'Fifteen' at Twenty-Seven ('Millennials' Need to Wake Up)

Because Sometimes, Life is Tough, and You Just Need to Admit it, and Do Your Best to Move On…

Which is what I will be doing

Taylor Swift in 2008. Photo from DeviantArt

Taylor Swift in 2008. Photo from DeviantArt

7/26/17, 3:27 pm EDT

By John Corry, photo from DeviantArt

I’m twenty-seven.


I also like good music.


As public opinion: twenty-seven is a glorious year #SoGlorious. Most of us are out of our parent’s houses, have figured out what we’re going to ‘do’, and are planning, at least in some way, what could potentially be a very happy life. Most know what makes them happy by twenty-seven–many before–and what they need to do in order to maintain that happiness. It’s an awesome thing. People seem so happy in their twenties…


But some people aren't, and for these people (though obviously not only these people), music (among other things) can be quite the a morale booster. It’s not addictive, at least not in the normal use of the term: it’s not physically debilitating, or hurtful to anyone who knows you or loves you (…usually). It’s great when it’s not turning you into an obsessive-compulsive crazy fuck-head who only listens to one thing all day every day and refuses to admit that anything else may even have a possibility of being any good (…sorry)…

There’s a lot of music out there–there are a lot of people out there–but, in my experience, it does people well to listen to other people and things which one may not immediately understand–

For example, I, personally, have listened to Taylor Swift’s ‘Fifteen’ maybe… a trillion times over the past year and half (number rounded down)? I’m not sure if I’m proud of that number (… yes, yes I am), but it’s characterized my personal plight over the past little while, so whatever.

Disclaimer: I don’t know how else to do this–I’m not sure what I’m trying to do here, I usually have a better idea–but I think I’m trying to sort some shit out for myself, so… yeah, okay. For future reference: this is more of thought experiment, though a strong fuck you if you got this big problem with the song (like: just stop reading, dude; it’s not that hard). Generations get their own generations better; and millennials seem to be in a spot right now. This is just what I’m thinking (again: right now).

And yes: I realize how cheesy it is (but I don’t care!)

“This is life before you know who you’re gonna be… at fifteen.”

I (we (millennials)) grew up in a time when *Nysnc, pop-punk, nu-metal and Eminem were all equally the most played things on the top 40, when ‘reality TV’ was just beginning, and when ‘social media’ meant nothing more than AIM or ‘your friend’s band has its own website’ (thanks for that, MySpace (I am quite seriously praying for a comeback)). Many of us remember floppy discs and their subsequent AMAZING evolution into zip discs (it was truly overwhelmingly fast), and this brings up one of the most peculiar things about this generation:

We grew up as the Internet grew up, we grew up with the Internet. As we went through childhood and adolescence and into adulthood, so did the Internet, and at a relatively equal speed.

When I was in kindergarten (in 1996), cell phones were pretty much in the same place they'd been in since the eighties (big blocks nobody could afford), as were computers and the Internet (relatively). Though by the time I graduated in 2008, IPhones were just becoming a major thing, and social media had officially changed the game #SoOfficially (If you’re younger and you’re reading this, I apologize; feel free to skip the next paragraph).

This is important because the Internet is a big deal (epistemologically-speaking (epistemology: how we gain and understand knowledge)), one which we’re only just beginning to see the ramifications of on a wide philosophical (and political (:/)) scale. It can make it difficult for us to sometimes be fully involved in the conversation–given our innate history with this new way of life–or to know how to get our ideas out fully, but it also gives us an upper hand: we have more of an inherently emotional and practical understanding of computerized technology, and its evolution both practically and societally (or: (combining the two) psychologically). If we’re willing to hear the other side, nobody can beat us as far as our basic understanding of how people interact both with each other (as a result of the Internet, and otherwise), and through the Internet (except for maybe with the younger generations, but we'll have to see what happens– either way we are the last generation to grow up in a world without the internet #TheLastGeneration).

Being ‘twenty-seven’ (in the ‘fifteen’ sense of the term there) in 2017 partly means having a relatively scattered view of the world (again, this isn’t for everyone, just those of us whose lives are still in shambles (I guess)) as a whole, though a pretty good individualized one. Hence why it can be so tough to put the two together, why we get such a bad rep, and why we need to overcome it. But like everything meaning anything more than ‘but it’s just so coooool, maaaaaan,’ that’s a bit easier said than done.

Especially now–

“When you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.”

