i can’t drive 55…

Now I’m quoting Sammy Hagar. What next?

The ’55’ referred to here is not miles per hour but age. I turn ’55’ tomorrow.

Not the ‘BIG 5-0’ – that was five years ago. It’s the slightly smaller, ‘big 5-5’. The girlfriend gets the ‘BIG 5-0’ this year (Hi Shmoopy!). To put it in perspective, I told her, “Congratulations – you made it! That’s half a century.” She said, “Gee thanks.” I don’t think she was impressed.

And so far I haven’t been too impressed with the 50’s. My 40’s were great – I loved them and enjoyed the hell outta them. But the 50’s have been vastly different and to this point, they haven’t treated me too kindly (more like, they’ve kicked my butt).

Within a couple of weeks after the odometer clicked ‘5-0’, I found myself on a cruise ship in the North Atlantic in late October. In a Nor’easter. Keep in mind that I had already seen “The Perfect Storm” a few times in the movie theater and at home – I didn’t plan on seeing it up close and personal out the window of my cabin. Also, little did I know at the time that it would become a visual metaphor for these last five years.

“Woaaaaaaahhhh!!” ….Bonus.

I can only hope that the remaining years of my 50’s are much better than the previous ones, starting……  now.

But hey! In the words of Mike Myers’ character, Wayne Campbell (modified slightly), “I’ve got an awesome debut album and I still know how to party!”

The Nights on Venus debut album is available as a digital download (MP3) and can be found on CDBaby, iTunesAmazon.mp3, eMusic, and other fine online retailers.

Nights on Venus – the debut album

And,as a brief reminder, there’s about two weeks left on the limited-time free download of “Perpetual” when you sign up on the Nights on Venus mailing list. There’s also one on Facebook too, and it can be found right here. So grab it while you can. You like free downloads, right (even if they’re 8 1/2 minutes long)? Sure you do.

Anyway, I’m convinced that whoever said “50 is the new 30” – a phrase that became popular only a few years ago – originally came up with that to convince themselves that maybe, just maybe it could be true. That I haven’t heard this phrase in a while now tells me that reality set in at some point and even they stopped believing it. Maybe 50 can be the ‘new 40’… in which case, 55 can be like the ‘new 45’ or somewhere thereabouts.

I see the guys in Blink 182 are approaching mid-life (think about that for a second); Weezer is already there (Rivers Cuomo turned 41 this year).

“It’s out there!”

Next up on the horizon for me is the next milestone – the ‘BIG 6-0.’ Yeah, I know it’s five years away… but it’s out there!

Oy. It never ends. Yes Meg, it’s “out there” alright… that older future that awaits us all, and her name is “Kimberly” (to make it seem less threatening).

Around this time you may start making out a list of things you’re thankful for and usually that will include the big ones – health, family, friends, some money in the IRA, etc. This year, along with the biggies, I’m thankful for a few specific ones:

  • that I get to be with a younger woman who doesn’t look or act like she’s turning 50 in less than a couple of weeks and sends me singing birthday cards that tell me “I’m too sexy for my hat… too sexy for my hat…”
  • that those annoying AARP mailings – you know, the ones that start at about age 45 (the ‘new 35’) – have stopped altogether, largely, I think, because they can’t find me. First I was in Colorado, then in Dallas, and soon I’ll be back in Colorado again. Always stay at least a step ahead of the bill collectors… and two steps ahead of the AARP mailing list.
  • that I now qualify for the ‘senior’ discount at IHOP restaurants and Super 8 motels. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be taking advantage of this as I very rarely eat at IHOPs (except for Wichita Falls, TX) or stay at Super 8’s.
  • that I’ve got an awesome debut album “out there” and I still know how to party!
  • that I still have my sense of humor.

Alternately, you could write out your “bucket list” – things to do before you die, that sort of thing being popular since the movie of the same name. And I did sort of start one but soon realized there would only be about 6 things on it, mostly having to do with musicians I want to work with and doing spiritual practice in a couple of monasteries in Japan and the Himalayas. There was no daredevil stuff on it – no jumping out of airplanes or bungee jumping, no race car driving, no riding that roller coaster on top of the tower in Las Vegas (is it still operating?). These days the only blazingly, excessively fast speeds I want to experience are with my computer and its Internet connection. Yeah I know… I’m boring (simple life, simple pleasures…).

So instead, I started putting together a playlist of… oh, we’ll call it “Anti-Aging Anthems.” And if I were still doing the radio show, I’d start off with these songs:

  • My Generation” – The Who
    This one is obvious so it leads off the list. The line, “I hope I die before I get old.” Never, never, never, never get “old.”
  • My Back Pages” – The Byrds
    Yes, Bob Dylan wrote it – I like the Byrds’ version of it. The line to sing: “But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” From the album Younger Than Yesterday.
  • The Real Life” – John Mellencamp
    The lyrics ring true, particularly the lines, “Just because I’m middle-aged that don’t mean I want to sit around my house and watch TV” and “there’s less days in front of the horse than riding in the back of this cart.”
  • Golden Years” – David Bowie
    The title is a bit ironic perhaps. “Nights are warm and the days are young…” and “Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere…”
  • All That Heaven Will Allow” – Bruce Springsteen
    You figured if John Mellencamp was on here, Bruce couldn’t be far behind. It’s on here for the line: “And I want all the time, all that heaven will allow.”
  • Tomorrow People” – Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers
    Really, it’s damn near impossible to feel down about whatever chronological age you’re facing listening to this song. From the album Conscious Party.
  • Forever Young” – The Pretenders
    An obvious choice of course, and another one from Bob Dylan; I like the way Chrissie sings it. From the album Last of the Independents… and while I’m thinking of that album, I’d also include…
  • Night In My Veins” – The Pretenders
    “It feels good, it’s all right, even if it’s just the night in my veins…” – always gets the pulse going a little faster.
  • Purple Rain” – Prince
    Still not sure exactly what this song is about after all these years, but it’s anthemic so it’s on here and “It’s time we all reach out for something new… that means you too.”
  • Ode to a Black Man” – The Dirtbombs
    This one has nothing to do with age lyrically. Originally written and sung by Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), the Dirtbombs kick it up a few notches. If I had to describe rock ‘n’ roll to someone who knew absolutely nothing about rock ‘n’ roll using only one song, this would be it.

… This is only a partial list so far – I’ll be adding to it over the next few days so feel free to add your own here. I take requests.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

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Author: nightsonvenus

Musician and producer with the band Nights on Venus.

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