Then I’m Sixtyfour

Many years ago, today was many years from now. “When I’m six­ty­four” was released on the Sgt Pep­per’s album on June 1st, 1967 two weeks before I tur­ned 12, and a few weeks before Paul McCart­ney tur­ned 25. 25 is pro­bab­ly around the age when we rea­li­se that we will not live fore­ver, and will not stay fore­ver young. Crow­ning a fan­ta­sitc care­er with somet­hing like Sgt Pep­pers, before turing 25, is real­ly an achiev­ment. Sgt Pep­pers was very much Paul McCart­ney­’s album.

At 12 years, I was pro­bab­ly living in the youth bubb­le with a sen­se of immor­ta­li­ty. We would live fore­ver, and be fore­ver young. Get­ting old was for the old folks, not for us.

But those who are fore­ver young, at least in our mem­ories, are those who never grew old, like the meme­bers of the “Club 27”, peop­le like Rbert John­son, Jimi Hend­rix, Janis Jop­lin, Jim Mor­ri­son, Curt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.

It is bet­ter to get old than to die young. But as time goes by, we have to chan­ge music. We have to go to Char­lie Par­ker: Now is the time.

Now is the time. I am tur­ning 64. The hair is get­ting thin­ner, but I still have not lost it. It is a bit gray­er than it used to be, but not too gray. And I have not put the hair I still have into a tight pony tail. When I see old men with this, it always have me think of a kind of “do it yours­elf face lift”.

I am get­ting along well, and have accep­ted the age. But I still do not iden­ti­fy with my pic­tu­re of a per­son who is 64 years old.

I like to play with num­bers and num­be­ring sys­tems. 64 is a good num­ber to play with. If we use base 8, 64 will be 100. The squa­re of the root will be writ­ten 100. It is more fun to cele­brate 100 years than 64. If we go to base 4, it will be 1.000. It is even more fun if we go to base 2, or the bina­ry sys­tem. Then 64 will be 1 000 000. That’s somet­hing: 1 000 000 years! It is not wit­hout rea­son that we so fre­quent­ly see the num­ber 64 in rela­tion to com­pu­ters, that work with a bina­ry system.

Some­ti­mes peop­le ask, and some­ti­mes I ask myself if I would have liked to be young again. And to be honest, my answer is “not real­ly”.  Being young is a dif­fi­cult time . We are insecu­re and we lack con­fi­den­ce. Young peop­le are eager to please. Who they want to please, can vary. It can be their parents, the teachers or the group we want to be accep­ted by and become a part of. Which some­ti­mes will mean pleas­ing neit­her the parents nor the teachers.

We dressed like our group, and lis­te­ned to the music accep­ted by the group, and dis­li­ked the music that is not accep­ted. In the group I belonged to, we did not like coun­try music. It was not a ques­tion of liking the music or not. It was not accep­ted to like coun­try music.

As I grew older I star­ted to trust my own jud­ge­ment and did no lon­ger care too much about the other’s opi­nion, and what was  accep­ted by a group. When I was young, I was always asking both myself and others for a rea­son to do or not to do what we did and did not do. As I got older, I did no lon­ger care. If I want to do it, and the­re are no strong rea­sons for not doing it, its fine. Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”, with the line “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m youn­ger than that now”, beca­me one of my favourites.

I some­ti­mes think that being young with the expe­ri­en­ce I have now could be qui­te inter­e­s­ting. But this is not an option. To start over again as an unex­pe­ri­en­ced youth, is not very tempting.

It has been said that a sign of get­ting old is that you start to regret the sins you did not do. We have all done our mis­ta­kes. Usu­al­ly we can live with them. It is when you have done mis­ta­kes that are so serious that they have destroy­ed your own or other peop­le’s lives, we real­ly regret them. Usu­al­ly we can stick to the say­ing that expe­ri­en­ce is the name peop­le attri­bute to their mistakes.

Usu­al­ly, if we regret somet­hing from our past, it is not what we did, but what we did not do. I had this chan­ce then, but did not take it. Now it is too late. If the­re is one advice I could give to young peop­le, it is: Use your head, and don’t be stu­pid. But do not be afraid  to grab the opport­u­nities when they are the­re, and do not be too afraid to take some chan­ces and run some risks. If  it turns out not to be a good idea, you may have used a litt­le time of your life, and you have learned somet­hing you can add to your expe­ri­en­ce. If you don’t do, you may come back to the situa­tion and think: What would have hap­pe­ned if …, and would it be a success?

To live is a risky busi­ness, with a 100% mor­ta­li­ty rate. It is not a ques­tion if, but when we will die. If we want to have a life when we are stay­ing ali­ve, we have to take some risks. And accept that we will do some mistakes.

I know I have more years behind me than before me. The­re are still places I want to visit, music I will lis­ten to, tours I want to cycle, books I want to read and others I want to wri­te and many other things I want to do in the years to come. I know that I will not live fore­ver. Some say we should live as eve­ry day is our last day, which means not thin­king about con­se­quen­ces and tomor­row. I pre­fer to live as if eve­ry day is the first day of the rest of my life, and that I have a still fai­r­ly long life ahead. I have more pro­sjects than I can com­p­le­te before I reti­re. I will con­ti­nue to plan and start new pro­jects as long as I am able to work on them, pro­bab­ly a bit longer.

But I have also learned that life is fra­gi­le, both from my own expe­ri­en­ce, and from what has hap­pe­ned to peop­le around me. We do not know what we will meet around the next cor­ner, or if we will ever get around this corner.