‘Ya know how they say that you never forget how to ride a bike? I never forget how to go to a concert. My muscle memory takes over.
Of course, my muscles flexed a little differently when I attended concerts as a teenager and young adult. The cigarette smoke, the standing forever, the long day festivals... no problem.
Now, I’d rather miss the opening band and be home by 10 p.m. - neither of which ever happens.
But, when the music starts, I remember just about everything. I remember how music feels. I remember why I cannot help but dance (bounce, sway, whatever). I remember that music is one of the very few reasons I believe a god might exist. I remember a lot about who I am and who I want to be, and I feel just about as authentic as I ever do. Well, except that I have a little inner dialogue fighting over whether or not I should use the earplugs I brought. I prefer to wear earplugs because (as I’ve aged) I’m not super comfortable with my hearing being dulled for a period following a concert. But, I’m concerned other people (cooler people) around me will think of me as lame because I like protecting my hearing.
As someone who struggles to be present, concerts focus me. And, no, it’s not just because Jack White recently required that I lock away my phone to experience his music. Although, I bet it didn’t hurt.
What does hurt these days is my body. I don’t recall what song Jack White was performing, but somewhere in the middle of the concert, I noticed that my knee was pitching while I danced, my toes hurt from pressing into my shoes because of standing on an incline, and my upper back hurt from clapping so much. I barely even dared to try screaming lest my throat start hurting. And, in the middle of all of that, I smiled a very big smile.
I wish aging didn’t often bring pain, but I smiled because I’m still here (like, on Earth and at concerts). And, even as Jack White ponders entering heaven alive, I know I won’t be doing that. So, for now, I’ll plaster as wide a smile as I possibly can across my face while dancing with my pain. And, even though I’m much more selective about concerts I attend, the gratitude I have for the feelings and focus music gives me is immeasurable.
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