughts on “Floundering Around at 40 (with Music)

  1. Your 40s is probably the best time to have a mid-life crisis. You can still be in reasonable good shape and hanging out with younger people is still OK. Actuarially speaking, you are just at the probable middle of your life.

    I had a midlife crisis when I was in my late 30s. another in my 50s and finally one in my 60s. Unfortunately the National Center for Mid life Crises refused to issue a permit for the last one, saying I was no longer in the middle third of my probable life expectancy and that hanging out with kids in their 20s was now deemed creepy. They suggested that I check with AARP to see if they had any specials on “Dirty Old Man” programs or maybe a “Second Childhood” program if my mind was getting fuzzy.

    But… hanging with young people helps you feel young. Not every old person makes you feel old, but the ones who think and act old certainly do. Their various physical ailments make my joints ache even more.

    Instead I took up acting lessons with a group of mostly 20-somethings who don’t even know what AARP is. They seemed to think my dancing around naked on stage while having an existential meltdown was pretty cool. Bold and innovative were the words, IIRC. They help me feel young.

    I know my wife sure likes it when I feel young.

  2. I guess I sort of did that…out with the old, (x) and onward, but having said that, I don’t think I ever really did go through it. Too late at 65???? lmao

  3. I’ve always enjoyed music (except for Disco – it was that Disco Duck song that everyone played all the time). I shocked some of my young coworkers when I confessed that my favorite song was by GreenDay. Then told them that I also liked a couple songs by My Chemical Romance. Their minds were blown… I guess they thought I only listened to Abba or CCR (not that there is anything bad about those bands). I suppose having a midlife crisis isn’t always a bad thing as long as no one gets hurt…

    • I loved disco – – don’t judge it by “Disco Duck” (good god) but it’s pure dance music, not really meaningful. As for Abba and CCR, CCR did one great song (IMO) “Fortunate Son” but their music and Abba’s music is fun. 🙂 Great video here: https://youtu.be/ZWijx_AgPiA

  4. I’ve never really listened to it. I should. I love how I can pull up the lyrics to all sorts of songs I have been listening to for years. I’m horrified at some of the lyrics of the popular jingles, so misogynistic. Perhaps metallica is different.

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