Sunday, July 10, 2016

When I’m 64!

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

Anyone under the age of 50 probably won’t recognize the title of this blog. The Beatles (who most people have at least heard of) recorded the hit, “When I’m 64”, at the end of 1966, 50 years ago. It became one of the lead songs on the four time Grammy award-winning album, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. 32,000,000 copies were sold, more than any other Beatles record.
As of today, July 10, 2016, I can no longer sing this song in anticipation. I remember first hearing it when I was 14 years old, a mid-teen country boy consumed with dreams about the adventures and exciting opportunities that would fill my next 50 years. The age of 64 seemed like an eternity away. But here it is, my 64th birthday has arrived much faster than I thought it would.

The lyrics of the song are somewhat of an enigma, especially when you discover that Paul McCartney had written the lyrics at the ripe old age of 16. Sung from the perspective of a teenager wondering what it would be like at the age of 64, the song is a series of questions posed to his prospective lifelong partner. See the lyrics below. The song expresses personal insecurities and asks questions that remain relevant even after 50 years. Will we still celebrate life when it’s not quite as romantic as it once was? Will we consider the needs of each other? How will we spend our time together? Will we continue to live meaningful lives? Will we have enough money? Will we have family to enjoy? Will we be secure in the commitment we have made to each other?

When I get older
Losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

If I'd been out
Till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

I could be handy
Mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
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?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Give me your answer
Fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

For my part, it has been an extraordinary 64 years. Far from shallow, boring or tedious. Renae and I, both 64, have had, and continue to have, phenomenal adventures and meaningful opportunities far beyond our teenage dreams. But alongside the fullness and blessings of the past 64 years there have also been times of great pain, loss and struggle. I’m sure that when the Beatles first performed this song they did not anticipate that two out of the four (John Lennon and George Harrison) would not make it to the age of 64. Paul McCartney would not have likely guessed that he would be married three times.

The final three lines of the song’s chorus continue to strike a chord of insecurity. Even at the age of 64, and perhaps even more so, I sometimes wonder whether I am needed. Given the reality of Parkinson’s, a degenerative, currently incurable, and quite likely debilitating disease, I may well need to rely on others to feed me. Yet, despite any insecurities, there is a great deal of living to do at the age of 64. Aging presents us with a remarkable opportunity. It gives us a chance to be thankful for so much, which attitude in turn helps us to be positive, from which follows a willingness and desire to care for others. At 64 we have some questions to answer. But they need not be the ones asked in this song. Rather, we can ask ourselves; how can we help others? How can we encourage and value members of our family, our friends, or simply those we encounter from day-to-day? And for those of you who can still sing the song with anticipation, you don’t need to wait until you are 64 to ask yourself these questions?


  1. Well said Bobby! Life throws us curve balls now and then but it's what we do with the ball that matters! May your life continue to be blessed with love, good friends and family for many happy years to come.

  2. As long as the Lord keeps us on this Earth, He has a use for us! :D Such a great thing to know, even if it isn't always fun or easy, He has useful things for us to do. You, my friend, are teaching all of us.

  3. I SO enjoyed the first post I found of yours! Excellent writing and uplifting message. I was looking for a personal blog, not from a foundation. My dad had PD and now both I and my cousin from the same side of family have been diagnosed in our 50's. After supporting each other, we decided our personal sharing might help others. So we recently started a blog Could we share your post on our blog with proper credits or reference it and add a link? Thank you SO much for your post. I will be checking out more tomorrow.

  4. By all means. Whatever you find encouraging I am happy for you to pass along. I have done likewise in my posting of your note above. Bob