The “old” you is still in there. And she rocks.

 As a brand new, wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all college graduate, I moved straight from university in Nashville to Manhattan. At a tender and entirely inexperienced 19 years old, I intended to show them all “how it’s done” (how what’s done, I’m still not sure). I lasted exactly three months and eleven days. That city and those three months taught me a lot about life; in other words, New York city chewed me up and spit me out with very little effort, never missing a beat. I went home, tail tucked, terribly homesick and properly schooled in humility. Still, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.

When my husband and I married, we chose a lovely home in an excellent school district here in Georgia. While it wasn’t Manhattan, it was still a bustling, growing community, ripe with shopping, entertainment and recreational opportunities. We built some wonderful memories there, and no doubt we left a little piece of our collective heart there. 

Now that we’re empty-nesters, we recently moved to a quaint little suburb of Atlanta. We have more land and a slightly smaller, ranch-style house, and we love it. Our two beloved dogs love it. Gardening is our thing, and we now have a blank canvas on which to create a beautiful outdoor retreat. We enjoy our neighbors and are having fun exploring the little downtown that, like so many others, is being re-developed.

Quote by accident, we stumbled across a relatively new outdoor music venue. It’s situated on the shore of a small lake, and it’s delightfully intimate. Both music lovers, we quickly looked up the concert schedule. To our delight, we found night after night planned, featuring iconic cover bands paying homage to the greats – straight out of the 80s. 

I think we can all take a minute to agree that the music of the 1980s was remarkable. Has any music, before since, ever spoken to the young people of a generation like 80s rock? Maybe, but I can’t imagine it. What preceded it, if I may, was a little sweet and sappy. What followed it in the 90s was ear-splitting, gum-popping, cacophony. That explains a lot, but I’ll stay on topic.

Needless to say, we bought tickets to a couple of shows and planned date nights around them. We knew we’d have fun, but we had no idea what else we’d experience. 

When we arrived at the amphitheatre, we were amused to see other similar couples and groups meandering to the gates, and we felt an immediate kinship. The majority of people were between the ages of, say, 50 and 65. Everyone was dressed in their 80s finery, women in early Madonna-style flash trash and big hair, men in sleeveless AC/DC tee shirts and bandana-wrapped (gray or bald) heads. Of course, many of us were also wearing “sensible” shoes (or in my case, downright boxy orthopedic shoes), but we all looked and felt very familiar to each other. 

It was funny; I felt a pang of nostalgia that first night that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was a pang that reminded me that I had a life before children and marriage and career, ripe with promise and possibility. It was a life that was both fun and carefree. And every single song played during those shows elicited shouts of excitement and (connection, maybe?) from the crowd. The music elicited younger, uninhibited versions of the very same people who filed in before the shows started. 

I’m trying to describe the experience here, and I’m afraid I’m falling short. Let’s put it this way: all the joint and back pain, the high blood pressure and thoughts of colonoscopies and mammograms in the audience seemed to float skyward. All that was left were slightly aging hippies and 80s rockers, and the entire experience was absolutely divine. 

I loved the years we spent raising our children and making the home we did for them. Like New York, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything in the world. But I’ll tell you what, those initial sparks and the eventual flood of memories and feelings from my youth overwhelmed me with happiness and remembrance. The music and the surrounding joy and familiarity and remembering made me feel as though I was actually in my twenties again, and for a brief time, maybe I was. 

I love where we are in life now. We have achieved many things that were dreams and goals of the younger versions of ourselves. We’re happy, we’re content, and we’re still very much in love. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t trade these years for anything, either. 

Still, humor me. Find a local concert featuring an 80s tribute band (or better yet, go see one of the original groups, as we’ve also done). You’ll be transformed. Slip on your 80s garb, and don’t feel self-conscious about the sturdier, more sensible shows that you’ll probably need to wear. 

The younger you won’t mind a bit. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *