I’d like to think I got better with age, like fine cheeses and wines. Or have I merely aged sideways, out of synch with the upward tick of my age?
Did I grow up? Become a better person? I think the difference between 20 and 21, as opposed to other one-year age gaps, is that I changed longterm ideas and tastes. I listened pigheadedly to alternative rock for four years, the same old songs that were decades-later reiterations of 2000’s punk, unable to see beyond my own small world. I went camping and skiing, but only under the sole guise of bettering my snowboarding (liked circa 2008). I couldn’t see that training everyday or conditioning-lifestyle-makes people stronger, not merely throwing yourself into taxing situations and learning by trial by fire. Doing the right things but under the wrong assumptions-that about sums up my experience as a 20 year old. That, and stupid.
Now listening to death metal band-turned-pop, I can see how people evolve. Style, that once elusive element, becomes to ossify from my personal body of experiences and influences. Layer after layer, my own nest starts to form, from a patiche of jokes, misunderstandings, and words of wisdom – including the joke “It took English majors 5 papers and 4 conferences to discover the incorrect statement”; woven in, it becomes a definition part of my experience, me. And no one experience, label or person can be a model for the way I feel, me, actually.