So there’s this woman who has written a book called “How Not to Act Old”. Her name is Pamela Redmond Satran, and as I understand it the book evolved from her blog of the same name. The book consists of 185 tips on how to avoid the deplorable fate of being seen as “lame” by those younger than you.
The reason this caught my attention at all was that a newspaper blurb I happened to be scanning noted that #34 on her list was this: “Don’t Admit You’re Crazy About Bruce Springsteen.”
Now I’m sure Ms. Satran is a lovely woman and her insights are undeniably clever and often true. She professes to be a die-hard Springsteen fan who, sadly, is forced to keep her feelings to herself because to reveal them means she’ll be dating herself. But I respectfully beg to differ. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that one sure way to feel ageless is to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. And I’m sure that the tens of thousands of people—young and old—who recently took in his shows at Giants Stadium would back me up.
I know my friend Shelley would. We went to the third of his five performances in the Meadowlands and had more fun than we’ve had in a very long time. And that’s saying something: because although we’re both over 50 (which I’m guessing means we easily qualify as old), we know how to have a good time. We tailgated in the parking lot. We sang along. We danced. We were on our feet almost as long as the E Street Band was. We went home exhausted and exhilarated. And then? Holy crap—we told people about it.
One of the people I confessed to was my son. Jake is 26 years old and passionate about music. Despite being the progeny of two lifelong Springsteen fans, he has always maintained that he really doesn't “get” what Bruce’s popularity is all about. But lately he’s been doing some exploring, and a few weeks ago he told me that he’s developed an appreciation for some of the earlier albums. So much so, in fact, that he went to one of the Giants Stadium concerts himself—and called me afterwards to say he couldn’t wait until I went so we could compare notes.
Does this prove my point? Does it disprove hers? I don’t know. What I do know is that being considered cool, or relevant, or “phat” (as Satran says) are not ambitions that concern me. Jake doesn’t consider me old. I don’t think his friends do either—but frankly, I don’t waste time worrying about it. If I did, I’d probably just wish for them to see me as a woman who relishes life and refuses to worry about the opinions of others. And I hope they’ll do the same.
I could care less about being phat. And something tells me that Bruce—who just celebrated his 60th birthday—doesn’t care about it either.