Of course, there are the visible signs of turning 40 - the grey hair, the crows feet, the getting-your-ass-kicked in Guitar Hero by your young nephew, and coming to terms with your nieces and nephews getting their driver's licenses, getting their college degrees, getting married... Then there are the signs not necessarily visible to the naked eye, but present nonetheless. The I'm-getting-a-head-start-on-my-midlife-crisis signs. To know me is to recognize them.
Mind you, there are some areas in which I have never fully grown up. I still consider the pop tart an essential food group. I still jump up and down at a Duran Duran concert. Hell I still go to Duran Duran concerts. I watch vintage Sesame Street and The Electric Company shows on DVD. (I'm waiting for The Best of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood). But lately I've been resurging other parts of my youth. The parts that don't make me cringe. And it's not that I want to be young again. I sure as hell don't want to be a teenager again, and parts of my 20s weren't all that terrific either. But there is something to be said for nostalgia, for listening to the scratches and pops on vinyl records. There's something to be said for re-reading Judy Blume books, or visiting your elementary school and noticing for the first time how small it looks.
There's something to be said for seeing how far you've come.
Sign #1 (Trust me, there have been previous, but I'll start with the most recent): When I left Long Island on New Year's Day, aside from Christmas gifts and six pairs of shoes and suitase full of books, I also went through my mother's basement and found my record and poster collections, and took 'em home with me. My turntable hasn't worked in eons, but vinyl is making a comeback, and I wanna jump on the bandwagon. Lord knows how warped my records are after years in dank underground storage, but there was something about holding them in my hands, admiring the cover art that didn't require reading glasses to look at, amused by some of my choices. (Come on, you know you had that Kajagoogoo album too!)
I want to listen to my albums again. But I have no plans to hang the posters on my wall, although the thought did cross my mind for at least one or two...
Which leads me to Sign #2: I bought The Essential Daryl Hall and John Oates 3-CD set.
There was a time when you were labeled as massively uncool for liking Hall & Oates. Maybe it was their names. Maybe it was their god-awful cheesy videos. Maybe it was John Oates' mustache.
Relax, it's safe to come out now.
The compilation spans three decades' of songs. Three-fourths of my life!! Shit, man! One thing about Hall & Oates is that they always moved with the times. You can hear it in the production values, the electronic drums and synths, the progression of songs from ballad to pop. Hall & Oates made fantastic pop songs, and Daryl Hall still has one of the best voices in the business. The man can belt out a tune with such soul that you almost wanna shout out an "Amen!" I haven't heard many of these songs in ages, and I can't tell you the pleasure of singing along in my car. If you see me groovin', chances are I'm listening to "I Can't Go for That" or "Your Imagination". If you see me singing happily, it's probably "Private Eyes", "Kiss on My List", or "You Make My Dreams Come True". Great songs. Great, great songs.
Better still, I'm finding myself thinking, How would I cover that? when listening to certain Hall & Oates songs. I like when that happens -- it feeds the creative side of me, and reminds me that I'm always a revision girl.
Nostalgia can be wistful. The antithesis to the pleasure of these songs and posters was a child just trying to keep her head above water. But in the end, the good has far more lasting power. I'm smiling today. And I think 40 is just fine.
If I start searching for Shaun Cassidy records, however, you know I'm in trouble.
What are your nostalgic pleasures? Feel free to share.