Age Is Absolute And Relative At the Same Time
This past weekend surrounded by young people no more than 30 years old, I helped produce yet another music video for my son Cameron and his band King Youngblood. The director, Danny Denial just turned 30, my son is 22. His main bandmate “Moon” is 22. The actors were all in their 20s, the cinematographer as well. And so all of them and me – more than double their age, running around like crazy for three solid days making art. There I was - in my leggings and Nikes with a pen in my ear and a clipboard in my hand, producing, helping with makeup, helping with props, helping direct, sorting logistics, finding food, bracing the cold, coaching the actors, supporting the director who oddly though I am twice his age we regard each other as a dear friends. My girlfriends my age ask me all the time what am I doing with all these young people – “let them do their thing” “give them space” as if such things as making music videos are proprietary for the young only.
I don’t want to be one of those older women who tries to look young, who tries to act young, who tries to be something I am not. But who am I then if I dress the way I dress or wear my hair the way I know is the most comfortable - how does that define me.
I have always been about the work. Creating is my core. Making something from nothing is just fucking cool. So if making it with older people is somehow the rule now – I reject that. Young people are incredible to work with – they have no rules. I love that. They can have less fear – not always but the young people I work with, my son, my favorite director – Danny Denial – no fear.
Plenty of diplomacy with me and honestly, I feel respected and welcomed but no fear. Fear is the enemy of innovation and creativity – no room for it on our shoots. We just figure shit out together and keep marching. I love that.
Still, at 60 years old, I have to wonder sometime how these young people perceive me. I feel younger than my age, whatever that means. Except in the morning where I feel creaky and tired and needing coffee just to jump start the day. But then the calls and emails and meetings and music and more music and more calls and negotiations till I am blue in the face set in and I don’t have time to think about age or ageism or anything but just get the work done.
I don’t know what age means now actually. Does it mean the older we get, the closer we are to death? Well yes that’s true. Does it mean a number that we should defy? That just feels like a synonym for denial. What does defy mean here?
I work mostly with young people. And I mean young people under 35 years old. I try not to sound like the old sage person that I probably am, but I probably do sound like that sometimes. But I learn so much from them too. I try to be diplomatic and encouraging, empowering and compassionate. I have to confess but sometimes some – a handful – a noticeable handful of young people I work with just try my patience. They can’t see what I have already seen. They reject me just because of my age I suspect. Sort of move over old lady – we know better and we are young. Seriously it feels that way sometimes. One in particular who was an executive at one of the publishing companies I used to be the lawyer for - she was really like that. I had to take deep breaths after our calls just to re-center myself. Was I like that at their age? God I hope not.
Young people do need to make their own mistakes, God knows I made plenty of huge mistakes in my 20s and 30s. And 40s, and 50s and here I go into 2021.
All I know is I feel beautiful and inspired and talented and honest and innovative more than I did in my 20s and 30s. Is youth wasted on the young? Perhaps but maybe it’s just a number