When I’m 64

My 64th birthday was earlier this week. You may remember that the Beatles released a song about this way back in 1967 as part of their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Not many of us think about being 64, losing our hair, doing the garden, scrimping and saving to rent a cottage in the summer, dangling grandchildren on our knees – when we are just out of high school. I know I didn’t. When I looked at the older folks around me, my great aunts and uncles, teachers and grandparents, I never believed that my body would change the way theirs had. I never believed that my resilient muscles, slim body, great teeth, 20 – 20 vision and dark hair would ever change. I thought that all of these people did something wrong to make these bad things happen to them.

Age creeps up on you, we humans peak at about 20 and then things start sliding – gradually and unnoticeably at first, and then later we build up aging speed and see changes week by week as we look in the mirror. From the moment we are born, we start the march towards death. From the day we stop growing, our age acceleration starts.

Feeling old at 63, I attended a show in Branson last week. One I had always wanted to see, the Andy Williams Show. Even though he passed away in September, I still wanted to see it, as it was the last in which he had a direct hand. What a wake up call. The theater was fairly full, and there were fewer than 20 people there that looked younger than I. Heck, most of the performers were also older than me.

Andy died of bladder cancer, but performed in last years show, dancing and singing song after song – at 83 years old.

Although all of our bodies deteriorate with age (for whatever reason), some of us are blessed with better genes or care for our bodies better throughout our lives. Some folks weather the age battle with more grace than others.

When I was 50, I started jogging, eventually ending up participating in the Corporate Challenge jogging events during my early 60’s. When I lined up with my age group at the starting line, I looked the ladies up and down and decided I wouldn’t have any problem keeping up with these old ones. Boy was I wrong, those old ladies were fast!

Andy himself didn’t start his Branson project (the Moon River Theater and Cafe) until he was around 64. Betty White is still a charmer going strong with television and movie productions while approaching her 91st birthday in January.

Genes do play a role, but in my opinion, mental attitude, social connection and physical activity will help even those with genes that would otherwise cause mobility, senility and psychological issues.

Take care of your body, your mind and your psyche – make a determination to LIVE as long as you are alive! I’m sure trying hard to do just that. So – ladies and gents – wish me a happy belated birthday – and MANY MORE!

Lyrics of the Beatles song “When I’m 64” courtesy of Metro Lyrics

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out ’til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?

You’ll be older too
Ah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you
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?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottageIn the Isle of Wight if it’s not to, dear
We shall scrimp and save
Ah, grandchildren on your knee,Vera, Chuck and Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?

One of my projects, to LIVE while living, is a site called Aging Bodies.  When I experience something going on that seems to be related to aging, I research and write about it.  Madeline Sharples in her seventies) and Anne Nicolai (in her fifties) provide their own unique perspectives to the site as well.  I would be honored if you would check it out!