I have been thinking about this song for 51 years, ever since the Beatles released it in 1967. It stamped sixty-four into my consciousness at a time when thirty was considered over the hill. Initially, it only lurked in the recesses of my mind and took a back seat to forty-five, which was my age in the year 2000. In my teens, twenties, thirties, and early forties I would focus on how old I would be when the new millennium arrived. Somehow that event held much more significance to me. Not anymore.
The millennium came and went. It was pretty much a big ado, like every other new year, about nothing. Even the computer systems took it in stride. Now it is just a distant, and mostly faded, memory. Not surprisingly, 2019, the year in which I turn sixty-four, took the place of the millennium in my mind.
Not for much longer, though. 2019 is upon us, making me just a couple of months shy of sixty-four. It also makes the song, or at least its chorus, way more important to me. Sixty-four is a pretty insignificant age, as far as ages go. Being sixty-four means I have been able to buy movie tickets at the senior citizen price for four years. It means I have been eligible to join AARP for 14 years. That’s about it.
Thanks to Messrs. Lennon and McCartney, though, sixty-four has always been a very significant age to me, at least psychologically. It is a veritable yardstick in my mind, one I need to measure myself against. It is a symbolic gate, a gate through which only old people pass. It marks the point at which QTR no longer refers to Qualified Tuition Reduction for me or my kids, but instead refers to Quality Time Remaining. It is the age in which I may have to start taking New Year’s resolutions seriously, at least the important ones. It is the age that is forcing me to ask myself if I am still needed and relevant.
I am a happy, boring guy. I do not want to make any significant changes in my life, though change has a way of creeping up on all of us. I am content with where I am. With all due respect to Messrs. Wiseman and Nichols, I have no interest in going Rocky Mountain climbing, skydiving, or 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu, though a few track days in my Porsche would not be a bad idea. Most of my body parts still function. My wife, Pam, is a saint, and despite my more curmudgeon like tendencies, continues to keep me current and relevant. I have two great kids, who actually still seek my advice. I have great friends. I enjoy my work. I have hobbies. Heck, I even have a great dog.
So instead of letting the specter of sixty-four weigh on my mind any longer, I am planning to embrace it for what it is – much ado about nothing, hoping it will become as faded and distant a memory as the millennium. In essence, I plan to live like I am still sixty-three.
There is just one problem with that, though. Shelby, my older daughter, is pregnant. She is due in April. Sixty-four will now be marked indelibly in my mind as the age in which I became a grandfather, making it truly significant for me.
Happy New Year!