Last night I came across a mini-documentary about the once-band The Postal Service that was created to mark the 10 year anniversary of their album Give Up. It's these moments when I realize that I am aging. I'm sure most everyone has felt this way at one point or another, and I am sure that if you haven't, you will eventually.
An entire decade ago. That's when that album was released. One kid at the beginning of that doc talks about being transported back to his "angsty high school years" when he listens to that record. I distinctly remember sitting at my rickety, standard-issue desk in my cinder block dorm room in Greenville, Illinois while listening to that brilliant piece writing and programming. Impromptu hall listening parties with good friends were pretty much the norm that year as we picked up Copeland's first record, Beneath Medicine Tree, Mae's Destination:Beautiful, and Give Up. The following semester was followed up by Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism and Sleeping at Last's Ghosts, among others.
But I think what is most dissonant in my mind is this idea that people at other stages of life can attach their own feelings, meanings, and emotional responses to the same records and songs. Such seemingly solid and definitive signs in my world have completely different values attached to them elsewhere. A college symbol for me is a high school symbol for someone else. And that's weird.
As I walk around town my mind constantly guesses at the age of that guy on the fixie or the group of people eating out on that patio. By default I assume they're a few years older than me. I guess I still feel younger than I am because when I inevitably find out someone's age, nine times out of ten they are a few years younger than I am.
Aging is a strange thing. Time speeds up, those strange lapses in continuity happen in our brains, and things sometimes get a little blurry. But we all age and experience the same lapse of time and aging of symbols and signs. And we all learn how to deal with it in one way or another.