Men Without Hats
“I Got the Message”

by Jim Di Gioia

February 23, 2017

My younger days aren’t numbered, they’re gone. Long expired. The math says I’m at or beyond mid-life, the point where middle-aged me goes into crisis mode, trying to hang on to my “youth”. Like a switch suddenly flipped, you wake up in the middle of the night and realize that somewhere in the last quarter century, your life started moving to a different beat. A mundane tempo as pedestrian as two cats, a mortgage, and a spouse. It’s as if younger you was only ever a dream, a figment of older you’s imagination.

That’s not me, though. It’s never been. For me, the reverse is true: the older I get, the more youthful I feel. You see, there really is a thing they call the rhythm of youth. It’s always there. It’s in me. It’s in you. C’est dans nous. It’s the beat you heard all those times you felt like dancing when there wasn’t any music playing. It was the pulse of those days that seemed to stretch longer than their allotted 24 hours. The rhythm of youth coursed through the random wisdom we scribbled down in notebooks. It made our temples throb as if we’d been banging our heads against the wall whenever we felt love, loss, confusion, or chaos.

This thing Men Without Hats call the rhythm of youth? You may not feel it anymore, but it’s still there. It’s playing in the background, drowned out by the din of this thing they call the rhythm of life. It has a way of breaking through, though; in small starts and fits, you feel its pull start to grow. Like revelations from pop prophets of the past, it sends its message: “Act now, and act fast. This feeling isn’t meant to last.”

It gets harder to hold onto the rhythm the further you move away from it. So in those instances when it makes itself known, turn up the volume and let it move you like the rhythm will never reach the run out groove. You can’t be in crisis (midlife or otherwise) as long as you’re dancing.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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