New Year, New Age

The Beatles song, When I’m 64, appeared on the Sgt. Pepper’s album in 1967. Each of the four band members were in their twenties at the time. This year, Paul and Ringo – the two who are still with us – will turn 78 and 80, respectively. They may be losing their hair but, as far as I know, they aren’t filling their days mending fuses and digging weeds, nor are they scrimping and saving so they can rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight.

I was eleven when the album was released, and 64 sounded ancient to me. Now that I’m that age, I’ve discovered that it isn’t so old after all. I’m happy to say that, yes, they still need me and, yes, they still feed me, when I’m 64.

Thank goodness they still feed me: my dear husband makes me this yummy caramelized orange cheesecake every year for my birthday. Isn’t it beautiful?

A few days ago, as I was thinking about my birthday, this poem started to write itself in my head. It’s about how the way we think of ourselves matters, and it is often our choice.

We Get to Choose
I am old
I am young
I see the finish line
I’ve just begun

I’ve seen it all
So much to see
I’ve set my limits
I am free

I’ve lived my life
I haven’t yet
My options are few
Nothing is set

Each is different
Both are true
It’s up to me
Which one I choose

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

116 thoughts on “New Year, New Age”

  1. Big Happy Birthday Hugs, Janis! A great poem. You are right. It is always about choice, even when life throws us curveballs. This orange cheesecake looks delicious. Especially when prepared with love from someone you love. 💕Enjoy!

  2. I like your reflection a lot. Particularly the fact that when we are young, 64 (and other, random, over – 30 ages) seems so old. I am 57 and contemplating retiring, concerned that I will be seen as too young. Aaaaarggg. As you say in your poem – it’s a matter of how we view it, ourselves.

  3. Happy Birthday – have you seen the movie, Yesterday? – the “when I’m 64” line plays prominently in the movie…and I cried at the end. Definitely one to see. 🙂

  4. Janis, you walk the talk, my friend. You get up out of your chair and go to see the world. I cannot remember the source, but we must remain curious all of our lives. That keeps us fresh. All the best. Happy Birthday. Keith

  5. Happy birthday, Janis! The cheesecake looks delicious. I like your poem a lot. Print it, frame it, and put it where you’ll see it every day. Wishing you a fun-filled birthday and wonderful 2020.

  6. Your poem is the kind of poetry I love –
    Deep but simple and direct without too many hidden layers – yet subtle layers for a few different takeaways –
    And I knew you were retired but did not know you were such a young retiree – congrats !
    And that cheesecake does look good – mmm

  7. I was in my early 20s when the Beatles became famous and I still love to listen to their music, which has something enduring and endearing rarely found these days. Happy Birthday and best wishes for 2020!

  8. Happy Birthday and welcome to the club – actually I will be 65 in March and joining another “club” – LOL. That cheesecake looks divine! Love your poem. You are so right, it is up to us to choose.

  9. That cake looks wonderful! I am also a January birthday (those should be outlawed or at least we get a July one too). I’m not complaining though considering the alternative! I like to use the age card when it suits me. Otherwise I don’t think of myself as old. When I was young, old people were really old! We are not.

    1. We are definitely NOT old (unless I can get a discount 🙂 ). I know that you will be having a birthday soon also. I agree that we need a make-up birthday in the summer. I always wanted to have a pool or beach party. Instead, I had to settle for an indoors celebration.

  10. Happy Birthday once again Janis. You’re a poet and you didn’t know it 🙂 Age is a funny thing in that some days we can be feeling like a spring chicken and the next day one feeling more than the allocated number 🙂 Have a fun 2020. PS Love the song.

  11. I remember hearing that song and thinking exactly the same thing—that 64 was ancient. I hadn’t really thought about their current ages. How can Ringo possibly be 80?!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  12. Hey, I want Paul to make me a cheesecake just like that one. If I ask pretty please the next time that I see him, do you think he’d be willing? I love your poem about choices — it fits well with Kathy’s recent Vlog which I just viewed. Wishing you a very happy birthday my friend. Wish that I was there to hug you in person.

  13. What a wonderful poem, Janis. And happy birthday! I think that wonderful Beatles song has made a lot of us laugh along the way as we’ve remembered our youth and how we couldn’t have imagined ourselves at 64. I would imagine Paul and Ring must have had some thoughts along the way as well. 🙂

  14. Happy Birthday Janis, your poem is spot on and that cheesecake looks luscious. Don’t you just love a man who cooks? Your life is a testament to the fact that you will never be defined by a number. Curiosity and knowing we have choices is key to well-being at any stage of life. I will be 65 in May and feel like there is still so much life to look forward to. P.S. I just noticed that I wasn’t receiving your post. I must have inadvertently discontinued the Blog instead of just a comment thread at some point. Anyway, I am back on track and looking forward to what you have planned for 2020!

