Where were you in ’62? That tagline question of George Lucas’ rock-and-roll romp, American Graffiti, is easy to answer for those of us who popped out of the womb that year, blinking against the bright glare (America will put a man on the moon, declares JFK!), suckled by end-of-world despair (Russian missile buildup in Cuba threatens global nuclear war, warns JFK).
The tougher question — with no rhyming jingle to soften the blow — is where are you in 2012? That’s the big fat question facing the tail-end-of-the-baby-boomers generation that has been wagged by that beat-you-first-to-everything oppressive lot our whole lives.
Trying to answer it will be the likes of Jon Stewart, Jim Carrey, Jodie Foster, Steve Carell, Ralph Fiennes, Jann Arden, Sheryl Crow, The Breakfast Club (Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy), The Outsiders (Tom Cruise), and who the hell are you (which would include me), all turning 50 this year.
So ’62 seems like a vintage year for entertainers, not so good for us writers (perhaps the most notable, David Foster Wallace, checked out early).
Admittedly, I’ve experienced plenty of bright glare and despair — I was born into it, after all. But I’m hanging in there, a whole lot astonished that this moment rolled around so fast but eager to explore what it means (and feels like) to hit the half-century mark and get really serious about this business of living, when there is, undeniably, less than half of it left.
I can say now that I know exactly where I will be one week after I turn 50 this April (if all goes well, that is) — toeing the start line of the Boston marathon.
In the meantime, I guess you could say I’m in training to turn 50.
With some months of practice, perhaps I will get it right.
If you have suggestions, comments and thoughts for 50 Thoughts, please do share!