I was thinking about heydays the other day. I do that sometimes with older people, which I know sounds bad. I have nothing against the aged, and by that I generally mean people over 50. I’m sure 10 years ago I might have had people over 40 in mind, but that was then, and this is now.
As I grow older, I increasingly find myself looking at older people and thinking about what they might have been like when they were young, in their heyday. I used to only view older people as older people. I assumed they were actually born as older people, with that paunch and the hairy ears and the cynicism. But to my surprise, that turned out not to be the case. Somebody who is 58 today was 28 at the height of disco. Think about that next time you go to Old Country Buffet.
And I wonder, if I were to ask these people to describe their heydays to me, what they would say. I’m sure most people wouldn’t have an answer at the ready. It’s one thing to talk about someone or something else’s heyday, but it’s another to consider your own. For one thing, a heyday isn’t the same as the best time of your life. For me, that’s right now, without question. But this is not my heyday.
My heyday was when I changed the variables of my life to allow me to be where I’m at and be with who I’m with today. Of course, while it may be all fine and good for me to waste your time with my personal proclamation of heydayity, I would get pissed off if anybody offered me such a Hallmark platitude about their heyday. I don’t give a damn about them finding themselves. I want to know what they wore. I want to know if they partied, where they partied, how they partied. I want to know their favorite record or movie. I want to know what they drove, and I want to know if they liked Laugh-In.
What I want, simply put, is to connect the older person I see to a younger one from a time I can relate with. Because I’m closer to that older person than I am a younger one, but I still can’t relate to that older person. I don’t know how I’m going to get from where I am today to that older person in 20 years, but it now seems clear that it is happening. And somehow, thinking about people in their heyday helps me bridge that gap.
In my heyday, I wore flannel and the music was always loud.