The photo above has been making the rounds of Facebook the past couple of days. Some people might think it's making fun. But I think it's beautiful.
The man on the right is former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins. The man on the left is his nearly life-long friend Ian MacKaye, who led the great punk bands Minor Threat and Fugazi. Yeah, they're both 50 or thereabouts but they're both still bad-asses.
But the fact that they're bad-asses is beside the point. Those guys might have grey hair and a few wrinkles, but they're still punker than you'll ever be. Ian, in particular, helped to rescue punk from knee-jerk nihilism and bring it into something profound and productive, something that can last all the way through one's years and apply to any situation. After Ian and people like d. boon and Mike Watt of the Minutemen, punk rock meant something else: essentially, think for yourself, and they consistently embodied that concept both on and off stage. For what it's worth, that idea is why I called my book Our Band Could Be Your Life, because you could apply their ideas to things far beyond rock bands. And far beyond your youth.
Punk rock might be for the young. But being punk rock is for everyone. That's what I get out of that picture. There is no shame in going to bed at a reasonable hour if, the next morning, you wake up and fight the good fight.