As you age, birthdays ending in “5” or “0” are considered milestones. Of course, most of us likely over-celebrated 18 or 21 when becoming legal drinking age. Many women continue to celebrate 29 long into their 40’s. Milestone celebrations are expected for 30, 40 and 50. When your 60th rolls around, others want to celebrate more than you do.
Your friends and family have one of two reactions when they learn you are turning 60. Either they are surprised you got there so quickly or they are only happy it’s not them. Naturally, those of us that are already 60 are ecstatic to welcome more members into our club.
Many feel that after you turn 60, the next milestone is the magical retirement age of 65. That was true for our parents, but Baby Boomers know better. Our next milestone is 64, thanks to The Beatles.
My generation has been singing along to “When I’m 64” since we were in our teens or early 20s. It’s one of the catchier tunes Paul McCartney ever wrote. Like the character in the song, McCartney didn’t know much about being 64 when it was released on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first songs he had ever written when he was just 16. Although his father turned 64 the year before the song was released, McCartney wouldn’t turn 64 until almost 40 years later, in 2006.
It’s a song about young lovers pondering their future together. At such a young age, they wondered what their lives would be like many years from now.
Now it’s my turn to find out. I’m turning 64 on Feb. 24.
“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 till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?
With the children grown and, for the most part, on their own, people our age sometimes wonder if they still have a purpose in life. The lyrics in the song are certainly legitimate questions for us now.
I’ve been married to my lovely wife for almost 40 years. She has put up with many things during that time, including most of the things mentioned in the song. Now that I’ve reached that plateau, where do I fit into her plans?
“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 64?”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to many more happy years together. This is our time now to enjoy each other’s company. There’s a great line from The Honeymooners episode “Young at Heart.” The Kramdens and Nortons attempt to recapture their youth by roller skating and dancing, only to find it was more difficult to do than they originally anticipated. At the end of the episode, Ralph reminds them about how it’s not so bad growing old, as long as they have good memories of when they were young.
That’s when Alice turns to Ralph and says, “I don’t even mind growing old, as long as you and I grow old together…”
I’ve been more than lucky to share my life with a woman that loves and cares for me. We’ve raised two great kids and still look forward to the future, whatever that may hold.
Will she still need me? Will she still feed me? I guess we’ll find out on Feb. 24, when I finally turn 64.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.