Bob Dylan is on the cover of AARP magazine!
Let me repeat that for those of you who missed it. Bob Dylan the scion of the counter-cultural revolution in the 1960's, Bob Dylan the epitome of youthful frivolity and flower-power, Bob Dylan the beet-knick poet from Greenwich Village is on the cover of the magazine for The American Association of Retired Persons - The AARP (see the above picture and believe it). And as one of Bob Dylan's most famous songs observed:
The Times…They Are a Changin'
I once saw Bob Dylan in concert at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. The concert was unique in that it is the only one I have ever attended where the lead singer (Bob Dylan) didn't once make eye contact with or try to engage the audience. He just sat up on stage at his piano, or guitar, sitting side-ways, playing his music. In a way, it was similar to the affect of being on the AARP magazine cover. It was, "I am going to do what I do, you can observe if you want, but either way, I don't really care."
When you think about it, it's kind of "cool" that Bob Dylan gave his mug for the cover of AARP. It's sort of the ultimate counter-cultural statement from an aging rock star that nothing can define a person, not age, not stage, not a magazine where most of the advertisements inside are for ailments that come with old age. Bob Dylan seems to sort of be saying, "I'm too sexy, too sexy, too sexy for my magazine…"
The Times…They Are a Changin'
Also, it's sort of comforting to see someone who is famous who is 73, quite frankly, act his age. The world today is full of examples of people in different life stages who seem so uncomfortable with the age and stage that they find themselves within.
* It's full of older men who refuse to recognize the benefits of a relationship with women their own age, and who marry women forty years their junior.
* It's full of men and women who, at whatever cost, who will do anything to make their bodies and their faces look younger.
* It's replete with public figures and politicians and pastors, who are not content with simply being leaders, but also attempt to be sexual icons.
Some of the real heroes of this world are people who embraced the life stage they were occupying with grace, style and aplomb. Winston Churchill is one such example. Even as a young politician, Churchill embraced is "old mannish-ness" (if that's a word) by occasionally walking with a cane and carrying himself with an acerbic portliness that gave people in war-torn Britain a certain degree of comfort. Churchill's life-long nemesis, Neville Chamberlain, who donned a fashionable mustache and perfect sartorial splendor was once described as "rakish". But rakishness could not save Great Britain. Churchill's stodginess was what did the trick.
One of my favorite actresses is Kathy Bates. In addition to being a great actress, she has always been comfortable with her age, her body and her stage. Bates never tries to play roles that don't suit who she is. And because of that, she is very beautiful!
The Bible contains a plethora of texts which posit a constant recognition that the time that we have on this earth is fleeting and goes fast. It also has many examples of people coming to terms with their own age and stage in life. King David prayed:
"Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed my strength to this generation, and your power to everyone that is to come." (Psalm 71:18)
Job, after a lifetime of tragedy observed:
"With the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days understanding." (Job 12:12)
To the prophet Isaiah, God said:
"And even to your old age, I am he…I have made, and I will bear, even I will carry, and will deliver you." (Isaiah 46:4)
Of course, the real disconcerting thing about Bob Dylan being on the cover of AARP magazine, is what it says about the rest of us, who are all advancing in age. Or, perhaps it is not disconcerting at all. Perhaps it is COMFORTING to embrace the age and stage in which we find ourselves.
The Times…The Are A Changin'
Excuse me while I go and check on my IRA retirement savings account:-)
All For Now,