Erin and I drove 90 minutes north yesterday to see The Avett Brothers perform in Portland, Maine. By the end of the night, we realized we just don’t have the concert-going energy we had in our early 20s.
The band didn’t begin until 9, and we were surrounded by people in their 20s and early 30s. The smell of pot hung in the air, giving us headaches. It used to be the smell didn’t bother me, especially when I was using the stuff. But then I stopped smoking it in the early 1990s.
The Avett Brothers is a folk rock act, one of those middle-of-the-road sounds both of us like (Erin likes mostly folk and bluegrass, while I’m a metal head.) I used to go to metal concerts all the time, seeing Metallica five times in 1988-89 alone. I’d get home at 3 in the morning, then be up and at ’em by 6 a.m. as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Back then, I guess that was normal for a 20-year-old.
Now, getting by on three hours of sleep destroys me. But there’s no sleeping in when there’s a job to do and two kids to get off to school. I’ll pay for this for days. But it was worth it. I’d also do it again.
But now that I’m in this 40-year-old body, maybe I’ll take a long afternoon nap beforehand.
Some people look at getting older with dread. Not me. After my childhood illness and the craziness of my young adulthood, it’s a blessing that I’m here at all. So even when my knees ache and my back is about to collapse, I still feel every inch of the good life.
Erin doesn’t seem to mind getting older, either. Aches and pains aside, she remains healthy, knock on wood.
As we watched the young pups party it up last night, we both chuckled, because we were in the seats section with other older folks, and we weren’t bothered by that one bit.
Despite being tired and not as full of pep as we used to be, we still showed up for the concert and drove 90 minutes to boot.
Since the goal for someone like me, with a history of depression and addictive behavior, is to show up for life, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a victory.
We came. We enjoyed. We went home.
We may need a couple bottles of ibuprofen and a bath tub full of caffeine to reach the finish line, but we have plenty of that stuff lying around. That’s how we roll.
We just roll a little more slowly than we used to.