Today is my birthday. I am 64 years old. It sounds so very old, but frankly, doesn’t feel any differently than 30: I’m fit, I’m gorgeous, I’m fun, and I’m the same cranky pain-in-the-ass I’ve always been, maybe worse.
In 1967 when the Beatles released “When I’m 64” I was in my last year of college. I remember sitting around with my friends listening to the whole Sgt. Pepper album, and when that song came up, we all looked at each other and giggled. Would we still be alive then? Would we be old and feeble like our parents? Would we even want to get that old – after all, certainly the pleasures of life would have been behind us by then, and we’d probably have nothing to look forward to.
Well, I’m here to tell you that getting ‘old’ is absolutely cool. I look better (a few elegant wrinkles and pounds aside), I understand life better, I am kinder AND crankier, more flexible AND clearer, more determined AND more easy going. I’ve never stopped dating the same age men (45ish) so as a single woman I just get luckier a bit less often, but just a bit.
All in all, it’s a lot easier. Easy to spot the crazy stuff immediately and avoid it. Easy to know who I am and what I want and not care what others think. Life is just less complicated with no drama.
This past year could have been rife with drama if I were younger. Now it was just the stuff that Life’s made up of: figuring out how to make clear choices as the last portion of almost two years with few clients became a soup of creativity and conviction, fear and clarity; the hourly/daily pain of writing a very difficult book, compounded by the production team from hell (Truly. Hell.); computer problems and lost data; burst pipes and a flooded kitchen; breakdowns in a dying car and terrible mechanics. Highlighting the previous 63 years probably wouldn’t have seemed all that different.
Certainly there was some fun stuff this past year: a month-long business/holiday trip to Australia; a business/holiday trip to Edinburgh and the Fringe Festival; a trip to NYC to visit friends; spending time with my son and daughter-in-law; marketing my new book and meeting dozens of business partners; designing new programs that I hadn’t had time to develop until now; finding my first church and the wonderful new church family. Lots of plays, ballets,concerts – Bruce, JT, Leonard Cohen, Conspirare, Carolyn Wonderland, America – and gospel brunches at Marias. Time sitting in my hammock, near my frog pond, reading in the rose garden.
This was the year my life’s work became recognized as being of value to the mainstream, after 20+ years of being an ‘eccentric,’ and more years than I can count hoping I’d still be alive to see it.
But along the way and over the miles travelled, I’ve learned to breathe, and know that everything, everything manages to feel fine in an hour or two, or a month.
A life. A life lived single, mostly. And this year – with many many 70+ hour weeks, plenty of tears and sorrow, joy, friends, lovely clients, romance, dancing, music, exhaustion, innovation, daily workouts, Friday movies – I’ve had another year that was a helluva ride. And I see it continuing for at least another 40 years.
Birthday’s are good things. I want to keep having them. Beatles or not.