  15. I remember thinking the same on that ole Beatles’ tune…so much so that over the years it became a fun goal to look forward to…in that I envisioned a 64th b-day filled with crazy celebration against the backdrop of that very song. As you know, my – our – (…hubby trailed me by a few months) 64th was one of the best bashes ever in 2018!
    http://laurabrunolilly.com/sixty-pho-part-two/
    Congrats!!!!
    And your poem will go up on my wall above my writing desk…if I may?
    ps-I hope you saved a virtual slice of that unbelievably luscious looking cheesecake to share with your ‘elder’ bloggerbuddy!!!!!
    🙂

    1. Although we didn’t have a party, my 64th birthday was a good one (and thanks for the link… somehow I missed that post). I’m glad you liked my poem and I love knowing that it’s posted above your writing desk 🙂. I’m not sure that a virtual slice of the cheesecake will be as good as the real thing, but I’m happy to share!

  16. I love your poem, Janis! And it’s so true, how we view ourselves at this time of life (I’m almost 62) is everything. I was just talking with some friends in their 70s last night, and they were saying that it’s hard to wonder just how much time they have left. But a better way to look at it is: what else can I do with the rest of my life?

  17. Your orange cheesecake looks wonderful Janis – what talent your husband has. And, as a person born in the same era, (I will turn 64 in April), suddenly, that age memorialized in the Beatles’ song, doesn’t seem so old after all. It also doesn’t seem so very long ago we did not trust anyone over 30. Happy Birthday to you!

      1. Ah, we were young and couldn’t think that far ahead and 64 did sound ancient back in the day. I heard a funny story on the radio today about millennials; the trend for millennials is to get a pet because they regard a pet as a “starter child” (their expression, not mine). Even the news announcer said “did I read that right?” I think sometimes I have to roll my eyes as to millennials. Good for you two not polishing off the entire cheesecake as delicious as it looked!

  18. Love your poem. ❤️
    And you’ve inspired me to request a baked treat from my hubby for my next birthday. 🍰
    I better let him know now so he can be ready to bake by the end of April!! 😳

  19. Happy Birthday Janis! Your poem really spoke to me. Yes, it is in the mindset. I am so grateful that I have the freedom to choose… what I do, where we live, how I spend my days. Hope your birthday was fabulous and best wishes for a wonderful 2020!

  20. We do get to choose our attitude and attitude is sometimes everything. I am close to your age, Janis. I sometimes need to look to my friends for encouragement to be bold, to have adventures, to be generous. It’s wonderful to have such inspiring long-time friends.

    Your hubby is a keeper! I wonder if he would make me a cheesecake for my birthday! 😉

    1. I agree with you that the friends we choose can have a big influence on our lives. Negativity breeds negativity. A positive attitude, healthy lifestyle, curious spirit are all contagious. We need friends that lift us up, not bring us down. I think that, especially at our age, we no longer have to continue to do things – or be with people – that don’t inspire us. Oh, and be sure to make room for dessert. 🙂

  21. Happy birthday, Janis. I’ll be hitting the magic age of 64 this year too, and I still can’t believe that I’m already in my 60s, with a husband who’s 70, and some friends who are in their 80s! I guess I’ll just have to keep repeating your poem to myself.

    Jude

  22. Dear Janis,

    I remember how that Beatles song played over and over in my head when I turned 64 about two years ago. Like you, in the 1960s as a young teen, I felt 64 was ancient! And then I turned 64 and realized how young it really is! It’s the new 44 😄

    The cheesecake looks fabulous and good for you for pulling out all the gusto that you can!

    Love the poem and I absolutely believe in choices.

    Great post and happy birthday!

    Susan Grace

  23. Happy Birthday Janis. In yoga it is said that our age is determined by the flexibility of the spine, not the years that we have lived. That makes sense. It IS strange to get older and reach ages that we thought of as ancient, and then of course when you get there… well, it doesn’t seem THAT old after all.

    What a spectacular looking cheesecake!! IMpressive.

    Peta

    1. That’s good news since my spine always has been pretty flexible 🙂 I have some pictures of my grandparents from when they were probably not much older than I am now… and they look old! I wonder if they just looked old since that was more the fashion back then, or if they really did feel that way? The people I know who are around my age don’t look anything like that.

