Tuesday, December 09, 2014

life at mid-punk 

my father is 20 years older than me.  he will be 68 this spring.  i will be 48 in june.  for someone in their 20s and 30s the number 48 sounds ancient.  perhaps it is.  there is no doubt about it i am middle-aged.  all a matter of perspective.  age is not just a number.  it is everything you are.  when you hit your late 40s your mind might be telling you that you are still 25 but your body will start to ache when you walk those five miles a day.  your dogs will bark, your left knee will sometimes give out, and your lower back will tell you in a loud squelch, here i am, motherfucker!

still, my old man reminds me that getting old is a privilege.  previous generations did not have the luxury of growing old.  just a century ago the average age of an average person was 42 or so.  the average age today is the mid-70s.  we are lucky to have the opportunity to grow old.

at any rate, i am happy to be a middle-aged poet, husband and father of a 10 year old son.  yes, dig that, nick turns 10 this friday!  i am also a gen-xer.  now, i rarely think of generations as separate entities.  i prefer individuals over groups.  but i just read this wonderful piece about being a middle-aged gen-xer at the buddhist blog full contact enlightenment and the writer asks what you -- i -- might think about being a gen-x oldster.

hell, i still want to found my street skate gang for old-skool skate punks called SKEEZERS: skating geezers [credit goes to anna who thought up the name].  i am navigating oldsterhood as best i can.  i listen to NPR and CDs of old hardcore punk like black flag and d.o.a. at work. i am tattooed, ears pierced and grey-haired, like many of us.  each year goes by faster than the previous year.  i can't imagine life not being a father.  i am in love and have been in love with the same woman for 22 years.  oldsterdom suits me, i think, like a glove.  i just pray that if i have a mid-life crisis it takes the form of a skateboard.  it won't take the form of a convertible sports car and dyed hair and leisure suits. 

there are poems to write, books to be read, movies and TV shows to watch, and family and friends to love.  as long as i have those things i am happy growing old.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Glenn Ingersoll said...

As a kid when I read 19th century British novels I identified with the invalid - there was always an invalid. OK, maybe I wasn't confined to a bed, but I never went through that "immortal" period as a teen that everybody else seemed to take for granted. Too many headaches, got sick every season change, too lonesome & depressed.

Just turned 49. Which means I'm working on my 50th year. If things go well, I will finish it. Right? But my health is as good as it's ever been - which is to say, variable. Better, on the whole, than ever. Fewer migraines, fewer bouts of exhaustion, generally content. Thanks, gym and yoga! And love (Kent!).

I went to the Berkeley Zinefest this past weekend. I took along copies of my chapbook, Fact, and presented myself as a creator, and I asked if the other creators were open to trades. Most I approached readily traded book for book. I dropped money on a few things, too. Getting the work out there, getting a poem to readers, takes real effort. It's a different kind of energy from the kind we use to write. I've never had much of the get-the-work-out-there energy -- but I do a little, now and then, here and there, enough to count a few sparkles in the darkness.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Jean Vengua said...

Both great blog posts on getting older -- thanks for pointing to the Full Contact site. As a 63 yr old woman, I find myself struggling with my generation's views on womanhood (and life)that insist that life "ends" after menopause. But the ironic thing is that I'm actually in better shape than a lot of women I know at my age, and still very mobile, still working and involved, and happy w/my life partner. so wtf. The little aches and pains DO get one down, but they don't actually get in the way too much, and there are ways to mitigate them (walking, etc). They're just a reminder of the human condition, and keep you humble.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

beautiful responses and life lessons, glenn and jean, thank you so much for your presence as writers and as human beings.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger richard lopez said...

hi glenn, i looked for your email address and can't find one. hit me up with an email won't you.


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