Holy s#@! I’m old

A feeling has been brewing for months now … the feeling that I’m old. Not, like, nursing home old or black-socks-with-sandals old but oldish. The feeling only recently intensified thanks to two bits of breaking news:

One: Tom Petty died.
Two: Benedict Cumberbatch is now vegan.
Let me explain.

I love you, Tom!!

The Tom Petty thing is self-evident. As I bemoaned the loss of one of my favorite musicians ever, Jake pointed out that this sort of thing is going to start happening more and more as the artists we grew up with  literally get old and die.

The Cumberbatch explanation takes more time. As you’re probably aware, I adore this man, so I know pretty much everything about the guy, including the fact that he quit smoking a couple years ago, then became a father, and turned forty-one in July. Now, apparently, he’s gone vegan.

I’m not against going vegan, but I feel like Mr. Cumberbatch is desperately trying to stop the clock to extend his career (which I’m obviously fine with because I love him). Still, one of my favorite stories I’ve heard him tell is about the time he and Keira Knightley got drunk on espresso martinis the night before filming Atonement and then had to show up on set, run dialogue, and pretend they didn’t wanna vomit. Now, he’s an adult or something and won’t smoke or eat cheese. WTF?

Smokin’ hot.

As someone who smokes the occasional coffin nail, loves cheese, and can’t listen to “Free Falling” without crying, these two bits of information were terribly upsetting, along with the recent realization that my favorite yoga instructor is TWENTY. She can’t even buy beer.

In my own bid to be one of the cool kids, I downloaded Snapchat after a rollicking weekend with a bunch of twenty-somethings in Charleston, South Carolina. Imagine my horror when some of the photos made my neck look wrinkly. I’ve been obsessively coating my chest with lotion ever since.

Apparently, part of the aging process is denying it’s happening by being healthy and adjusting our diets and being mindful or some such BS.  The diet adjustment conversation happened between Jake and I last week when I complained about heartburn, and he looked at me as if to say, “Well, maybe if you didn’t like whiskey and pizza so much …”

I’m thirty-five years old, and all around me, friends are giving up gluten, suffering through back aches, and quitting smoking. Even I’ve become an avid hot yoga attendee thanks to a stupid injury that, if I were younger, never would have happened.

Don’t look at my neck!

The conclusion I have to make is that, in the grand scheme of age, I’m getting older. Fine, I’m not old, but I am indeed getting older. I have wrinkles and grey hair. I have hangovers that last two whole days. Sometimes, I just want to go to bed at nine PM, okay? Still, I’m not ready to go extreme.

Something I learned on that shenanigan of a trip in Charleston: I can still party like a college kid. I can still laugh ’til my ribs hurt. I still get hit on by children (aka twenty-one-year-olds). Yeah, my neck looks weird in photos on occasion, but maybe age is less about what our bodies are doing and more about our points of view. Maybe if we think young, we will remain young?

I can’t be sure. This is my first experience with aging, so I’m learning as I go. Maybe there will be a day when I give up pizza in exchange for zero heartburn … but today is not that day. Maybe there will be a day when staying out until two AM is just too much … but today is not that day. Maybe there’ll be a day when I can listen to “Free Falling” without sobbing, but mmm, no, today is not that day.

Music · Writing

Wedding Music: Good, Bad, Ugly

There is bad wedding music out there. “Celebration.” “We Are Family.” Anything by Nickelback. I could go on, but I won’t. Because we’ve all been there. We all recognize bad wedding music, and yet, it happens again and again. So the question remains: how do you avoid bad wedding music at your reception?

There is only one Freddie.
This is a question I’ve mulled over a lot lately as Jake and I build our music list. You heard right: Jake and I are building our own list. We’re not having a DJ. I can’t stand them. They’re too exuberant—yes, even for a wedding. We’re not having a band, because let’s face it: no matter how good you are, you can’t cover “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Jake and I opted for an iPod and a best pal to run the show. It remains to be seen if this is a good idea or not, but I feel good knowing a stranger in a cheap suit with a microphone will not be announcing our first dance as man and wife.

Music is important to me. I’m not a music snob (eh hem … Matt Dobie), but hey, I like what I like. I’m wildly eclectic in my taste. Favorite bands range from the alternative-bluegrass Punch Brothers to now defunct heavy bass masterminds Audioslave. I adore Fiona Apple, Cuban and French music, as well as jazz (Billie Holiday), funk (Matt’s band Gangrene Machine), and timeless classics (Tom Petty, James Taylor, and Sinatra). There are the weirdoes like Bjork, Tom Waits, and Ryan Adams; there are classical artists like Puccini, Debussy, and Chopin. So what the hell kind of music are we going to play at our wedding?!  

It remains to be seen.
What, you didn’t think we already had the list together, did you?

Christina. Gettin' dirrrrrrty.
I’m heading back home tomorrow morning for my bachelorette party. My Maid of Honor (Aunt Susie) wanted to know what kind of music to play. This list is easier. For instance, “Dirty” by Christina Aguilera is an obvious first choice. “Your Love” by The Outfield, because we used to scream every word at The Junction in Athens. “Honky Tonk Woman,” because Janine and I used to play it on the jukebox at Fat Jack’s and dance when no one else was dancing.

The songs that really matter, that mean something to me now and will mean something to me on the day of my wedding, are songs that carry a memory.

I already told Jake we will be playing “Sweet Transvestite” from Rocky Horror Picture Show at the reception. No, not because I think Tim Curry looks good in tights (he does), but because I’ve been singing this song with different groups of friends since eighth grade. “In Tha Club” by 50 Cent will probably show up because 50 Cent sang it at the MTV Movie Awards on my twenty-first birthday, and at the beginning when he says, “Go shorty, it’s your birthday,” everyone at my house started singing along.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter. RHPS forever.
This is what music is about. It’s about making memories and sharing new ones. This weekend will be epic. Friends from elementary school, high school, college, and beyond will meet for the first time. We will sing songs together and make new memories. Then, on November 12th, songs will play, and for the rest of our lives, Jake and I will attach new meaning to old tunes, because those old tunes were the songs we heard on the night we became man and wife.

Go listen to your favorite song and sing as loud as you can. Unless you’re my neighbor. Then, sing quietly. And have a nice two weeks. I’m on vacation.