It’s okay to let go of yourself

One of the biggest excuses for the way people behave is when others–usually of the younger generations–make the excuse for them that they are “just old and set in their ways.” As though adulthood is like emerging from a chrysalis and letting the first brief years harden your wings like sunlight and wind.

I’ve been watching a lot of Tiktok videos lately, and though I feel like I’m getting some agency from the GenX tiktoks, there comes a point where I get to realize the other part that made GenX a good generation to be from. Back when I was coming up and the Baby Boomers were complaining about these feral children that they had produced when they were all off with double incomes and bucking the traditions of their parents which seemed so oppressive, my generation had the best luxury since the Lost Generation. We didn’t quite feel like we fit in with any of it.

A generation of ramblers, gypsies, hippies, disillusioned, disenfranchised, renegades. Nothing was ours and also we got to sample from the best history had to offer. We had the golden ticket. We were swimming in the chocolate fountains, we were doing all the stuff Willy Wonka was hoping would kill us, and yet by then, the chocolate factory was abandoned. Outsourced to China where they could cut costs by firing the Oompa Loompas and using about a billiion Chinese as their slave labor. We grew up in an abandoned chocolate factory.

So why is it that today, I’m finding that sometimes the newer things are a little bit scary? Could it be the instant prejudice of “Okay, Boomer” and even in this age of female empowerment, women are called out for how they part their hair? Jeez. It’s an unwelcoming place, this world. So much for inclusivity that these little creeps are marching in the streets for all the time. And before anyone says “It’s only a joke,” that’s usually what abusers say right after they’ve done something unforgiveable.

It’s easy to let yourself harden off to the world when new things seem so unwelcoming. I still listen to mostly 90’s music, which I consider possibly the greatest era in music so far. Rick Beato would agree with me and show you exactly why this is true. Well, with the exception of all the other great stuff that is coming out these days. I particularly like the singer/songwriter music that is out now.

I have had conversations with my good friends at Dutch Bros. about music. It’s good to know that I am pretty current in bands I love listening to that aren’t from the 90s (though the influences and pedigree are there). Daughter, Tame Impala, Glass Animals, London Grammar, Kat Edmonson, the Black Keys, Iron and Wine, etc. So the other day, I was looking through albums at Walmart, which sells vinyl now. Yes, vinyl is superior. I get to be a music snob. I’m 45.

There on the shelf, I saw a double live album that was a favorite of one of my closest friends. The Zac Brown Band. I had to be honest, I had never heard a single song of theirs. After my experiences in dating in recent years, I guess I just tossed them in with Nu-Country, which was a staple of an ex-GF who wore the frayed cowboy hat and drank Fireball at the annual rodeo, before returning to her secret identity of a stuffed shirt professional. I didn’t care about guys named Brett or Rhett or Chet and their old t-shirt or “I’m Comin’ Over” or stuff that sounded like watered down top 40 from 1988.

Boy, was I wrong.

She sent me a link to her favorite Zac Brown Band song and it reminded me of old-school country I grew up with before I was whisked away on a cloud of drop-D melodies in the Grunge years. These were some truly talented musicians, not just pandering to swarms of buckle bunnies in their distressed hats puking bad cinnamon flavored whiskey into port-a-johns.

Honestly, I felt a little ashamed, since I had closed off to something new and made a judgement without trying it for myself. I’m glad I got schooled on this instead of lamenting the breakup of Led Zepplin or why Jeff Buckley had to be taken from us so soon. Nearly 30 years ago.

A pro to my generation is we don’t listen to the conventions of the others. We just do whatever the hell we want. It was good to be rewarded for that once again. Keep challenging yourself. Don’t let the sun and wind harden your wings. Keep growing. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Do a cannonball in that confectionary wonderland. It still gets to be yours.