Yesterday, I turned 45. I'm well over half-dead now.
This previous week my wife and I saw The Rolling Stones in concert at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium. Yes, the same Rolling Stones who on their previous trip to play that same arena on their Steel Wheels Tour were ridiculed as being on the Steel Wheelchairs Tour.
That was in 1989. More than a quarter-century later, Mick and Keith and the guys were as good as ever. I had never even been a big Rolling Stones fan, but after seeing the energy they put into a two-hour show I became impressed enough to now call myself one.
Mick and Keith played, sang and jumped around like teenagers. In fact, they seemed more energetic than the clips I've seen from the early 1970s. And they're each 71 years old.
I must admit that I, however, do not jump around and move like I did in the early 1970s. Nor do I wet my diapers or eat mashed carrots anymore. But I do share The Rolling Stones' apparent view that I don't have to act my age if I don't want to.
Granted, there are plenty of ways in which I do actually act my age. I hate loud rap music blaring from cars. When I get up from a sofa, my body sounds like the snap, krackle and pop of Rice Krispies. And I get tired of trying to keep up with the politically correct terms of today: Is it African-American or black, disabled or handicapped, elderly or senior, P. Diddy or Puffy or Puff Daddy or Diddy or Doo Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do?
But, otherwise, I refuse to act my age. Or, rather, I refuse to let others define the rules for how folks my age should act. You should be a good person. You should do your part to make the world a better place. But you shouldn't act 45. Or 71. Or 99. You should act like you -- unless you're a jerk, in which case perhaps you should act like somebody else.
Nowhere is my aversion to the "act your age" dictate more obvious than in my closet. Although, I must confess that while I haven't let my wife dictate the rules about how I should dress at my age, she has done an impressive job of covertly tossing various t-shirts she deemed about 20 years too young for me or "mid-life crisis shirts." Apparently, I've been having a midlife crisis since I was about 14 as that's when I decided whatever was most comfortable was most appropriate.
That's when I developed a continuing aversion to such attire as neckties -- that most useless invention of mankind that screams "conformist" -- and anything that made me feel uncomfortable, strangled or too hot (in the temperature sense, of course). I consider flip-flops perfectly acceptable footwear for any occasion and have been known to cut the short sleeves off t-shirts to make them even more comfortable, although I often have to fish them out of bags destined for Goodwill and homeless shelters.
In my mind, I'm still a kid. I have a lot more bills than most kids and a few more aches and pains, but growing up in this world has become synonymous with becoming dull. Conformity rankles me more than a necktie.
So, whether you pass me on the street tomorrow or 30 years from now, you'll shake your head and wonder what I was thinking going out of the house like that at my age. But one thing will never change:
You'll be more worried about it than I am.
Connect with Chris Johnson at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting or on Twitter @kudzukid88.