5th December 2020 – When I’m Sixty Four!

Presqu’ile Daisy

Dear Cam:

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

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?”*

This little ditty is the current soundtrack of my life. When I’m Sixty Four is a quirky and oh-so-sweet Beatles’ song from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Quirky? How many rock/pop songs feature 3 clarinets – a bass and two B♭? Love! How many rock/pop songs were written to honour a father?

I love that Sir Paul wrote this music when he was only fifteen (prodigy!) and that nine years later he wrote the lyrics and sang it for his dad on his 64th birthday – a loving and sweet gesture. Polished, apparently, with John Lennon, it was the first song recorded for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album.

Another sweet anecdote – Paul’s own kiddos recorded their version of When I’m Sixty-Four – at Abbey Road Studios, even – as a surprise for Paul’s own 64th birthday (2006), and played it for him at his birthday party.

Well, well, well. Another birthday. Number sixty-four, to be precise. A sparkly new year and a fresh start – if I want one. I am trying very hard to enter my sixty-fifth year with my heart wide open.

Lagoon at Presqu’ile, looking out towards Presqu’ile Bay.

Last week I was sitting by the lagoon at Presqu’ile, reminiscing about life since my last birthday – a schmaltzy trip down memory lane that I seem to be taking every year, now. Birthdays provide a unique frame of reference to compare the previous and current years, and for imagining all that is possible moving forward.

Unlike all those lofty and ambitious New Year’s resolutions that are largely prompted by regrets and unfulfilled goals, birthdays allow us to dispassionately pause to remember and scrutinize the past year.  They are our chance to bid farewell to any mistakes or missteps and celebrate all the sweet happies so, today – Goodbye 63, please understand that I shan’t miss you a bit! – 2020 was not a year I’d choose to prolong or repeat.

So, an annual stock-taking then…

First and foremost, it never escapes my notice that I’m blessed to be celebrating another birthday – we’ve far too many loved ones and friends who are no longer enjoying the same privilege.

The indubitably positive aspect of this year of isolation was my time alone in nature and the personal and photographic growth it spawned.

Lagoon at Presqu’ile, looking out towards Presqu’ile Bay.

Relaxing by my beloved lagoon, I found myself thinking about the dear friends we’ve been unable to see for the past ten months, some even longer. I miss all those sweet souls and those social events terribly; their absence in our lives is a painful void. In that moment I felt an overwhelming sadness that not even the pleasures of Presqu’ile could allay.

This was also a year without travel; we were unable to make our semi-annual road trips through the Finger Lakes region of New York State – a firm-favourite destination for us Perraults.  The Finger Lakes have always been a source of artistic inspiration for me, a place where I’m able to shoot thousands of photographs (no exaggeration, promise) of waterfalls and amazing land and lake scapes. It is the paradise where we are always able to relax, enjoy the great outdoors, eat some scrumptious food, do a little shopping, and return rested and reinvigorated. Not this year. 

Yet even in this year that is unlike any other, life marches on, impelling me into the autumn (late autumn?) of my life.

My steps seem to be growing a little slower, my joints have begun to ache (especially my fingers!), my memory isn’t as reliable as I’d like and forget about flexibility! The grey hairs are winning decisively and yes, as Sir Paul wrote, When I get older losing my hair – my hair is definitely thinning.  Yikesabee!

Sometimes I look in the mirror expecting to see the forty year-old me. She’s who I remember. She’s who I identify with.  She’s who I feel like in my mind.  I know she’s still the biggest part of me.

It has taken a few years, but I’m (very slowly!) accepting the aging process.  I’ve learned to welcome and savour the lessons of each year, each decade, appreciating how they’ve enriched my life.

Birthdays are beginnings. Beginnings get me excited – with both worry and happy anticipation – usually in equal measure. Birthdays signal the start of a brand-new year bringing unlimited possibilities.

If the aging process has taught me anything, it is the understanding that how I spend all the next days, weeks, months and years of my life will always be much more important than how I used the time I’ve already lived. I now realize that everything good and happy and positive and meaningful depends upon having an open heart.  As I enter my 65th year, I’m doing my level best to keep my heart wide open.

So, Cam, what do you say…

“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?”

‘Til Next time, y’all…

*Paul McCartney
Have a listen:  Beatles “When I’m Sixty Four” 

Indian River Daisies

When I’m Sixty-Four

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?

You’ll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

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.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away.

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?

Songwriter: Paul McCartney
Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

4 thoughts on “5th December 2020 – When I’m Sixty Four!

  1. Kerry Clare says:

    I love this. Happy Birthday, Pam! Iris would want me to inform you that your birthday is on her half-birthday (and so is hers on yours). xo

    • PamelaPerraultPhotography says:

      💕Please tell Ms. Iris that if she’ll please celebrate my birthday this month (and I KNOW there is no cake shortage in your home!!!) that I will promise to celebrate hers, come June, and with gusto!!! 🙂 Love to you all. xoxox

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