Friday, August 13, 2010

Act Your Age!

There was a Twitter exchange after a recent American Idol concert that touched a nerve in my 51-year-old body.

CJMJDCFan tweeted to BybeeDJames: "Speaking of ear plugs..a man w/ his family told me that this was an AI concert-we needed to stop screaming and act our age!"

BybeeDJames responded: "Poor guy..I would hate to be that miserable. I hope I never act my age!"

All I could think of when I saw that was, Amen, Sister! I don't care how many notices I get from AARP or how many well-intentioned grocery baggers call me Ma'am, I'm not going to sit down with my knitting needles and behave like an old lady. I'm going to redefine what it means to act my age!

Just what does that mean anyway -- act your age? Isn't the fact that you're behaving some way, at any age, mean you are acting your age? By definition if you, at age whatever, do something -- you are doing it as a person of that age. When people say that, what they are really telling you is to act in accordance with their pre-conceived notion of how someone of your age should act. As if there is a rulebook out there somewhere that prescribes appropriate behavior at each age we pass through.

Why can a six-year-old jump up and down as the Disneyland sign comes into view, but a forty-year-old can't as they spy the Las Vegas strip? Tweens can squeal over Justin Bieber, but a fifty-year old can't scream when Bruce Springsteen comes out on stage? Why should excitement and, yes, loud, over-the-top expressions of enthusiasm, be curtailed by the calendar?

Are middle-aged women that much different than the rest of humanity? Do we lose our rights to free expression when we see that first wrinkle? Must we conform to society's notion of what is proper? I'm reminded of Shylock's speech from the Merchant of Venice: "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?" He was asking if Jews were so different from Christians. I'm asking if women of a certain age are so different from their younger, or their male, counterparts.

Have you seen how men act at sporting events? When ever have you heard one of them, after jumping up and down, high-fiving till their arthritic hands ache, and screaming at the top of their emphysemic-sounding lungs, being told to act his age? They get a pass to act exactly as they would have twenty, thirty, forty years earlier. And that's fine. I love that about sports and I love that men have that outlet. But what about us ladies?

I went to see Pearl Jam last year for the first time and I wasn't a 50-year-old seeing them, I was just me, a fan since their first album,who had followed them for so long and was so excited to finally get to see them live. I didn't want to sit there quietly; this wasn't the opera (not that I would know; I may be old, but I don't do opera!). A rock concert has to be felt to be experienced. It's interactive. So, yes, I jumped up and down and screamed.  So sue me.

If we choose not to curl up and die, but to be as full of joy and excitement as we were so long ago, that should be applauded. Women should be encouraged to continue to find enjoyment and passion and, yes, to show how they feel.  This blog was started because I felt passionately about something and wanted to write about it.  Extremes of emotions are not bad -- that's how we know we're alive.  So squeal, jump, dance, shout, do whatever feels right and natural to express how you're feeling.  It's your age -- act however you want!


What's My Age Again? by Blink182

25 comments:

  1. From Cyndee: It was my friend Maggie's birthday this week and we all celebrated from wherever we were ... MN, NV, California, WA! Yaaaay Maggie. You rock girl. See you in Vegas soon! Party time in the Diamond Room at Harrahs!! Maggie just turned 99.

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  2. @CJFan_Audrey (Twitter)August 13, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    AMEN sista!!! Funny, I said the same thing to my husband on Wednesday when we went to the John Mayer concert. This girl beside me was whining the entire time about how people were standing and dancing blocking her view and she wanted everyone to sit down. I told my husband the same thing, "This is a rock concert, not an opera. If you want to sit down, go home and be a couch potato." I feel the same way about friends who roll their eyes about what I call "MY PASSIONS" thinking I'm taking things a little too far. Perhaps some of us actually get 'passionate' about things we love and it doesn't stop when you hit a certain age. Perhaps things we love are not all revolving around our kids, our careers, etc. By all means, if you want to scream in excitement, I say go for it! And for those who think getting older means, being boring, well your loss.

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  3. Well stated.

    No matter the venue or the entertainment contained therein, or whereever you go or whatever you do, there will always be that
    misanthropic 1 percent.

    DrScanlon

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  4. To Me, Music has no age... I love going to concerts and showing my appreciation for the artist & their music. I do this by Clapping, Dancing, yelling and whatever else I care to do at that moment. I do always try to be considerate, but sometimes the moment just comes and you have that excitement built up inside! I say If we are excited...then show it. I think the Artist appreciates that! :D

    I know CJMJDCFan, and If I were there with her that night, I would have screamed louder!

