Shortly before my most recent birthday the Beatles came to me speaking words of wisdom and whispering a song.
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 be 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?
I was just 17 (if you know what I mean) when I first heard that song. It was a nice tune, but had no relevance in my life. I was young, immortal, the world waiting at my door, and it was, afterall, just a silly love song about old people. Who cared? Imagine my surprise when I woke up one day to discover I am one.
But old is a three-letter, four-letter word which we don’t use in my house. Age is a state of mind. Besides, haven’t you heard? Fifty is the new 30. And 64 is, well, the new 64. Whatever it is, it’s not nearly as old as that 17-year old kid thought it was. Silly girl.
I’ll admit some things have changed in the intervening 47 years—for the better, for the most part, at least, I think. I don’t worry about what I’m going to be when I grow up anymore. Now I worry about when is the right time to quit being whatever it is I’ve become so I can get on with those promised Golden Years. There are a few minor details I’m working on. Like, is that really enough money; can it possibly last, and I don’t think I’ll need that long term care stuff, will I?
And unfortunately, the body failed to get the memo about the new 50-30 thing (see above). It’s still operating under the old assumptions, but no need to fret there, either. I have a personal trainer and a pedometer, along with a dozen apps to help in that arena. In fact, my 20-something trainer likes to brag that I can lift a lot heavier weights than women many years younger than me. Sweet man. He’s hoping to make me feel better. I want to believe that it’s my arthritic hip and not the south-bound skin and boobs that clued him in to my age differential with other women.
Interests have changed over the years, too. While that teenage girl was all wrapped up in Teen Magazine, eventually graduating to Cosmopolitan, I am a Prevention subscriber, who recently graduated to the AARP magazine. (Actually, it’s my husband’s subscription—he’s the card-carrying member, not me.) I don’t spend time reading about an endless stream of celebrities parading down red carpets, who’s divorcing whom, or who checked into rehab this week. No, no. None of that foolishness for me. Give me hard, critical data about important health issues. My inquiring mind wants to know things like: is drinking coffee good or bad (it changes every week); is my beloved dark chocolate a true health food? And is that crazy, vegan diet that Clinton and Al Gore went on really healthy?
While I may not remember where I left my glasses, I can recite the 10 best foods to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, and I know how much fiber is in my breakfast cereal. I have the important stuff nailed down—at last.
These days the long and winding road isn’t so long anymore, the end closer than I care to dwell upon. I’m grateful for every day, enjoying every moment. It’s true that young girl didn’t set the world on fire quite as she had imagined. Life threw a few unexpected curves along the way, but it’s never been dull or boring. Life is good. All of you need is love, and I have great family and friends, and a loving, supportive husband with whom I’ve shared more than 40 years of needing and feeding.
Best of all I read recently that life peaks at 69. That means that the five best years of my life are just beginning. Whoa. Can it get any better than that? I say, let it be.