Turn It Up

Jason - Havertown, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 24, 2011
Themes: music
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When you are a middle school teacher, it is a foregone conclusion that your students think you are old. And if you’re not actually “old,” it makes you wonder about what the students think about the teachers who really are in this elder category.

So, despite the fact that I am NOT old enough to be my students’ parents, I still get a lot of strange looks when I am listening to music that may not be appropriate for my age demographic.

Let me clarify something for everyone. Being over 30 is not “almost dead.” In fact, it is not even close. So what I listen to is going to reflect what is in my heart and my head. Youth. Rebellion. Angst. Passion. Fun. Right on.

I recently had the pleasure of being squashed in a mosh pit at a Flogging Molly concert in Philadelphia. I did not push back, but I also did not complain and grumble with disgust. The kids in the “pit” were having fun, and I did not see a need to spit on that fun when it was the same fun I once had.

As the music of my favorite Celtic punk band blared in the crowded concert hall, I surveyed the people around me. There were plenty of “young” people there, and it had nothing to do with their ages. Yes, there were high schoolers – a few preppy kids sporting khaki shorts and graphic tees, a punker or two with spiked, colored hair, and some girls wearing outfits their dads probably weren’t too happy about. But there were also people much older than me sporting white hair, more on the face than the head. Of course, like me, there were plenty of people in the middle.

Amazingly, at that moment, age didn’t matter. For when each new song played, an eruption rose from the crowd, and we all sang along as one. Kids forgot about the homework due for Monday. Grownups ignored family commitments and work problems. All that mattered was the song – jump up at the chorus, throw a fist in the air, put an arm around your buddies, and rock out.

I believe that if it’s too loud, you’re too old, and probably need to get out of my car. Forget the easy listening station when you’re with me. I am a parent and clearly an adult, but that doesn’t mean I stopped being cool. I didn’t agree to give that up when I graduated college, got a job, got married, or had children.

Age is a state of mind, and I know exactly where my mind is.