From The Washington Post: Do ‘elder Goths’ hold the secret to aging successfully?:
(Well…yes. I mean, have you seen me and the people I run around with?)
Since 2014, Bush has chronicled the rituals of her forebears in Maryland’s Goth community. Her contention is that “participation in the Goth subculture presents an alternative to being aged by culture.”
In other words, there is a better, more Goth way to grow old and to prevail over life’s many challenges.
As Bush and her Goth studies colleagues explain it, so-called elder Goths — who came of age with the music decades ago — possess a kind of road map through life that doesn’t exist for fans of more youth-obsessed musical genres.
That, and we bathe in the blood of virgins (consensually donated, of course…this is the 21st century, after all).
“Happy Goth” may seem like an oxymoron — but that’s the point. Bush argues that Goths’ success in aging has a lot to do with their ability to juggle opposing, seemingly paradoxical energies. Take Goths’ emotional intensity: While off-putting to some, Goths’ willingness to harnessdark feelings such as despair, gloom and hopelessness, rather than repress them, can prove healthier in the long run, Bush says. Equally vital is Goths’ ability to find humor, irony and beauty in supposedly “ugly” sources, such as flowers that grow by a cemetery or the absurd frailties of the aging body. In a culture, for instance, that already treats older women as frightful, why not own that, and become the most fabulous grand dame of darkness the world has ever seen?
According to Bush, the subculture’s most important element is a fierce sense of community. Goths feel united by their embrace of difference: As one older Goth puts it, she’s grateful to have a scene “with people who are my age and maybe a little older, who are still living life on their own terms, where they said, ‘I’m older but I still want to go out, I still want to listen to wild and crazy music, I still want to look freaky.’”
I’m 47, well on my way to 48, and very much looking forward to the day when the local club’s doors open up and I can start going out again. While I may not ever go out with the same regularity as I did in my 20s, when I was single and living on Capitol Hill within walking distance of several clubs, I really can’t see myself letting that go until I’m literally physically unable to get out.