Old Age and Marilyn Manson
Last night I went to a concert.
What concert, you ask?
Well, a Marilyn Manson concert.
Was it good?
Hell, yes! It was awesome! He was awesome! I absolutely loved it!
You know what I didn’t love? The fact that when a young girl (about twelve years younger than me) was told I was going to the concert, she laughed and thought it quite a funny thing that I would go to a Marilyn Manson concert.
My reaction was, “Why is that so surprising?” Is there some law that once you hit a certain age you can’t go to heavy metal concerts anymore? Or is there some line that gets drawn as you age where you stop liking hard core metal and start liking elevator music? Because if so, that hasn’t happened to me yet.
When I was in my teens, I loved Marilyn Manson. And not just “The Beautiful People,” but that entire album. And you know what? I still love music with heavy guitar, pounding bass, and driving drums (yes, it’s obvious that I am not a music reviewer and am completely unaware of the lingo. That is not the point here so just go with me…).
When I was fifteen, did I think I would still be rocking out to Marilyn Manson? Hell, no. Because when I was fifteen, being thirty-five was an impossibility, a far-off age that I would never reach, the era of grey hair and walkers, a time of no-fun and old folk’s homes. Did I ever imagine myself freaking out when the opening line to Sweet Dreams came on (NOT the Eurythmics version, obviously Marilyn’s because that’s the opening topic, rememeber?), or that I would even be in the vicinity of such a song played live by such a man?
Which got me thinking…did I ever imagine any of this (as in, my life) when I was a teenager?
No freakin’ way. Because when I was a teenager the concept of twenty years into the future was not even something I thought about. Hell, that was longer than I’d been on the earth. I was living in the present and in the present, I was a kid and anyone over the age of thirty was old. Like I mean, old.
As a teen, I thought being an adult meant you would become this other person. This older, more refined person who would be totally comfortable not going to a Marilyn Manson concert, because you were old, and old people did not enjoy rock music, nevermind metal music. They lived for their kids and had intellectual conversations and did things like crossword puzzles and read the newspaper for fun. They didn’t have anything in common with teenagers. They could not possibly be any version of their younger selves because that would mean you retain your identity as you age. And that couldn’t be possible, could it? Because as a teen or even twenty year old, getting old sucks. It’s an impossibility. And to become one of them would be a travesty, would it not?
And yet, here I am, thirty-five years old and still feeling like I was fifteen. At least, last night I was. Until I went to get up from the seat and my back hurt, and I followed my husband out the door, and walked in a straight line because I was not drunk as I had to drive the babysitter home because, oh yeah, I had two kids sleeping in their beds who would have been totally weirded out to realize what kind of concert their parents had just attended. Not weirded out because the concert was some kinky, inappropriate affair (although, he did a lot of hip gyrations but, nothing that made you uncomfortable…although, funny thing, here’s this guy on stage pretending to fuck whatever was in front of him and I was all creeped out thinking, how old is he, like, fifty? And then I go and get offended that someone laughed that I was actually going to his concert. Oh, how locked into our own age we can be…) but weirded out because the music was really loud and the singer was kind of creepy and there were drunks stumbling about and the smell of…”Cuban cigars,” or so the kids are calling to their teachers these days.
Which got me thinking. If I had told my fifteen-year-old self while was pounding “The Beautiful People” on her getto-blaster that twenty years from then she’d be watching Marilyn Manson perform live in that same small town, sitting between her brother and her husband while her kids were at home sleeping, she never would have believed me. She would have laughed in my face and said, “Oh no, that is not at all how my life is going to go.”
And yet, there I was and there it was. And the reality sunk in. Everything I’d imagined as a teenager had not come true because nothing about being an adult was anything like I’d imagined. And I started to notice all the other things I never would have imagined were part of my life. Such as….
1. Going through the vacuum filter to pick out Lego pieces that were accidentally sucked up because there are always at least a dozen pieces left behind for the Roomba on a daily basis.
2. Looking in the mirror and seeing zits and wrinkles simultaneously. Thanks, Universe, for that cruel gift. As if my puberty pizza face wasn’t enough, you have to remind me of it every once in a while but laugh in my face as I don’t have the elasticity and collagen of a pubescent girl to go along with it.
3. Using my Vitamix to make a juice to go along with the chicken fingers and fries, because fries alone do not constitute enough vegetables to keep children healthy, and that is now your number one priority.
4. Waking up at 6AM not because you have to, but because that half an hour of peace and quiet with a coffee is heaven on earth.
5. Wine is now the alcohol of choice and it is not ingested for the sole purpose of getting drunk, actually, it is not ingested to get drunk at all but because it tastes really good and is a well deserved treat at the end of a long day and the dryer the better.
6. Back pain. Holy shit, where did that come from? Especially right when you get out of bed in the morning! And then, what was that? Did my knees just creak? Oh my god, my knees creaked as I went down the stairs. Holy shit, shoot me now.
