In conversation, I very very occasionally drop into the discussion that I am 19 years of age (Ok, I actually say it a lot, I’ll give you that!). This often rushes by people, but others who examine the things I discuss, especially relating to things I’ve done, will question how it’s possible that I’m so young. Those who have followed my meanderings for many years will point out that I appear to have been 19 forever.
Some people will get angry and tell me I should act my (real) age. Others will say how pathetic I am pretending I’m 19. Yes, me being 19 polarises people. Only a few actually ‘get’ it.
So, I guess I’d best explain it: Firstly, I need to qualify it, or maybe even confuse it, by saying that almost everybody I know is 19, including those who slag me off for saying I’m 19.
Ok, it works like this: 19 is the mean age by which you have made your major decisions about who you are and what you like. This is constantly slightly changing and readjusting itself forever of course, but it is pretty much in place at the age of 19. The years from 13 to 19 are full of wonderment and build the foundations of a person’s musical tastes, humour, style, likes and dislikes. Normally, this is a time for soaking up what really is new and exciting, especially when it comes to music and fashion, constantly looking forward to the next day. It’s a time when the song being sung yesterday gives way to the song being sung today. Living for the here and now means there’s not too much time to care about the songs from yesterday, whilst being excited about what is to come tomorrow.
The majority of people will take a ’snapshot’ of these years and will spend the rest of their lives replaying them and replaying them or looking only for more of the same. A further 19 years may pass but all they are interested in is what was around when they were 19 (well, ok, it’s not exactly 19, but those years around the age of 19. You know what I mean, right?). As what they liked when they were 19 gets further and further into the past and things move on and sound even less like the music they remember, they get more and more angry, grumpy and frustrated by what is there instead. They tend to envy, hate or dismiss the 19-year-olds of the day because they aren’t listening to the stuff they remember 19-year-olds listening to when they were 19.
So, another way of looking at it is to say that these folk have mentally remained their original 19 forever. They have no real interest in anything that has happened since they were actually 19, constantly acting as if they were still 19, back how ever many years ago that really was.
Meanwhile, there are a different type of eternal 19 year olds. These are the ones who are continuing to listen to and be excited by new music, just as they did when they were 19, and they continue to have no time or space in their heads for the vast majority of the old stuff, regardless of their actual age. I’m one of these 19 year olds.
There we have it. The bottom line is that we are all 19 years old, regardless of how we deal with the eternity that follows the chronological age of 19! See? Denial is pointless!