When I’m 64

Posted on March 10, 2015 under Storytelling with one comment


Slip slidin’ away



“When I get older losing my hair

Many years from now”

When I’m 64 – Paul McCartney

When I was young, I had hair in abundance.  I was a reasonably good athlete and an average student.  I wasn’t what one would consider young and brash, but most of us in our 20s figured that we had it all, and more importantly; we knew it all.  Our parents told us lots of things that we dismissed as sheer folly.  After all, what did old geezers with gray hair know about the ways of the world?

A lot, as it turns out.

Paul McCartney wrote “When I’m 64” when he was 16 years old … a pretty prescient piece of writing, if you ask me.  This song rattles through my head from time to time but these days, it is bordering on an earworm, as I stare down the barrel of 64 this summer.  And (gasp!), a year later, if all goes well, I will be receiving my first Old Age Security cheque.

How did this happen?

Our parents told us that life would fly by.  Put a check mark by that one for sure.  A very large check mark.  When we were kids, summers were endless.  After getting our report cards (and often a scapular medal or a small bible from one of the nuns, for good behaviour), we wandered out into everlasting summer.  We hiked up Sugarloaf, we spent countless hours at the beach; we climbed trees and didn’t have a care in the world.

Many of us went to trade school or university and came out with a piece of paper that set us on life’s journey.  We were a confident lot with good health and good vision.  We were sure of step and, other than an athletic injury here or there, our bodies and minds were strong.

So, exactly how does it feel to be a senior citizen?  As Andy Rooney once said, “I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”   In many ways, we are far more self-assured now than when we were young scruffs.  We have learned many lessons along the way and have graduated, on many occasions, from the “school of hard knocks”.   We are, by and large, very comfortable in our own skins.  We are smart enough to let go of the small things and save our energy for things that really matter.

But in other ways, we are less confident in stuff that we once took for granted.  Our vision is not quite up to snuff and many of us deplore driving after dark.  Our hearing is suspect, especially when we are in earshot of our spouses.  And we are certainly not nearly as sure footed as we once were, especially in winter as we shuffle along icy sidewalks exactly like those old people we knew forty years ago.

And pain is a constant, unwanted companion.  Getting out of bed has become an epic battle most mornings.  Mercifully, the coffee producers around the world haven’t gone on strike.  The promise of hot java is what gets most of us moving each day.

And did I mention memory lapses?  I almost forgot to add this to the list of things that seem to be running low on warranty.  With more regularity than I’d like to admit, faces and names that I’ve known my entire life don’t spring to mind and lip as quickly now. Luckily, most of these people are of my vintage and I am comfortable in the knowledge that they are experiencing the same thing.  Misery loves company, as they say.

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me

When I’m 64?”

I’m about to find out.

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