Looking at a calendar doesn't change the feeling. I have trouble fitting myself into the fact that the 1970s are, simply, gone.
Steve Earle and Kris Kristofferson were on Austin City Limits Thursday night. Our non-cable existence fills with more than we can possibly watch from Netflix and the choices arrayed like a trick card deck by a video game console. Simple joy in the form of public television folk music is a throw-back pleasure.
I don't know when the Earle-Kristofferson program was taped; the mood was pure 70s. In my transported state, I yearned to be young enough or cool enough to wear a bandana tied on my wrist like Earle and have it be an authentic statement, not the act of a mimicking wanna-be. I wanted a do-over, and the talent to support it, as a solo act, there with my wrist bandana and guitar.
No doubt there is a scientific term for the rooted stance my brain has taken, freezing a portion of it somewhere between the ages of 27 and 34. I seem to have staked a claim there and will not be budged. I can't explain why. It is not delusional, though of this I have only circumstantial proof, for I do know my age, the year and that it seems to be a very altered world than that of more than 30 years ago.
Assuming I am not the only one with a portion of self that resides elsewhere in time, I wonder is this a trait we all share, a way of holding onto a more youthful outlook, a more flexible and energetic way of thinking? Does this keep us from becoming stodgy? Do we ever outgrow entirely our earlier passions or will I be singing along with, heaven help me, the Kingston Trio or, less dated, Dylan into my dotage the way my still-youngish grandfather sang his World War I songs in the 1950s, the way, at her request, New Orleans jazz was played at my mother's memorial service? We love what we loved.
Not that I can claim true innocence at those ages, but I certainly was considerably less time-worn and scuffed than I am now. So many sobering events waited around the corner of those intervening years. Bob Seger wrote, "...wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then..." Is it about reaching a mental peak at a specific age and being allowed to perch there, as though we have achieved some goal and will not yield the ground to reason or time?
Having lived with this - is it a phenomenon? - for a few decades I see it as a niche. Once a pocket of what feels a match for our combined heart, spirit and mind is identified, unconsciously, we are allowed to remain, at least that part of us which does not age or evolve or deteriorate. We are permitted to be of both then and now, never unclear that we inhabit bodies of a certain age, yet still influenced by the preferences of an earlier version.
It casts the whole matter of "good old days" in a very different light, doesn't it? It may be argued that this is simply nostalgia, longing for what we think has been lost. I return, again, to one of my wild-eyed, hair-on-fire theories that we are still all the moments we have lived; some of them just seem to welcome our lingering more than others.
I am most grateful that all of this goes on without having to dress the part, at least in the real world. That wrist bandana will not turn up at the high school reunion or any public venue. I can't promise, though, that I won't see how it looks with my tee shirt and house pants, or that I won't browse on-line to see if there is something in a multi-color floral pattern that would still qualify as a bandana. It is all castles in the air, anyway. Why not have them draped with what we find suits us best?