(Originally written in April, 2011)
I have a stamp on my hand that says “midlife”. WTF? Is that some sick joke the door guys are playing? The whole time we were at the “club”, I didn’t even notice the ink soaking into my skin, what it was implying or how true it was. Now that I’m back in the 4am cloak of my hotel room, I can see clearly that what I was feeling at “the club” is simply what is apparently obvious to the next generation. Never before in my life have I felt so… old.
I’m going to just get it out there now – I’m 37. I suppose to 20-somethings that sounds like a miserable time (not that I would disagree), but I never considered myself truly old until tonight. Initially, I was stoked! Yes, stoked. I’m not too old to use that word. Here we are in Wiesbaden, Germany – a small city of 275,000 inhabitants just outside of Frankfurt. Our hosts, Oliver and Stefan, show the camera guy and me to a questionable “disco” after we’ve exhausted all the limited nightlife the sleepy town of Wiesbaden has to offer. They had no idea they were entertaining two Irish beer-loving partiers who need no sleep. I asked for a “disco” – which doesn’t mean the Bee Gee’s , but rather any place that plays music – and they delivered.
When we first walked into the dark grungy club vibrating with bass, I was giddy as a school girl. Girls with mohawks and a bar full of tasty beers on tap as “Boys Don’t Cry” by the Cure was playing. Not that I ever really loved that song, but I was hearing it in Germany and that makes all the difference in the world.
There was a dance floor full of German kids with jeggings, Euro sneakers and mary janes holding bottles of beer and staggering into each other. There was a stage, but it was clear there would be no scheduled performance – only drunk kids uninhibited enough to perform air guitar and sing into their invisible microphones for the crowd.
I wanted to dance. I waited patiently for a song to inspire my abandon. I was secretly hoping for 99 Luft Baloons to saturate the airways, but the school-aged DJ probably had no idea that the 80’s existed. All that permeated the room was unfamiliar modern beats that everyone else knew the German words to but me.
As I watched the crowd dance and sing along to each song I had never heard before, I began to picture my daughter coming of age, going to a club and dancing the night away with her friends, with her mom standing at the bar trying to get drunk enough to dance. Sad, sad, sad.
I realized at this moment in time that I have crossed over to the next phase… Midlife – and the stamp on my hand was either a cruel joke or a complete mockery of adulthood.
The question is, when did being an adult become unfun? I’ve noticed wrinkles around my eyes that didn’t use to be there and pesky gray hairs that call for regular dying, but I wrongly thought I was pulling it off. The only thing I’m pulling off these days are stories of parenthood and the woes of marriage and homeownership.
What now? I need my headphones, my Ipod and NOFX at top volume.