"When I see my parents fight/I don't wanna grow up"
-Tom Waits, "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"
"I want to be stereotyped/I want to be classified"
-Descendents, "Suburban Home"
"Changes somehow frighten me/but still I have to smile"
-John Denver, "Poems, Prayers and Promises"
Props to Eric and Jason Simon for pointing the way to this article that inspired today's second post.
Last weekend, a certain all-"news" TV channel was doing a story on "grups" (aka, people that still act young well into their adult years). Sending a reporter out on a busy street, stopping whoever looked like a grup/indie yuppie and through the magic of editing, a "point" was made: there are people actually like this out there. Yes, twenty/thirtysomethings are still listening to indie/hipster music and acting little younger than their age shows. I was very annoyed by this story and quickly turned off the TV. My contention: who cares and why is there a need for a pigeonhole?
I brought this experience up with a coworker a few days ago and he said, "Eric, you just don't like being pigeonholed." He is totally right, but I wonder why I am this way. Maybe because there is so much more to life than labels. Unfortunately for me, labels are reinforced everyday by a variety of sources, including the Fourth Estate.
At this point in my life, I'm 27, single and very unsure about the work field I'm in. I never imagined my life being the way it is now back in college, but then again, I never imagined that far in advance. I still don't imagine very far into the future as today is the most important for me to stay rooted in. Before I went off to college, I thought that I would be married shortly after graduating and living in suburbs. Thankfully, that didn't happen as I realized that probably one of the biggest shifts in my (and many others) personality is going from a student to a worker. This shift can split apart some of the closest of friends and to be honest, I still think that sucks. Maybe that's nature's way of clearing the deck for another stage in life.
I'll be honest with you, I think it's great to know people who view music in similar ways to mine and they retain these views as they age into adulthood/parenthood. For me, my parents, my sister and I all had very different views of music. I don't fault my dad for being a big band fan or my mom staying at bay with Top 40 music from the '60s and '70s or my sister remaining at bay with what she heard on regular radio programming, but when it came to rock n' roll music, they didn't see it the same way that I did. In the case of my parents, they, being the best kind of parents to anyone growing up, were (and still are) relatively open-minded towards what their children were/are into. They didn't understand the power of rock n' roll and punk rock (I'm not sure they still understand it), but they respect me and I respect them for who they are.
These days, I really enjoy talking music and life with people like Eric, Amy, Jeff and Jason and Andrea from the Happy Bullets; aka, people that are parents and are still cool and relatable. Why? Because I used to harbor this thought that once people become parents, they're uncool people forever warped into a bland lifestyle with things saccharine pop music, SUVs, Prozac and having no time for themselves or their friends. Sure, there are plenty of people that adhere to that lifestyle, but that doesn't mean that I have to adhere to it. Amazing what options can do for one's life.
All this talk is way more than just a label, but of course it's easier to get to the point with one. Well, I can't reduce life to such simplicity. I'm not off the hook as I am very guilty of labeling people as tweens, comic book folk and mall punk fans. Labeling others that aren't like me is a surface thought, so I should be more careful about what I say and think, but I do it anyway. I'm sure people think I am so emo for saying things the way I say them, I'm a grup because I'm still into indie rock, I'm a punk for not falling into line and so on. All in all, I just don't want to become a lame person. People can call me whatever, but what's most important is how I think of myself. Of course there are parts of my personality that direct me to convenient labels, but that's not all of who I am.
"It's OK to grow up - just as long as you don't grow old. Face it . . . you are young"
-Pulp, This is Hardcore