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  5. I can relate to some of this. I'm 34 & still feel like I'm 18. (Don't look it, but feel it)I still like the same stuff that I did 15 years ago & like to have fun. You have such a great point about the sports thing. Very true.

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  6. I'm 65 years old and I've been to 6 DAUGHTRY concerts and 6 Jason Castro concerts in the last 3 years...I intend to go to as many Casey James conerts as I can while still seeing DAUGHTRY and Jason in between.I go early so I can get as close to the stage as possible, and I dance & sing and take pictures and send concert crack over my cell phone to my friends all over the country the whole time...and I don't ever intend to "act my age"!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Shari, loved this article! Did you see the review of the AI concert where the reviewer was cracking up over a 70 year old woman who was so excited about seeing Lee DeWyze, she had her hands clasped together repeating, "I can't believe it's him, I can't believe it's him" (or something like that)? This reviewer went on & on about how comical that was. And that cracked ME up because I hope that will be me 15 years from now at a Casey James Concert!! :)

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  8. "Have you seen how men act at sporting events? When ever have you heard one of them... being told to act his age?"

    This. And it wasn't a coincidence that what you're describing above was a MAN telling a WOMAN how to be or act. A, he thought it was his right to do so, and B, if he had put some guy in 'his place', he might see a fist coming at him.

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  9. Loved this one... I constantly am told "to act my age"... and YET I totally refuse. As long as you are "young at heart" - you are young forever...

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  10. Walking into the AI concert at Jones Beach with my daughters, the security guard told my 11 year old "Make sure she behaves" while he was pointing at me! Made my daughter's day (she thought it was hysterical). I will never act my age! Why would I? Remember, you are only as old as you feel my friends!

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  11. Oh Shari... you can put into words just exactly what I feel. Thank you! I absolutely love daydreaminmeme's comments... DITTO!! Yay for FOREVER YOUNG!

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  12. Great topic, Shari!
    I may look (sort of) middle-aged, but music brings out my inner 17-year-old and I really like her!!
    Undignified cheers, la peche.

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  13. Great article!! I don't "act my age" all the time. And I'm only 32. :)

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  14. AMEN Shari!! Music is a cause to celebrate. It touches the heart and soul of all ages,male or female, 2 or 92!! Little babies dance when you beat on a pan. I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren and I sit here at this computer with them looking, and sway, and clap, and rock, and tap my foot if I want to and they think it's cool!! If Casey's music don't light a fire under you, your wood is all wet!!! Or...you may be dead!!! I appreciate you giving all of us freedom of expression here today!!! Love it!! MAE777

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  15. Great article. Early on, and continually, the CJCC was attacked by a couple of the hater sites, making fun of us and such. Someone even comment about my 80's hair style - lol! I commented "Hey, I like my 80's hair, and some day it will be back in style." I do not feel 48. I do not know how it came so quickly. My only revenge is that some day these nasty posters will be 48, if they are lucky, and then they will understand where we are coming from. I love being silly and having a good time. If I want to support an artist (Casey) I will. I had so much fun moving and grooving to his set in Charlotte. My sister took some crap from a woman behind her because she was standing up. If we had sat down, we wouldn't have seen the show. Again, as others have said, it was a concert afterall. Get up and shake your booty!!!! Cheers to the older women who still love to live life to the fullest!

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  16. Thank you Shari! I needed this.

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  17. I know what you mean as I retired at 67 and my VP asked me why I retired and if I really was ready to retire as most retire at 65. I told him I really was not ready to retire as I had planned to retire at 70 but my husband retired and wanted me to also. I told him I really did not feel old enough to retire and felt like I should work at least 10 more years. He told me that it is not how old you are but how old you feel and I could outwork him. Now I am sorry I retired as I loved my friends at work and loved my work---So age means nothing I have never felt old and we are real active and I suggest enjoy working as it is more fun than setting home. I am not a TV person so I am really glad for this group of people and may go back to work this fall after we get back from London

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  18. Amen to that Shari! I'm going to act the way I feel no matter what my age is. Thank you for putting these thoughts into words.

