Dealing With Middle Age
A Dose of Reality
“Doing the garden,
digging the weeds,
who could ask for more?
Will you still need me,
will you still feed me,
when I'm sixty-four?”
I first heard that song while attending college in 1967; as a huge Beatle’s fan, I instantly went out and bought the album“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and then spent countless hours listening to the genius of the Fab Four.
I have clear memories of listening to this love ballad by Lennon and McCarthy and thinking what a cute song about two little old people, hobbling off into the sunset, supporting each other so they don’t fall. I also remember thinking, and this is the whole point of this article, that when I’m sixty-four I hope someone shoots me and puts me out of my misery.
Well, today I am sixty-four, and I certainly hope nobody takes me up on that offer. I will be watching in all directions for anyone approaching with a loaded gun.
Back in 1967, when this song was recorded, I was eighteen years old and feeling like life was my personal oyster and I was the main shucker! I also felt, that when I reached that ancient age of sixty-four, life would be incredibly difficult and not worth living.
Well my goodness, just how wrong can one young man be?
A Look Back
In my defense, I only had personal experiences to base my thoughts upon. Most of my extended family had died by that time. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, all gone by their early seventies, and my mom and dad, both in their late forties by 1967, were slowing down and showing every one of their years on this planet.
Little did I know that within two years of this song’s release, my dad would die of a heart attack three days before his fiftieth birthday, further cementing my belief that life was very difficult for anyone approaching that ripe, old age.
Maybe that partially explains why I lived my earlier life as though my hair were on fire. Risk-taking for me was a way of life in my twenties. I began climbing mountains within five years of hearing this song; I bought fast cars and pushed them to the limit. I took chances that should never have been taken, and I embraced the thrills and chills, wringing every ounce of life possible from those precious moments. It was as though I sensed I needed to get my money’s worth out of life while I was still able, because the clock was ticking and there certainly were no guarantees.
I Am One of the Lucky Ones
Despite my best efforts to burn out at an early age, I somehow survived. I survived the hard drinking! I survived the risk-taking, never breaking a bone or spending time in a hospital. I survived Bill being Bill, perhaps my greatest accomplishment.
I survived, and matured, and then……
It's All About Perspective
- Living Simple: This Is What Life Is All About
The author talks about savoring the special moments in our life. Don't waste a minute of this precious gift that we have been given.
A Funny Thing Happened
I woke up one morning and realized that life does not become a burden as you grow older; rather, you gain a finer appreciation for all that is around you.
I found that I loved life. I found that I loved others. I found that I love myself, and in finding those things I realized how much I wanted to live.
So here I am today, sixty-four years of age, and feeling in somewhat of a reflective mood. Will you join me as I tell you what is on my mind?
Reflections on Life
Are you enjoying life?
- Enjoy Life While You Still Can!
It is all there for the taking, awaiting our participation. What are you going to do with the time you have remaining on this Earth?
I learned that I am not the director of life, and that life does not need my approval. In other words, I learned to accept people and things around me. Once I gave up control, or the illusion of control, my life became incredibly pleasurable.
I learned that beauty is all around me, waiting only for me to notice it. The touch of a lover, the scent of newly-mowed grass, the sight of a young child playing, all are reasons for celebration. The funny thing about it is that I had to become receptive to the beauty that surrounded me before I could truly appreciate it.
I learned that nothing takes my mind off of my problems faster than reaching out and helping others. Being willing to aid someone is the gift that keeps on giving, and as I go about helping another human being I tend to forget about my problems. How does that happen? I don’t know, but I know for a fact that it does.
I learned that the differences between us all are so very small, but the commonalities are great, and if I am willing to concentrate on those things we all have in common, it becomes quite easy to love others.
I learned that my greatest gifts are compassion and empathy. We humans need other humans. We need to know that we are seen. We need to know that we are heard. We need to know that there is at least one damn person who cares whether we live or die. I have the ability to do that for someone today, and for the rest of my days.
I learned that the more I fight life the more I lose. I am not an essential part of existence; life will go on without my participation. However, and here is the miracle….I can become a contributing partner with life. By opening my heart and mind, and embracing life, I can add to the wonder that is all around us. I can contribute, and my contribution may be enough to bring happiness to another person, or in some small way make life better for others. I believe, today, that we can all make a difference AND it is our responsibility to do so.
I learned that the mistakes and tragedies of the past do not define me as a person. They serve, instead, as an ongoing educational process by which I can learn and grow.
I have learned that the only restrictions that can stop me are the ones I have put on myself. I can look back and see this to be true, and I can now go forward knowing that the sky is the limit for this once earthbound traveler.
I learned that if my thoughts and words are positive then my actions will be positive (PIPO), and I learned that a thing called kismet actually works. What goes around comes around, and the best way to insure happiness is to lead a happy life.
Finally, I learned that love is the most important thing in life. Everything else is window-dressing! All of the pain I have endured, all of the heartache, all of the mistakes, all of the excess and deprivation, all have brought me to the realization that true happiness can only be found in a state of love.
Sing Along With The Boys
Now I’m Sixty-four
And I have never been happier! I have been blessed with good health, and my body has responded in wondrous ways. I am not stooped over and infirmed. I am still quite active and enjoying life. Yes, it may be a bit more of a challenge to loosen up these old joints, but they still respond to the whip and move around the racetrack at a steady pace.
I am surrounded by loved ones and friends who constantly give me encouragement, support, and love, and in so doing make me the richest man alive.
I have a son any man would be proud of; I have a loving partner in Bev who is everything I ever hoped for; and I have a new career that challenges me and keeps me motivated and excited.
I have been a teacher, a son, a father, an uncle, a husband, and the recipient of more love than one person could ever hope for, and today I spread my arms, look to the heavens, and say…..
I AM SIXTY-FOUR AND I LOVE MY LIFE….and….
I LOVE ALL OF YOU!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)