Something about my new car makes me feel young. I have been in a mini-van for so long, playing the role of the prototypical middle-class soccer-mom– diaper bag and car seats, drop off and pick up, schedules and carpools– that I have forgotten what it feels like to be freed from the bonds of conformity. The mini-van, although completely and utterly functional and utilitarian, had been more of a youth draining experience. It’s impossible to rock in a mini-van, no matter how loud you turn up the music.
For two weeks, I have had a lighter sense of self, a Bohemian attitude, a non-conformist spirit. I have kicked the Highlander up to 80 mph, cranked the stereo to a volume I did not know existed, and I have sung and driver-danced and I have felt alive. Alive!
This morning, coming back from Maggie’s cheerleading game, Carson and I decided to put in the O.A.R. Live at Madison Square Gardens disc. She went right to Track 3, Hey Girl, one of our favorites. Being that I was with my children, I had the radio playing at a nice respectable volume. However, Carson turned it up a little. She wanted to sing. I wanted to belt. I turned it up a little bit more. By the time it got to the chorus, it was so loud we could barely hear ourselves, but together, we were screaming the words “Be my girl.” Shouting the words to the song together was completely gratifying. It reminded me of driving to school with my girlfriend in the eighties: pure, unadulterated joy. At that moment today, I felt cognizant of how awesome life can be. The sun was shining; the windows were unrolled, allowing the fresh crisp smells of Fall to waft into the car; and I was jamming with my daughter. We were laughing and singing and waving our hands, and I am sure to the other motorists on the road, we were despicable, the way we were carrying on.
“Act your age!” I am sure someone was thinking. But age is so irrelevant. It is a function of time progression, yet it cannot define who we are. At 42 I act and feel 22. I am a viable, breathing dynamic soul, and I am not going to let the wrinkles around my eyes define me. I am not going to let the aches in my hips slow me down. I want to experience and appreciate and welcome what life has to offer, not sit back and observe and wonder what it feels like to live.
Hence, don’t be alarmed when I pull up next to you and I am rocking out. Maybe, think about trying it. Next time you are in the car alone, put in your favorite CD and turn it up, and then turn it up some more. Sing at the top of your lungs. Enjoy youth, no matter what age you are– that young rock star is yearning to get out.