Sunday, August 27, 2017

When I'm Sixty-Four

I first heard the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" the month it was released. I was thirteen years old, soon to turn fourteen.

I didn't even consider that I might some day be sixty-four years old. It seemed so remote, so distant that it wasn't worth any further contemplation.

Now Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a couple of months more than fifty years old, and I have reached the landmark year memorialized forever in Paul McCartney's clever song.

(I intentionally avoided posting this on my actual birthday, because I didn't want anyone to think that I was simply trolling for birthday greetings. I am now sixty-four years and one day.)

I am so fortunate to have reached this age. I was forty-six, not sixty-four, when I suffered a severe heart attack that led to this world and me "taking a break" for about seven minutes. That was about seventeen and a half years ago. Every day since then has been a gift. (There have been 6,361 such gifts thus far in my life. I keep count of them and try to appreciate each and every one.)

The thing is, I don't really feel radically different at sixty-four. I don't feel old, although I realize that I've seen a lot more days than most of the friends I see regularly. I still do many of the same things that I did when I was younger; I enjoy many of the same hobbies; I am enthused about many of the same things. 

Unlike the narrator of the song, I don't really view sixty-four as a demarcation of old age. I've never been defined by my age, I guess; I don't fret over impending birthdays, I don't try to lie about my age as if I'm ashamed of it--and truth be told, I don't think about it all that often, except when external events force me to do so (when I'm filling out paperwork that asks my age, for instance). 

I know some old people; some of them are younger than me. I know some young people; some of them are older than me. I hope that I continue to have more in common with the latter than the former, although I can appreciate both.

HP Lovecraft, a writer whose remarkable body of work has entertained and inspired me for many years, saw himself as an "old soul" in a younger man's body. I think I am his opposite in that regard: I see myself as a "young soul," no matter how many years have passed since my birth.

Belated happy birthday to me. Glad to be here.

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