Imbolc Waxing Bridgit Moon
Iconic birthdays. Sweet sixteen. 18-old enough to die. 21–when I was young, this was THE iconic birthday. Ok to drink. Woops. A few years later I was an alcoholic. Then for my generation there was 30. We didn’t trust anybody over 30. Uh-oh. That came and went. Then, 40. 40 was a big one because it was the time you might buy a red sports car, hunt for that trophy wife and make strange vocational decisions. Close. I met Kate, my wife who has been a wonder and a major Valentine ever since we got serious. I made a strange vocational decision. Got out of the ministry and in to writing. Yes, there was, too, that little red sports car. Bought it in 1994. OK, I was 47, but hey. Still driving it. There was another major birthday for me, 46. My mother died at age 46. To pass your own mother’s age is a strange sensation, I imagine, at any age, but at 46, it seemed more than strange. Sad. Painful. Happy to be alive.
After those, 50 was not a big deal. 60 was 60. I mean it’s a big deal in a way, but still, the only thing I felt was that I had passed into the new late middle age.
But. 64. Now that’s a biggy. Wouldn’t have been I suppose if not for that Beatle’s song. It managed to set a date for a change in attitude, a time when our life and love might change, might change so much that we would ask if we were still necessary to the people we love. That’s too grim a statement for the light-hearted tenor of the song, but I think it did capture a fear resident in many a then 20+ years old heart at the time it came out: what can life be like when we’re old?
Those of us in the baby boom generation had created an entire culture around youth, rebellion, drugs and rock and roll. Sgt. Pepper came out in June of 1967. The summer of love. Wearing flowers and heading for San Francisco. How could acid-dropping, hard rock lovin’, anti-war, free love folks like us ever grow old. When I’m 64 was like a time that would never come.
Of course, no generation, at least none so far, gets to re-write the rules of aging. We passed through our 20s, then our 30s, then 0ur 40s and 50s and have now begun to crest upon the shore of social security and medicare. We have started to hit our mid-60’s. As iconic ages go, of course, the big one for years was 65. The finish line. Throw away the work clothes, grab the gold watch and go golfing, then fishing, then drop dead. Not now.
We hit 64 and we’ve just begun to pick up speed. It’s not an age; it’s a speed limit.
Suddenly we’re here, many of us, and we realize that the song was written by youngsters. It expressed their and our fear of moving on beyond the wonder of the sixties. What would it be like? What could it be like?
I’m happy to report that it’s just fine. Just as I told Kate, yes I still need you and yes I’ll still feed you; she tells me the same. We have come a long ways from the days of the summer of love and the march on Washington. Those were great days, so are these. I’m happy to be 64.