Youth is a state of mind. I know you know that but it’s taken me a while to see it. It doesn’t matter how you look (although it helps), it doesn’t matter if you are married, single, divorced, have kids, not have kids. Its all in your head, or maybe just mine.
You may not want to be 16 or 26 again but wouldn’t it be nice to have that feeling of youth? That ‘I want to dance and even if I look stupid it doesn’t matter’ feeling. Maybe you have it. I categorically don’t. Recently I was at a gig – I even feel old saying that word. It was a small affair in a small venue and the age group was predominantly under 30. I spotted a number of ‘I am young and I don’t care’ outfits; the patchwork flowery waistcoat (on a male) gave it away, the smell coming from some energetic dancers was also a telling sign, the fact that they were dancing at all was evidence enough; I shuffle, if I’m pushed (literally) or sense I look more conspicuous if I keep still.
I am trying to pinpoint the time when I lost the ability to throw shapes on a dance floor just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Once in an outdoor nightclub in Turkey I remember dancing to Beyonce with a feeling of utter joy – I was certainly crazy right then – I didn’t give a hoot who saw me or how terrible my dancing was. I was young, I was on holiday and I simply didn’t care. I wonder if that’s how Madonna feels all the time. What other reason could she have for flashing her bits on stage or wearing high cut leotards at 54? oh yes she’s Madonna.
The question therefore has to be how do I get it back – not that I am planning on wearing a leotard any time soon. I know people older than me who act and feel young. I know younger people than me who act and feel old. Perhaps the responsibility that comes with age is the reason and waistcoat wearing stinky dancers at gigs just haven’t got to the stage of responsibility yet.
I will soon be away from my usual responsibilities of life, alone in my old home town with old friends. Will I catch a glimpse of the young me and be able to harness it and bring it back to real life? We’ll see. Lets hope I don’t stop washing and buy some suspect Ozric Tentacles waistcoat in Camden Market whilst I am away in a flush of re(un)discovered youth.
This will be the first time in 5 years I have been back and I am getting nervous – can you tell? I’m not sure why, apart from the obvious fear of not knowing my way around the tube or getting lost in Soho. Possibly the real fear is that everything will have changed and I am subconsciously expecting it all to feel the same. The UK is not the country it was 8 years ago when I left, nor is London the same city I knew and loved. However some of the people I love are there and changed or not I can’t wait to see them. I may feel older but I am also wiser and some reminiscing over a glass of wine (no pints of Stella for me these days) could well be just the ticket to rediscovering the feeling of youth. London here I come.