When The Beatles sang “When I’m 64” I was a child and the very idea that I would ever be 64 years OLD was as foreign to me as any I might have entertained. But today that day has arrived and I thought I’d share all the reasons I am delighted to be 64.
I am happy in a way no one who still has most of life before them could understand. I am satisfied with what I have accomplished in life, even though as I look back, I see how I might have done more, been better, avoided some of the potholes of life. I raised two daughters, mostly on my own. My goal was simply to raise competent women, and that they are, but they are so much more: accomplished, informed, aware, kind, successful. And, they like me! They share their children with me, allowing me that second chance to be better and do more. And though I was unable to give them much materially, they are still grateful to me and have acknowledged my sacrifices for them. What more could a parent want? They are my best work.
As a child I wanted to be a writer and a potter. And I am both. I am satisfied with that and find joy and great satisfaction in making my pots and writing my stories. Somehow, I, too, have become competent. When I recently painted a canvas, my oldest granddaughter gasped and said it was beautiful and I should sell it for $500. Though I am no painter, I was pleased I impressed her and I encouraged her to reach beyond what she is comfortable doing.
I am not, in fact, losing my hair, as Paul intoned but instead have let my grey hair grow longer than at any time in my life - because I can. In my younger years, long hair took too much time from working and parenting. I worried that it would have frizz or dents. Now I catch it up with a clip to work at my wheel or brush it out and tuck it carelessly behind my ears. I no longer lust after new clothes or fashionable shoes. I live in my collection of jeans and men’s shirts. I am comfortable in my own skin.
I have enjoyed great love, friendships that run as deep as family, and the companionship of any number of pets - all strays - that I have saved and who have saved me in return. I have stood on snowy mountain tops and also gazed into the depths of the Grand Canyon. I have lived in big cities and rural towns so small the Fourth of July parade went by twice. I’ve run on beaches on both coasts, drunk wine in vineyards, marched on Washington and camped in the mud at Woodstock. I have lived. There’s more life left and I know now how to get the most out of it.
I am satisfied, comfortable, content. I am 64.