In 1966, I was 15 years old. In that year The Beatles recorded, When I’m Sixty Four, a number that sounded so old to me back then, I couldn’t imagine ever living that long. Maybe not so surprisingly, 64 still sounds old to me, and yet, this month, if I live for another 15 days, I will be 64!! years old.
Me at 15
Me at 63
Thinking back to the me that I was at 15, I remember wondering how anyone would want to be THAT OLD. I pictured 64 year-olds to be old, decrepit, falling-apart hags with only death to look forward to. And with my life-long back and lung problems, well, I assumed I’d be dead by now, too, to be honest. Or at least in a retirement or nursing home, watching my body decay with each passing day. I never realized, when I was 15, that if I took care of the body I was given, no matter how badly it worked, I might be able to change my perceived future into something more attractive – and I might be able to live a reasonably healthy life.
My mother, at 81, still gets on her treadmill every day – twice a day – and looks young enough to be mistaken for one of my sisters. She inspires me to take care of myself. Another inspiration is Jane Fonda. I recently watched the Netflix series, Grace and Frankie, and I thought the amazing 77-year-old Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda (her birth name) looked better than some women half her age. I realized that if I worked at taking care of my body, I could look a whole lot better than I do – maybe not as good as Jane Fonda, but probably better than I do now. And yes, I know, Fonda has had plastic surgery, but you can’t fake muscles, can you? Even Lily Tomlin, Fonda’s co-star, looks amazing at 75.
The funny thing about getting older is that the older I get, the younger those older than I am seem to be. But as I age, I discover that people of all ages tend to ignore people who are my age and older, unless we’re celebrities, of course. The first time I understood how it felt to be ignored was a day when I walked through a shopping mall with two of my daughters, both of whom were teenagers at the time – nearly 20 years ago. Suddenly all eyes were on my daughters, and people looked through me to gawk at them. I shook my head and laughed silently wondering, when had I become invisible?
This month I will be 64 on July 21st. All those many years ago, when I first listened to that Beatles song, I honestly believed I’d be hunched over in a shriveled heap, incapable of caring for myself. But I find myself busier today than I ever thought I’d be at this age. My book shelves are lined with books I purchased years ago with the intention of reading one day – when my days calmed down long enough so I could relax and actually have time to read them.
Those days aren’t here yet. Today, unless I take a quick bathroom break to read a portion of Reader’s Digest, I still have no time to relax long enough to read an entire book. I focus a lot of my time on my grandkids, and I devote a lot of time to writing and crocheting. People to see, places to go, errands to run, take up a lot of my time too.
Though I try to focus on completing tasks I’ve created for myself (my blogs and other writings, crocheted items, jewelry, etc.), my days are filled with incessant distractions and interruptions. In order to compensate for not having become the successful writer I always envisioned I’d become, I have comforted myself over the years with a promise I’ll never be able to keep to myself – that I’ll be posthumously successful, because I haven’t been what I would consider to be a successful writer the whole time I’ve been alive.
Then again, I haven’t written anything worthy of that kind of praise – yet, and maybe my best is sitting in my brain awaiting its turn at my fingers. I’m still alive, after all. And so what if I end up in a nursing home? Unlike the nursing homes of today, I’m betting that future nursing homes will be equipped with wifi so that those of us who never had time to write our books will finally find the time to do so.
Until that day, I will continue to write, to crochet, to live. I will be grateful for the life I live. And if I should end up in a retirement or nursing home, at least I’ll have lots of unread books to keep me company.
Oh, before I leave you, I should probably bring up the title of this blog post – sorry if I was a little presumptuous when I asked if you would still read me when I’m 64, especially if you’ve never read me until today. But please indulge a nearly old woman, okay?
By the way, can you guess my favorite 1966 Beatles song? Well, Paperback Writer, of course!
As always, thank you for visiting!