I went to a music show for a few small, independent bands tonight. I love live music and always enjoy the opportunity to go see bands that come into Houston. However, it makes me a little nervous to go to shows that tend to draw a crowd, because it seems to bring out a younger crowd. It always makes me feel either too old for my hobbies or too immature for my age. One good aspect, however, to feeling my age around these groups is that I realize that I have gown out of that impressionistic phase that so many people seem to belong to. Sure, there is typically only a four to five year age difference, but there is still an innate sense of being out of place. When I am the elder, though, I don’t tend to worry as much about my reflection. I am not quite as worried about my outward perception, appearance or demeanor because I don’t really see most of these people as my real peers. In short, it is a small sense of freedom. When you are not within your element, there are no boundaries or traits that you feel the need to exhibit. I am not saying that I put on a show every day that I am around my real peers, but there are those roles that we all tend to fall into a little too easily, within our personal structure. Outside of that circle, we have no real expectations. Within a different circle, we have different expectations. Of course, if it is an outside situation we are putting ourselves into, then we have no expectations. With this particular circumstance, however, I stay the same. It is a small venue, so I can see, hear, and enjoy the music wherever I am. I don’t need to move closer, crowd around or literally get into the music in order to get into the music. To me, it’s perfectly fine if others feel the need to be right in the center of things as they are happening. I have grown out of that, and am simply content to stand back and observe. Those recognitions may not make me a better person – how does one become a better person by just stepping back from a crowd – but it does make for a more enjoyable experience for me. I believe, as you grow older, that you can take two roads: either become a social chameleon and learn to blend in and carve yourself into what you experience, or learn your own way, and carve yourself out of what you experience. It is a lot easier to carve your own path when you are outside of your sphere of influence but I believe it is what is necessary to realize that you need to do so. It’s funny how it takes the outside world to make us realize this.
October 26, 2007