“…and I don’t know who I am but, you know, life is for learnin’.” - Joni Mitchell, Woodstock
We baby boomers are an odd generation, born during the last great world conflict and conflicted ever since. I was born in 1947 when Robert Mitchum was filming Out of the Past and Humphrey Bogart was doing Dark Passage on the streets of San Francisco. I’m old enough to remember seeing Elvis Presley’s first TV appearance, catching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and watching the moon landing on a big screen in the Fillmore Auditorium while waiting for Country Joe and the Fish to start their first set. I grew up on the clean suburban streets of Mountain View before it was a part of the Silicon Valley. And walked the railroad tracks of the old Vasona Line before it morphed into the Foothill Expressway.
Look at me…this anomaly of the new millennia, listening to the Grateful Dead while nursing my arthritic joints. Working out at the gym between appointments with my chiropractor. Waxing nostalgic about the days of mushrooms and weed when the current drug of choice is Vicodin. I hobble into the future refusing to be beaten down, dancing to Fountains of Wayne and trying, in vain, to put the skids on Father Time. Behind me is the detritus of ex-lovers, broken marriages, old friends who didn’t make it, and a few lost opportunities. But also behind me are the years spent living in national parks, hiking and exploring the glorious American landscape, the raising of two beautiful children, and the opportunities captured.
When my grandfather was 65, he looked old. Suit clad and sedentary. I am nearly 65 but I still feel the beat, the energy, the vibe. My generation looks younger and keeps moving toward some indefinable goal, taking with it the broad perspective of the final half of the twentieth century. McCarthyism. Amos n’ Andy. Civil Rights. JFK. Duck and Cover Drills. Drive In Movies. Reagonomics. Space Shuttles. And a huge and diverse panoply of cultural iconic events. Seems like there is a lot more noise and confusion these days, and life keeps moving faster. But I am glad for when I was born, and that I can look back on a life well lived and never boring or taken for granted.
“No regrets, Coyote” – Joni again.