Part of it, I guess, is simply a symptom of growing old. As you push towards 60 you realize you have more past than future. So its natural to spend time looking back, fondly or otherwise, at one’s past.
But another part of it is that I might be done. Finished. Kaput. I once read a study that claimed that long-term stints of homelessness took 30 years off of one’s life expectancy. And while I take most of the numbers about The Homeless with a big grain of salt (because most of the numbers are pure bullshit) there’s probably a grain of truth to this one. For every homeless person that I know that’s 60 or older, I can name you five who died before reaching that age. So at age 57 I’m probably already 10 years post-dated.
Aside from fitting in the homeless demographic, I also fit in the artist and druggie demographics. Both of which are famous for premature burn-out. As an artist I always considered myself the mental equivalent of a professional athlete, a pro football player if you will. Pro footbal players exert such an incredible amount of physical energy in their 20s that they’re usually pretty much used up by the time they hit 30. It must be a weird thing to “retire” at age 30, but thats the game. And a large percentage of them have great difficulty ever finding a “second act,” if you know what I mean.
Likewise, the artist tends to push his psyche, his soul, his personality, his mind (whatever the fuck you call it) to the brink. In search of new ideas and new experiences and new ways to express them. Its a field that has always attracted its fair share of “shooting stars.” And part of the fun for the audience is watching the artist soar towards the heavens like fireworks, only to suddenly peak and explode in a dazzling array of colors, and then drift slowly back to earth.
I often say to myself (with an evil snicker): “I’ve still got a couple more tricks up my sleeve.” Heh heh. But the last couple years I’ve noticed myself coming up with all these artistic projects that I never quite get around to doing. I remember when I was young, how I used to burn, burn, burn. I felt like an unstoppable force. So yeah, sure, I pine for the Good Old Days