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  19. I love music. I will love it til the day I die. I will enjoy concerts as long as Im still able to go. If the young people don't like it, thats their problem. Life is too short to worry about what other people think you should be doing or how you should be acting. Remember this, we all age. Embrace it, you'll be happier.

    50 and still going strong!

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  20. Oh, my, Shari. This really struck a nerve. It's been an interesting part of my "journey" with Casey James actually. I've become acutely aware that my opinion as a "middle-aged female" is not as valued as others. I must be in some hormonal overdrive that's fogged my evaluation of this artist, right? My opinion of Casey as a remarkable talent is dismissed. My long love of music, of following, buying, discussing music is minimized as out-of-touch. And it really IS tied to the fact that I'm a woman. My passion for this guy's music and the character he shows is viewed as a rather distressing symptom of oncoming dementia.

    Here's a typical comment from another blog:
    The cougars and tweenies who dominate American Idol voting will never “get” someone like Siobhan, but those with more discriminating taste can appreciate an artist of her caliber.

    My response to this lovely man:
    It’s fascinating to me this “The cougars and tweenies” classification. So… let’s see. If I’m female, I have a very small window in my life when my opinion about music is valued. Maybe late teens to early thirties? Then I’m regulated to the jeering sarcasm and put downs of more “discriminating” types.
    An interesting version of “be quiet, woman”.

    Ah. News to all the discriminating types. I'm not going to be quiet. Nope. I'm going to yell and dance and have fun when I see Casey next Monday in Denver. I'm going to loudly champion the musicians I love no matter if they are my age, older or yes, a hot 28-year-old blues rocker.

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  21. i saw this quote once and it stick:
    "Growing Old is inevitable, but Growing Up is OPTIONAL"; i'm 29 but i don't feel those years at all ... so i'm sticking to that quote for a verrrrrrrry long time !!!
    CaseyCrew450

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  22. i am in my fifties.when i was a teenager we were listening to john lennon,led zepplin,stones
    we are the original rockers!!!i satill love rock music and hopefully always will.i left country music for about 3 or 4 months ago just now reconnecting to it.there sure are alotta new artists out their.i like a little pop not much thats what my kids like.love classic rock.
    my fav is nickleback and i like kesha and katy perry,and adam lambert though i didn't watch idol last year.which is why i decided to watch it this year i waqnted to put a person with the song i heard. p.s. classic rock fav is stevie r.vaughn and zz top

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  23. Shari,I feel so much better after reading this article and comments.I haven't told a single person except my new found friend.She immediately tweeted it and it took off from there.I'm now going to let my daughters see this article.For your information I did not let this man kept me from having a good time.When Casey came on it was Katy bar the door it was time to rock and I did. MuchLove,SassySylvia

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  24. So well said!!!! If an older woman dates or marries and younger man she is a cougar but a man doing the same is a stud. It has been interesting how this has played out with the Casey fan base as well. I took my 7 yr old grandson who has been a diehard fan since casey first appeared on Ai. That is so cute! right? of course it is! After all he IS mimi's boy! He has good taste and is very confident in his opinions. He said that he would get a pic with Casey and an autograph in his diary. AND HE DID. AS WELL AS A PIC WITH CASEY'S FAMILY. However it is not so cute in the world of middle aged women. The energy that came from Casey's set in Dallas absolutely enveloped AACenter. Act your age ha! I say act alive people. You'd have to be dead not to be affected!!! and I'm not yet. But, believe me, I would be lying if I said I did not feel the effects of the whole casey cougars thing. Is my life reduced to the state of my hormones. I hate to be told that every time there is a difference of opinion or a problem to deal with as a single middle aged woman that it's the menopause. When I am sick***it's the menopause. Pa leeze I know the difference of being sick and being hormonal. As women we deal with this our whole lives basicly. And getter older doesnt mean you stop having good taste or opinions. Who wants to be 20 again. I am sure that as a twenty yr old you are given more value by the masses or we would not see them plastered all over magazines, tv, and billboards. Youth is admired, but It's time that we grow to accept that women are a huge part of the influence on society and give them due honor. Not just when they are reproducing and making homes. Important as that is loving oneself is also important and we would not if we listen to the multitudes who say as stated before our opinions don't have solid basic and are only made by the current state of our hormones and big hair.

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  25. Watching Casey perform was the first time in a long time I felt free enough to not act my age. That's a gift. I may just throw myself on the floor today and have a tantrum, ya just never know.

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