Birthdays are special, but some more than others. There is the 18th birthday, then the 21st. Then come the nice round years: 30, 40, 50… 65 is a big one, too. After that, if you’re still around, they’re all special until the really big one, when you get the letter from Buckingham Palace for making a century!
This year is a special one for me, but it is not one of these ages. I will be 64 in a few weeks. Ever since hearing the Beatles sing When I’m Sixty Four back in 1967, when I was fifteen, that age has held great meaning. I heard the song and wondered: what will it be like being that old? Will I really get there? Will I be bald, have grandkids and live the life they sung about? Nah, it is just too far away to even contemplate.
I didn’t even want to think about it. The life Lennon and McCartney described was just so unappealing. Compared to the groovy, swingin’ 69s, especially the life the Fab Four were living, how mundane and boring life will be at 64! Did I even want to live that long, or in the words of their contemporaries The Who, did I “Hope I die before I get old?”
Well, guess what? It’s here, and I have some interesting observations, now that I’ve made it this far.
When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…
I am not losing my hair. I have lucky genes, I guess. My father was losing his hair at the same age. In fact, my hair isn’t even very grey. But it now seems so silly that at 15 we worried so much about our appearances, our hair, the latest fashions and styles. (Some things never change).
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?
It’s interesting that the boys didn’t ask, “Will you still love me when I’m 64?”. Had they simply given up on the possibility of love at 64?
My wife and I met in 1975, married in 1976 and here we are today. We still need each other, and feed each other (she makes main courses; I bake bread and desserts. She makes coffee, I make brekky). We take great pleasure in having friends over for dinner, and also enjoy our comfort food on Sunday nights of macaroni and cheese – with a glass of wine, of course! We need each other differently, but the need is still there, as is our love.
I could be handy, mending a fuse, when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Mending fuses? That’s all there is? Well, I have enjoyed many DIY projects. I’ve mended a fuse back when fuses could be mended, have changed washers and even made a few walls, bookcases and more. Of course, there was the time I changed a light switch for a power point. I plugged in my drill, turned it on- the drill only hummed ominously, but the outside light that had been controlled by that switch turned on. That was the end of electric DIY for me!
My wife has knitted many sweaters (jumpers) for me, herself, our girls and our grandkids. We garden together and sit back, look at our little courtyard with a gin and tonic in hand, and guess what: “who could ask for more?”
Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave
We did scrimp and save. There were many times we simply had to lock up the credit cards and keep to a tight budget while still preparing for retirement. We went on low budget camping trips and later, when we could, took our teenage kids on an overseas trip.
The greatest joy now is to have our three grandchildren, no longer on our on our knees, as they are getting too big, but very much in our lives.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely, wasting away…
I am happy to say we are not wasting away. We have worked, raised a family, travelled and shared everything. We remain active, are very fit and are looking forward to however long we still have.
Almost fifty years have passed since I first heard this song. Yes, back then sixty four did look very boring. Now? Was it boring? Never! Mundane? Sure, but that’s life. Who knew how good, how fulfilling the mundane chores of life would be? Or that, having lived this long, I’d enjoy just being alive, with someone who does, indeed, still need me, even if I’m 64?
Are you 64? Was or is it different to how you imagined when you were younger?