Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting Old

So one of the major focuses of chapter 7 is the idea of getting older. As Janie ages and is now in her mid thirties, she starts to realize that "thirty-five is twice seventeen and nothing was the same at all. (76)" Janie's youthful spirit has been worn down with age and she no longer feels happy. This is a reminder of the passion and eagerness that comes with youth. Janie's tone in chapter 7 almost implies that all sense or point of life has left her as she ages. Joe is also aging and "Joe wasn't so young as he used to be. There was something dead about him. (77)" How depressing is that? Once you start getting old, you begin to die inside. But, we do see later on that Janie gets a revival. But this chapter is a key down point in Janie's story.
Later on, some of the other women tease Janie about her age. Janie is starting to realize that she is not so young anymore and that she doesn't have her whole life ahead of her. Her unhappiness is setting in and becoming all the more real.
For me, the idea of getting old is terrifying. As a teenager, I hate thinking about being an adult and losing my youth. As college and the "real world" come closer and closer, getting old gets scarier and scarier. It's not even the age part. We are all going to get old and die someday. End of story. I don't like it, but I kinda have to accept it. It's the dying inside part that scares me. It's that I am afraid of falling into a mundane, pointless life devoid of any sort of passion. Janie is a good example of not letting this happen. We see later on that in no way does she let herself die inside, even though her life seems to have lost it's zeal. She keeps that spark alive.
John Mayer frequently muses with the idea of getting older and his album Continuum is pretty much devoted to songs about getting older. One song in particular, "Stop This Train" is reflective of Janie's aging process. She realizes that she is getting older and that she can't go back. The song explores the idea that you can't go back. You are are going to get older, but this song reminds you that it's okay. Mayer says:

Once in awhile, when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing

Getting older doesn't mean that life is just going on a downward spiral. Life gets richer and even though the past might seem like it was amazing, you just have to move on and enjoy what you have.

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