Saturday, 22 November 2008

Aging & letting go

Well, I've been 29 for about a week now. Been pretty good so far!

When I tell people that I'm 29, I'm inclined to think that their thinking "ooh - getting old!", particularly if their younger than me. My honest feeling is that I'm actually way too young to be pondering how old I'm getting. People start marvelling at their age when they hit double digits,

"10?! wow - I'm so old"

so 29 is still too young. But I do have one bad habit that I'm trying to let go of now - whenever I hear that someone made any kind of achievement, I check how old they are. It's like a reflex! And it's getting harder and harder because they are invariably younger than me now. I think I'm still in the mind-set that I should only look to those older than me for any kind of insight. Plus, of course there's this nagging feeling that time is marching on and I should have done something culturally significant by now...

Some years back, all the pop stars were older figures - they had this kind-of worldliness to them. At this point in my life, the world of pop just looks like a dialogue between kids being mediated by adults.

Henrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Robert Johnson all died at 27. So when I listen to those guys, I'm listening to people that are at least 2 years younger than me.

So I thought, well that's just the pop world. How about fine art? Well, Duchamp made 'The Fountain' (sometimes considered the most influential piece of art in the 20th Century) when he was 30 - so I have one year left to make the most influential piece of art in the 21st Century. And Cinema? Orson Welles made Citizen Kane when he was 26.

Anyway. This is just the art world. Surely scientists hit their peak later in life? No dice - Einstein developed his theory of relativity when he was 26. So that's 3 years younger than me. God damnit.

One source of comfort is that most of my favourite artists hit their creative stride later in life - Woody Allen, von Trier, George Carlin, Harry Partch, Spalding Gray (to name a few). So I can take pleasure in that, but better still would be for me to try and let go and recognise excellence in those younger than me. And also not feel threatened by other peoples talent. This is a transition I'm going to try and make, but I'm not going to do it gracefully.

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