  24. Happy (belated) Birthday, Janis! I really enjoyed your poem and I think you should play with that art form a bit more (in public). 🙂

    Yep, that cake looks delicious. I wish I was around to have a bite.

    Two more thoughts: I totally agree with the fact that we have a choice in whatever we do. I’ve always said that life is about choices. Our first sailboat was called Four Choices and when someone tells me how lucky I am with my lifestyle, my answer is always the same: it is a choice, not luck.

    And, secondly, I’m like you when it comes to birthday gifts – get me some good food and a day of doing what I want (no chores and a fun activity) and I’m happy. 🙂

    1. Hi Liesbet! I hope you are enjoying warm weather in Florida! It’s a funny thing about luck and choice. I feel lucky in many ways, but those ways usually have nothing to do with any action I took (where I was born, having supportive, loving parents, having good medical care in the face of a life-threatening illness, etc.). That luck that befell me, though, has given me the opportunity to make a lot of choices throughout my life.

      Thank you for your birthday wishes. Maybe the next time you visit, I can persuade Paul to make us all another cake!

  25. Hi Janis – I’m stopping by via Erika’s blog, and to wish you thanks for stopping by/following my blog. I’m so happy you did so, I’ve added your blog to my growing list of follows too. I love your poem, it’s delightful and insightful. It put a song in my head that carried on with another line related to blogging “Bless the words you choose, as you follow your muse”! Happy New Year (and that birthday cake … yum! … no calories on your birthday right?!)

  26. Happy, happy birthday Janis! Did I miss it or is it still to be! I get your blog announcements on Monday and it seems I’m a bit late to the party. At any rate…I HOPE you are celebrating all month long. I do that AT the very least. 🙂 And may the coming year be wonderful for you in every way. Looking forward to seeing you IRL at least once or twice this year. ~Kathy

  27. Happy belated birthday. I absolutely love your poem – I often feel exactly that way! And that dessert looks quite delicious.

  28. First things first: a marvelously (belated…) happy birthday to you! 🎂 (Where’s a caramelized orange cheesecake emoji when you need one? :))

    I find your post and poem to be profound and thought provoking and an answer to many questions I’ve been having. Is it young or old? Is it the best of times or is it the worst of times? Is it the age of wisdom or foolishness? Or is the answer like you put it so eloquently in the poem that it’s up to us.

    “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Yes, it’s the age of wisdom!

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes! I know that I am currently in the sweet spot of my life: far enough along to be able to retire yet young and healthy enough to enjoy life completely. I feel sorry for people who see their post-work years as the end of something. I will do whatever I can to maintain my mental and physical health for as long as possible… there is so much to experience!

      1. You had me at jubilation 🤩 Probably one of the best things we can for our mental and physical health is to start our jubilation. I certainly feel better, even jubilant. I don’t feel I’m at the end of something, or even at the end of the beginning, but at the beginning of a wonderful world of possibilities. And I, too, am saddened that so many people are anchored by their jobs alone and have those define their identity.

  29. Janis, well said. I think we choose how our day, week, month, trip, etc. will be. Curiosity killed the cat, they say, but curiosity is what keeps us alive and exploring. You are an exemplar of this, our curious one. Keith

  30. First of all, happy birthday Janis! I absolutely love this poem. It is a perfect description of how I feel, as I approach 60 and am thinking about retirement. Isn’t it funny how your perspective changes things? I definitely thought 60s were ancient when I was in my 20s. I bet the remaining Beatles laugh at that lyric now!

  31. Your poem really resonates with me, in many facets of my life. “I have a choice’ has been my guiding mantra for the past seven years, but with a sole focus on facing challenges on my sailing circumnavigation. With that chapter now finished, (you know) I’ve been feeling a bit lost. But I’ve found a bit more clarity in your words today and I am going to reference your poem as I navigate through my next act.

    Crazy to think of Paul and Ringo turning 78 and 80 or even more so to think of you being 64. Honestly, you look 10 years younger. I, on the other hand, am often confused for being far older than I am. I like to think that I have the ‘face of a life well-lived’.

    Happy (seriously) Belated Birthday from Tula. Hoping to see your smiling face in person before you reach 65.

    1. You will have so many choices to make over the next few months – I imagine that’s sort of scary, and sort of exciting. I do know for sure, though, that your choices – whatever they are – will be made with optimism and a sense of adventure. Enjoy Mexico! I’m looking forward to meeting IRL one of these days!

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