Community//

When I’m 64

Can it really be here?

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In the words of Paul McCartney, who wrote the music for the song at 15 and released it in 1967 on Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band:

“Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?”

When I first heard the song I was 11. In fact, I still have the album on vinyl.

I turn 64 in just about two weeks. That age, which once seemed positively ancient, will be the one I must embrace. Although my father died at 64, I view it as my own “halfway point.” I aspire to live to 120+, even if I’m sporting many artificial parts at that point.

I feed myself, I let myself in at 2:45 AM (and still stay out that late), and I love unwrapping presents. They don’t have to be lavish gifts. In fact, I prefer experiences to stuff these days. (I’ve also been told I still have a 12-year-old-girl-smile when I’m delighted).

But “learning how to age actively” is a challenge in 2020. In fact, I launched this column in June 2018 to get the conversation going about how those of us who are still engaged, employed, high-energy, and fun after 50 can best find and keep our places in a youth-obsessed world.

The words “ED and vaginal dryness” are constantly in mass media now, along with “urine leakage.” People my age are still being portrayed by the media as feeble tech-challenged fools and/or cranky dry and sexless old crones who play mahjong and can only enjoy life if they’re wearing Depends. I can’t even begin to relate to that image. Let’s stop stereotyping and focus on enjoying/leveraging every minute — whether we’re 24 or 64.

So, how am I planning to spend that 64th year?

  • Staying energized, taking care of my mind and body, and having new adventures, crafted around “Happy Things
  • Continuing to champion cross-generational collaboration with my 20-something inspiration, Charlotte. I’m constantly learning from people older and younger than I am and hope we can soon be seen for our true selves rather than our birth years.
  • Only interacting with people who have a positive and youthful attitude. I’m so done with whiners, narcissists, and bullies.
  • Doing some of the best work of my life. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until 78 and Roget invented the thesaurus at 73. Compared to these people I’m a kid.

No one told my generation how to age. We’re all figuring it out together.

By the way, Bill Gates is also 64 and he seems to be doing OK.

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