Jul 192008

My latest contribution to the youth demographic.I turned 36 earlier this month, which makes it half my life that I’ve been an anarchist, a vegan, and a DIY culture maker. I was exposed to these philosophies through punk music and zines in my teens, and it’s a bit of an aberration that the ideas I encountered in a youth subculture are still relevant to me at this time in my life. But they introduced me to ways of thinking about the world and empowering practises that are still true and useful to me now, and I’m grateful I encountered them.

And so while I don’t care about whether I’m old or not, I do care about youth subcultures. I’m a product of them, I propagate their ideas, but I am no longer young. Until recently I was correcting friends and family who were telling me that I was old that — actually — I had one more year of youth. For years I’ve been saying that 37 is officially old. Because it’s not really mid-30s, is it? It’s more… late 30s. And late 30s, let’s face it, is practically 40. Which is old.

However, I was wrong. For me, at least, 36 is old. It’s all about The Dad Voice.

We had a kid last October. At first, I confused The Dad Voice with The Paranoid Voice, the overly cautious killjoy of an inner voice I often ignore without consequence. But recently I’ve been realizing that The Dad Voice is right. Like, all the time. That little voice that says you shouldn’t leave Sidney sitting on the couch? Whoa — there she goes — caught her just in time. That voice that says maybe it’ll annoy Susan if you start moving desks around in the middle of the day, maybe you should ask her first? Yep, that was something that totally could have been avoided. That voice that says, maybe you should have some lunch before you start losing your mind?  Yes. Eating makes everything OK again.

As you see, it’s sometimes kid-related, but not always. It’s a broader shift in my mindset that’s making me more conservative.  I’ve always felt that babies are the most conservatising force on earth, in that they give you a reason to care more about security than freedom, and now I’m seeing it from the inside out.

I am already following The Dad Voice without question. Which is disturbing, but change often is. On the pro side, being well clear of the 18-34 demographic causes most ads to fall laughably short of their target. Less energy spent being infuriated means more energy to feed Sidney.

  11 Responses to “On Escaping the Youth Demographic”

  1. Thanks for your spirit, talent, post, and passionate, indie work, Jim. Don’t be afraid of your Dad Voice- just don’t ever lose your open mind!

    Check out mine if ever you have a minute.


  2. We always need more cool dads — gives us hope for the next generation. 😉

    And I turned 37 this year, and I can’t deny that’s getting old … I try, but even I don’t believe myself.

  3. Your Dad Voice wears a really cool outfit– the Dad Hat!

  4. i thought 27 is too old,i guess i still have a long way to go..the post is really sweet,its an opener…

  5. Nice work there papa.

  6. We’re right behind you, and feeling/thinking much the same. “Old,” yes, is just around the bend and I devote no small amount of time to mulling over it resignedly. And yet, this kid-raising thing? So far it sustains happiness like few other things I’ve tried in my 35 years.

    Wish we could have a playdate with you guys. Take care!

  7. s’okay. i’ve totally developed the Mom Voice. it can be a bit odd to have such thoughts and hear ‘mom’ words and phrases coming out of my mouth, but it’s kind of fun too. happy birthday to Sidney and take care, old man.

  8. Thanks for your thoughts and well-wishing, guys. I’ve been getting back into work mode and it’s more complicated with Sidney there in the background, getting into stuff… but more interesting, too. I guess it’s why people have cats, or have music playing while they work — a kind of pleasurable distraction. And I find I miss meals less often, I had a tendency to just work through lunch and get cranky at 4pm and realize it was ’cause I hadn’t eaten. It helps that Suz comes home for lunch now.

  9. you are old. but i am older.

    i like to call myself grandma, wrap myself in a real soft cardigan and sensible shoes and complain about loudmouth pierced teenagers on the bus who don’t talk nice to each other….

    you are right of course, eating regular is important and kids (besides being the most amazing thing on the planet) make you more conservative.

    kisses and hugs to you and your fam.

  10. I don’t quite get it. Conservative? I just came across this site, read that post first, I love it, but what you call conservative is just plain perfect sense – no need to call it that messed-up adjective!

    You can be a young punk and yet already hack it like real – just like you can be an older punk and still not know your shit from your right from your wrongs and fuck it all the time like so many dumbasses everywhere you look.
    The oldness you’re discussing is that of the body and the physical brain with the experience it has gathered, and that has very little to do with the quality of your mind as you take care of developing it. You are not old, old means nothing – you are wise, and that’s refreshing!

  11. Yes, parenthood change your life and you get more protective of your kid. Don’t worry, worryning about your tot’s security won’t make you “socially egoist”.
    In the contrary, as a new parent, you get more conservative yes, about… the state of planet, the environment, a more convivial society, and the heritage that you will leave to your kid.
    You will want a world where “freedom” won’t mean freedom of the rich only…

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