I’m saying it, and I don’t care: this line is one of the most potent lines humanity has ever come up with. We’ve all dealt with it, some ASSHOLE screws us over because he was too high on himself for buying the fancy super-soft toilet paper to think that ANYONE else may have a point to challenge his comfortable, super-smooth, divine intervention (it’s only tp– big deal, not the biggest deal). But could this also be used as a metaphor for how certain members of the older generations think of us crazy, entitled ‘youngsters’?

Perhaps, but if recent experience has anything to do with it, it may claim that that metaphor also has to say that if everybody would just calm down just a little bit in the ways we go about treating people whom we don’t know–or don’t immediately agree with–we might all be a little better off.

This is of course not to say that people shouldn’t fight for their ideas, but I am thinking that there might be a reason Tay-Tay seems to be staying out of talking anything politics over the course of her career, and a subconscious one at that, one that may be more easily understood as one gets older: artists know that the ways one really makes an impact is only indirectly, as every point one may have will not make understanding in someone who doesn’t even understand that specific point yet–let alone your entire argument–understand, unless they feel they’ve come to it on their own, which they will have, just as you did, if you let them, just as 'society', or your 'loved ones', or whomever, let you.

It is not your job to police people’s thoughts or their processes of how to come to them, only to show through example that it’s okay for people to explore the mind, within your faith that, eventually, at the very least, we won’t all end up being racist, sexist homophobes with black teeth and a permanent grease around our waistbands (another metaphor? (no)).

Sure, we can blame it on our stupid parents for trying to tell us that gangster rap was more sinister than James Bond movies, or their stupid parents for not getting rid of Jim Crow, but that would miss the point of it all:

‘Fifteen’ is ‘young’.

“I didn’t know who I was s’posed to be… at fifteen.”

Disclaimer: Information overload alert: Strong parental discretion advised: I’m a dude.

And a pretty dude-dude at that; I listen to a lot of metal, make fun of my friends like that’s the only reason I know them (it is)), and my favorite movies would likely be from the Matrix, Star Wars and Alien franchises (and… Titanic? (certainty not The Notebook…)). I’m not sure what that means beyond the reasons I know to be more prevalent for me personally (my favorite Disney movie was…), but I do know that it makes my OBSESSIVE fandom of music like Taylor Swift’s a little interesting, or at least a little if I’m trying to be objective here (which I know is stupid, but whatever).

I used to be the guy who talked crap on all my high school friend’s obsessions with Limp Bizkit and Disturbed, who would then, meanwhile, go home and listen to Blink-182 and Dr. Dre for hours on end, pretending I was any better than any of them were (I currently consider ALL of those bands cool, by the way, just *ForTheRecord ). It was a shitty thing, high school can be tough. I’m not proud of it, but it’s what happened, so I guess it’s time I start owning up to it (ahem …Millennials (‘young’ people?)?).

I was twenty-two when Taylor Swift’s ‘22’ came out, twenty-four for 1989. I was miserable at both those ages. Now I’m twenty-seven and the only thing that’s changed is that I work more and I’m more delusional (good or a bad thing? (…bad. Definitely bad)). I turn on a song like Swifty’s ‘Fifteen’ and it not only lets me escape from the crap I’m only putting on myself at those moments when I can’t get ‘outta the thick of life', but also as a reminder that I’m not the only one, and a motivation to get off my ass. Like: maybe there are other people out there who want all the YELLING and the SCREAMING and the blaming, on the news and on the Internet (and yes, I do mean you, ‘alternative news’ sites (although not nearly as often)), and on seemingly EVERYTHING BUT THEMSELVES to stop, and who just want nothing more in life than to be able to travel, read, laugh, eat, listen to music and talk about whatever hope there is left on this apparent godforsaken hell-hole of a planet we got here.

There is, but we have to work to find it first (work: something you find inherently enjoyable, but that also challenges who you are as a person).

But then the song ends and it’s up to me to ‘retain’ that 'revelation', at any age, within any existential context. I’m not sure that I do, but I think that’s part of the point. I can say it’s the Internet’s fault that I may not (keep that thought), or the world’s (fault), and I would not be wrong (who am I on a planet of over seven billion?), but that doesn't change the fact that 'the world' is just not going to be the thing which gets me out of ‘the thick’.

Only ‘I’ can do that (I guess).

So while a lot of us may feel shtupped at age ‘twenty-seven’, one of the cool things about ‘music’ is that it transcends numbers, and can simultaneously take us out of our bullshit while allowing us to engage with it more fully.

Could it be the same with ‘ideas’? With ‘politics’? With ‘relationships’? ‘Love’?

Warning: more cheese alert (super cheese)–

“Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors…”