There’s been a Beatles soundtrack playing in my mind most of my life. I’ve been conscious of it since the summer of 1973 when my friends and I got turned on to The Beatles, in particularly the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. One of the songs from it that always stuck with me is When I’m Sixty-Four. It might seem strange that a fourteen-year-old would be moved by such a song. Back then being sixty-four was so far away, almost unimaginable for me. Yet, here I am.
I turn sixty-four within a few short weeks.
Even though Paul McCartney doesn’t sing any line that says, “Will you still love me when I’m sixty-four,” it’s a line I always ad-libbed when I sang the song in my head, or aloud in the shower, on a motorcycle, or on a run. I felt a connection to the juxtaposition of the young man asking the young woman if she’ll be with him for the rest of his life and the old man he becomes as he describes their possible future together, especially when he wonders if she’ll still feed him. I always pictured this old man, losing his hair, needing to be fed. Clearly a song written by a young man, if he imagined that a sixty-four-year-old would need to be fed. Regardless, I bought into it when I was fourteen, that sixty-four was old.
I sure don’t feel old now that I am sixty-four.
I’ve been blessed with good health my whole life. I’m in good physical shape. I’ve always exercised regularly. I still play hockey, golf, take long walks, and enjoy being active in many ways.
I continue to be a dreamer.
I’ve long associated with Lennon’s “You may say I’m a dreamer” line from his song, Imagine. I’ve always had big dreams. Whether it involved building my own house when I was twenty-five, going back to school when I was twenty-eight, finding love again with an older woman when I was twenty-nine, deciding to become a pastor when I was forty-six, starting a business with my son when I was fifty-seven, or wanting to be involved in all sorts of advocacy work in my lifetime. I’ve always felt passionate about dreaming, and dreaming big.
Now that I’m sixty-four I continue to dream. I’m a big believer we can age well, that turning sixty, seventy, or eighty isn’t the end. They can all be new beginnings. Sure, we have to adjust our dreams a bit. I definitely know better than to think I should start dreaming of playing for the Montreal Canadiens. But that doesn’t mean I can’t buy all Montreal Canadiens gear for when I play shinny with my fellow senior hockey buddies.
Should I believe that I can learn to play the guitar well at my age? No one told me I couldn’t; so, I started fifteen months ago. I practice an hour a day, every day. I’ve only missed two days in that time. I even started talking voice lessons this past fall. Who says you can’t dream when you’re older, especially if you’re willing to put in the work to make that dream happen.
I’ve been blessed with an amazing partner who has shared in some of my dreams and who has been supportive of my dreams. I’m grateful she still loves me, that she still needs me, now that I’m sixty-four.
I encourage those of all ages to dream, to live your life to the fullest, and dare to dream.
Photo credit: Mary McCartney. Paul McCartney at 80.
Note: Stay tuned for my blog post about Paul McCartney