Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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When I’m 64: Sunday musings…1/7/2024

Well, that happened. Just like that I woke up and became part of a Beatles song. You know the one. Funny, I actually woke up with it playing in my head:

Will you still need me/will you still feed me/when I’m 64?

It’s a silly little song, really. A young man is playfully asking his mate if she will be around when he is old and “wasting away”. When you think about it, when John and Paul wrote it around, what, 1966, they were in their mid-20’s. 64 must have looked like 104 to them in the days when men had a life expectancy of around 68 and a strong majority of the men they’d grown up around had been laborers, worn away to the bone by their jobs. It’s a funny number even now, 64, at least in the U.S., the age just before one is eligible to join the Medicare crowd. Otherwise, 64 might as well be 34 or 84: nothing much going on from a milestone standpoint.

With a birthday that falls within the Christmas/New Year’s season (today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the real 12th day of Christmas) one can’t help but ascribe a bit more significance to a birthday. Especially the New Year’s thing, right? Looking back and taking stock. Assessing the present, checking your own pulse, going through your pre-launch sequence as you prepare to lift-off for another orbit around the sun for you and everyone else on the Roman calendar. Whether you are a “Comma Guy” or a “full-stop, period on 12/31” kinda gal, the temptation to fold your birthday into the “new beginning” is a bit stronger for those of us who have holiday-adjacent days.

How about that song? Any insights? A bit of wisdom? I mean, the Beatles were kinda deep, especially Paul and John at the peak of their song smithing. It’s really pretty much about those special relationships, central relationships with the ones you love, right? Especially, if you are really lucky, that one most special person. All of the things that you will need to be happy and healthy when you are older. Like 64. Will you still need me? We all thrive when we have purpose. The singer is not so much describing how he might be useful as much as asking if it will ok if he is there to be of use. Will you still feed me? Will you be the one or ones who are there when I am the one in need? It’s scary to be getting older baseline; thinking about getting older without someone or someones who will be there when you need them is downright terrifying.

As young men John Lennon and Paul McCartney looked into the future and saw 64 as the definition of old. I sure don’t feel that way today. At least not about the number anyway. 64 is a made up milestone, conjured into existence by two young Liverpudlians wise beyond their years, yet incapable of looking too very far beyond them. I awakened today at Mile Marker 64 and took a long, slow look around at where I am today and realized, again, that the only “new beginning” I need is another sunrise. Filled with purpose, surrounded by people who need me. Fed in every way possible by those who love me. What I feel is gratitude for the wonderful gift of their simple being, here, today, “when I’m 64”.

And if I am very lucky they will all remain “mine, forever more.”

I’ll see you next week…

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