In the middle of a discussion with one of my students last week, she exclaimed, “How old are you?!” I told her and she exclaimed again, “you’re that old?! I can’t believe you’re old. At least you don’t look it.”
So there’s the solace in that. I’m old, but at least I don’t look it.
The beauty of young adult-hood is the untempered arrogance of youth. 18-24 year-olds think the sun revolves around them, and that we’re all longing to be that age again.
I, however, am not.
The wisdom gained from living to be almost 30 is far more attractive to me than some mental masturbation of starring in my own personal Back to the Future. There’s no Biff I need to make amends with; no woman I failed to snag — no life I need to re-live. Besides, the bullshit folks try to pass off as knowledge, humor, truth, and logic is clearer now. You have less patience for it, and bigger balls to call it out. Or you should — if you livin’ life right.
Some of us are lucky enough to figure out what we will and won’t stand for early in our 20s. But that’s really just practice. Often, the rigid stances we take at 21 aint worth the Facebook status update we claimed it in. Please. I wouldn’t trade the comfort I feel at this stage of the game for the angst of 23 any day. Y’all can have that. And for the record, I wouldn’t trade the early 20s social scene either. You think Imma put in a linen pocket square, or pop tags on an outfit only to have some bamma sweatin to Waka Flocka brush up against me? Nope. Not at all. Y’all can have that too. I have no interest in early adult hormones scuffing my shoes or staining my jacket. You see, I’m grown. And more importantly, I’m very much aware that the lights will come up eventually.
One of the fine folks I follow said recently that cats born after 1985 are unreliable in their opinions on greatness. It’s no strike against them personally. Their generation simply failed them, as their contemporaries are shitty points of reference. Entertainment that you don’t have to be ashamed of suffers with post-1985’ers at the helm. I once thought Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, might be the saving grace, but then I learned that dude actually was est’d. in ’84. Sooooo… womp-womp on that.
To be sure, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em can make a helluva radio hit that I will bump in the ride endlessly for a couple weeks or so. But is Soulja Boy’s artistry the kind you’re really trying to pass on to your little ones? “Listen here, little one, Soulja Boy was the man from 2007 to 2009ish. We was supermannin hoes like shit.” Somehow, I don’t foresee this. However, I don’t mind you getting your pretty girl/boy swag on whilst contemplating this query. Get out the waaaaaaay…
Ya know, I find that I’m definitely not sorry that very little of what I heard in 2006, I’m even remotely interested in hearing today. Apart from the nostalgia of a dope memory associated with a mediocre song, I’m good on the likes of Teairra Marí, Justin Bieber, and Drake. (Not that I have any dope memories associated with Bieber, but you understand my meaning.) Now, there is one exception: Trey Songz’s yodeling ass was born in 1984. So technically, he’s ours. But talent-wise, he’s all y’all’s. Don’t no neighbors know his raggedy ass name.
Aesthetics over substance. That’s what American culture (and politics, for that matter) is. In theory, innovation, revolution, freshness should be associated with youth. In reality in 2010, youth has failed that cause miserably. Cats think they can do it without knowing it, without living it, or experiencing it. And so the honesty and earnestness, the sincerity and the love are curiously absent post-’85. I’m absolutely convinced they’ve been replaced by preoccupations with skinny jeans and teaching elderly cats how to Dougie.