I once heard this old phrase, I’m not sure where, that you only care about the music that existed between the five years before you get laid and the five years after. I remember hearing this at a time when I was vociferously listening to anything I could get into my ears. I remember thinking — as one is wont to do in youth — that such a thing would never happen to me. I remember thinking that I would always engage with music as much as a I could. I remember thinking that the feeling of discovery would always trump the feeling of familiarity. Surely I loved the music of the past, but to become a fuddy-duddy who held on to his limited, long-gone era of music was, to me, a horrific proposition. The things that rang in my ears were such a powerful key to my emotional understanding of myself that to take that away was unthinkable — a rending of the self.
But I’ve lately been dealing with the struggle that I may indeed be on the tail end of things, music-wise. 1 And more terrifyingly, that all those wild emotions (fueled undoubtedly by hormones) have become cemented down into a set identity, a consistent pattern of doing and thinking. A way that things are and will be.
There are people that will love music through all their lives, who will hunger for the next great discovery and write endless tracts about the upcoming small timers worthy of your attention2. There are those that have spun something small into something big. There are those that have remained a lighthouse, a beam of illumination to always return to. There are those that keep doing the very thing that we all started it for in the first place. But I’m not one of those people. Or, at least, I don’t have that hunger anymore. It’s not merely the yelling into an endless void — I always knew my voice was small but I was never in the game to be heard — it’s that I’ve run out of things to yell. It’s that my aimless, wandering interests have moved away, and I’m dragged along.
I’ve never been good at letting go of things. I always leave parties as late as I can. I always think of the possibilities that still remain. I never truly feel like I’m saying good-bye, even when I know I’m saying good-bye.
The truth of it is that it’s been a hell of an adventure. And even if the farewell is too late, even if there’s no one left at the party… well, I’d like to at least turn out the lights before I leave.