7. Are the kids asleep? Quick, get the kids to sleep because we need to….nope, not that you dirty, dirty perv. We need to watch another episode of Sons of Anarchy, or The Walking Dead before ten o’clock, and if the kids so much as catch of glimpse of those zombies or that blood you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep and say hello to tiny feet and fists digging into your spine and stealing your blankets because your tiny offspring have taken over your bed due to the image-induced nightmares, hence sneaking around at night to watch your favorite shows just like you snuck behind your parents back to watch Dirty Dancing and Dallas.
8. Shh…be quiet…not because the parents might catch you sneaking around to do your naughty business, but your kids might. Which would traumatize your children if they happen to hear any late night noises…oh wait, what late night noises? Snoring? Cause that’s about all there is when you’re exhausted from carting your kids to their activities, feeding them adequate meals, cleaning up after them, helping them with their homework, giving them a bath, getting them to sleep, getting them to sleep again, trying to clean up the chaos they left behind, and so forth.
9. Actually marrying and still being married to that weird guy I met at Boston Pizza when I was sixteen-years-old…the guy who was such a spaz I actually thought he was on drugs (which, it turned out, he wasn’t. He’s just that ridiculous. Which is probably why he’s still around…)
10. Not only being married to that same kid but realizing that kid is now a man. Like, an actual man (not the man he thought he was at seventeen, because, lets be honest: You are not an adult at seventeen, you’re hardly an adult at twenty-seven even if you think you are). And being an actual man does not mean carrying a briefcase to work and drinking your coffee black and watching football on Sundays but going to the drug store to buy feminine hygiene products and cleaning up your kid’s puke and making you tea when you’re sick.
11. Being in the same town I swore I’d never return to. And actually taking pride in that fact. And actually, loving most parts of it (Except for the 6, 7, sometimes 8-month long winters. I hate winter. Sorry, but I can’t do it. Dawson would be perfect if it weren’t for winter) because small towns can actually be pretty great.
12. Going for turkey dinner at my little’s brother’s house…where he lives with his wife. Because, yeah, my little brother got married. Wait a minute…how the hell did that happen? Wasn’t he just following me and my friends around when we had a camp out in the back yard? What? That was over twenty-five years ago? No….not possible.
13. Enjoying Adam Sandler as the voice of a cartoon vampire in my kid’s school gym at the local movie night…in French….on gym mats…because it’s fun for my kids which means it’s fun for me.
14. The pain that comes from watching your kids suffer is so much worse than suffering through it yourself. Such as having my kids come home with a shitty report card from a shitty teacher or sending them to an activity where their instructor is a bully and knowing there is nothing you can do about it, or hearing that some kid threatened them in the hallway; that you can’t fight their fights or take away their hurt, that you have to watch them suffer sometimes because life isn’t always fair even if you want it to always be fair for them.
15. Getting old can be totally shitty and totally amazing at the same time, because you come to realize that no matter how old you are, you are still you no matter how decrepit you get. You are still that girl who loves Marilyn Manson, you just might not have the energy to party past eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night because your kids have school the next day and liquor gives you a brutal hangover and you can’t just shut out the world when you want because you have things to do, like work.
16. That life has an expiry date and if you don’t get out there and get living it you’ll find that twenty years can fly by in the blink of an eye and all of a sudden you are an adult when you swear you were fighting with your parents to go to an R-rated movie just yesterday.
17. You won’t be besties forever, but you will make new friends, the kind that lift you up and support you and are there at a moment’s notice. And those friends that do stick around from your childhood are not to be taken for granted but cherished, even if you don’t talk every day and only see each other once a month.
18. Yeah, you might only see your friends once a month. Or, gasp, once or twice a year. But it won’t matter, because you both understand where you’re coming from and have been around this block a time or two and even if you aren’t having sleepovers every weekend that doesn’t mean you don’t value each other.
19. You actually like to do work, like writing stuff, because you have finally discovered what brings you joy and even if it is hard and feels impossible at times, it is worth it, because you finally know who you really are and what you want out of life and are willing to work hard to get it. When you find the time between all the other stuff life throws at you.
20. You will still love Marilyn Manson and Radiohead and The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction but you can’t listen to them on the radio anymore unless it’s on one of those “Greatest hits from” stations because, yeah, your favorite music just became a golden oldie because that’s what you are too. And it stings just a little, until you embrace the fact that, yeah, I’m old and I’m golden, because even if younger ones laugh at me for attending a rock concert, I’m okay with myself, and that is not something I can say I ever imagined being at fifteen.
So, yeah, I went to a heavy metal concert and I loved it. Probably because I could enjoy the music instead of trying to prove myself to my peers. And that is one thing about getting older that is pretty damn awesome.