“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now… Will you still need me, will you still feed me? When I’m sixty-four.”
Perhaps you recognize this little ditty? “When I’m Sixty-Four”, a song by the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney), was released in 1967 on the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
I thought mentioning these lyrics was appropriate, seeing as how I turned the big 6-0 on Monday. Besides that, this was one of the many pop songs we sang in high school chorus. Sixty-four?! That number seemed like an eternity away when you were in your teens. Now, in just four more years, I WILL be sixty-four!
Certainly, there are things we all lament about aging. We can’t see or hear as well as we used to. The aches and pains we easily shrugged off as youth now take a lot longer to get over. I get a twinge in my left shoulder when I put on a coat or jacket – this never happened 20 years ago! Those examples are just for starters. Like most of you, I could go on and on about the not-so-fun aspects of getting older!
But when it comes to aging, why do we tend to only dwell on the negative? There are plenty of positives, too! Think back to some of the stupid, impulsive things you did in your teens or 20s. What about those? Would you be even as remotely likely to do the same, dumb thing today? I doubt it.
It’s like the insurance commercial goes… “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”
It’s like the insurance commercial goes… “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” It’s not so much that we’re that much smarter now, it’s just that we have learned from experience what to do – or what not to do – in any number of situations.
I attended a reunion last fall of my alma mater’s journalism department, and I observed, and listened to, current J-school students pose questions to a keynote speaker, which seemed like old hat to me. But not to someone still in college! It was all new to them! Remember?!
Listening to, and conversing with young people made me realize the multitude of things I know about my field that I just take for granted. I simply have years of experience to fall back on when a given problem arises. A number of students were happy to learn what I had to share. As I say, I’ve gone through a lot of experiences that someone in their 20s hasn’t. Talk about a person feeling better, and not just older!
Now, one needs to be humble, and recognize there are ALWAYS new things to learn! Rather, as someone in their 40s, 50s, or even 6-0, it’s important to also realize that you have simply taken a LOT more steps down the road of life than a young person.
The moral of the story: Don’t just lament getting older. One, you can’t do anything about it anyway. Second, bear in mind all of the life lessons you know NOW, that you had no clue about decades ago.