'Fifteen' at Twenty-Seven

Because Sometimes Life is Tough

Taylor Swift. Photo from DeviantArt

Taylor Swift. Photo from DeviantArt

7/26/17, 3:27 pm EDT

By John Corry, photo from DeviantArt

I’m twenty-seven.

As I’m sure a lot of people know, twenty-seven is a glorious year. Most people are out of their parent’s house, have figured out what they’re going to ‘do’, and are planning, at least in some way, what could potentially be a very happy life. Most people know what makes them happy by twenty-seven, many before, and they’ve made some progress in turning their lives into a good representation/living experimentation of that. It’s a pretty awesome thing. Some people seem so happy in their twenties.

Many people, however, don't, and for these people, music (among other things) can be a big morale booster. It’s not addictive, at least not in the normal use of the term. It’s not physically debilitating (unless you’re like me), or hurtful to anyone who knows you or loves you (usually). It’s a pretty awesome thing when it’s not turning you into an obsessive-compulsive crazy whack-job who only listens to one thing all day every day (…). There’s a lot of music out there–there are also a lot of people out there–and, in my experience, it does people well to listen to other people and things which one may not immediately understand. It may also then help to indulge in eccentricities which, while it may hurt morale, might stop us from indulging in other, more destructive, things.

For example, I’ve listened to Taylor Swift’s ‘Fifteen’ maybe… a trillion times over the past year and half (number rounded down)? I’ll admit I’m not sure if I’m proud of this or not (that number sound a little high? (low...)), but it’s characterized my personal plight over the past couple of years pretty well, so screw it. Given how old I am, perhaps too well...

Like I said, I’m twenty-seven, but it hasn’t been such a previously alluded to ‘glorious’ year so far. I am not going to go into some of the more ‘direct’ for this, though the current political climate certainly has nothing to do with it (like, its ‘bipartisanship’ (it is not bipartisan right now)), I assure you, but there are some things I’ve come to realize about it which I think sum up what a lot of what the ‘millennial’ generation may be going through in these relatively ‘turbulent’ days. One of the things I've realized about being twenty-seven, or simply about getting older in general, is that you start to subconsciously think about the rest of the world a little bit more, about your place in it, and in time, and who other people may be (at least if you're not a ****). It's made me look at a few things in new ways, and, in trying to turn a new leaf, I'm going to go straight, no-heed ahead into some my AMAZING and WILDLY IMPORTANT 'revelations' regarding what has become one of my favorite songs ever, though none of my friends may know I've ever even heard it, unless they've been living under a rock.

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

Millennials grew up in a time when *Nysnc, pop-punk and Eminem were all equally the most played things on the radio, when ‘reality TV’ was just beginning, and when ‘social media’ meant nothing more than ‘your friend’s band has its own website’ (thank for that, MySpace, I am quite seriously praying for a comeback). Many of us can remember floppy discs and their subsequent AMAZING evolution into zip discs, and this brings up one of the most peculiar things about our 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 which nobody could afford) as were computers and the Internet (relatively). by the time I graduated in 2008, IPhones were just becoming a major thing and social media had officially changed the game (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 pretty huge deal, 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, 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 understanding of computerized technology, and its evolution both practically and societally (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 (alright, except for maybe the younger generations, but we'll see what happens with that xp).

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

It may seem cheesy at first but this line is one of the most potent lines humanity has ever come up with (that’s right!) (!). 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 any point that could challenge his comfortable, super-smooth divinity. Could this also be used as a metaphor for how certain members of the older generations think of us ‘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 calm down just a little bit in the ways we go about treating people other 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 you really make an impact is only indirectly, as every point you 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', let you. It’s not your job to police people’s thoughts or their processes of how to come to them, only to 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?)

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

Information overload alert: 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's not (usually)), and my favorite movies of all time 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 prevalent for me personally, but I do know that it makes my fandom of a-Ms. a-T-Bone Swifty (or: as she’s listed in my IPod to throw my friends off my trail (…it didn’t work :/)) a little strange, 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 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. Like, maybe there are 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 I'd easily take you over the mainstream)), to stop, 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.

But then the song ends and it’s up to me to retain that 'revelation', at any age. I can say that it’s the Internet’s fault that I may not (keep that thought), or the world’s, 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 not going to be the thing which gets me out of ‘the thick’.

Only I can do that (I guess).

A lot of us may feel shtupped at twenty-seven (are you still living at home? Me too), but one of the cool things about music is that it transcends numbers (despite the fact that it’s primarily made up of them).

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…”