Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Christopher Jackson
Features Writer
2:43 AM 23rd October 2015

When I'm 64?

Having past the unmemorable milestone of 63 last week, I found myself humming that old Beatles' song, 'When I'm 64'

Hell! will you still feed me, will you still need me etc!
Life certainly does seem evermore clichéd as you get older - I find myself repeating all the old favourites like 'I don't feel any older inside' or trotting out 'you're as young as you feel'. But the favourite one has to be 'where has all the time gone?' Where indeed!

Speaking for me it's all been lost in a fog of Bipolar angst, cries of unfair, and about 30 years of family life completely ripped away. No family left, a daughter not inviting me to her wedding, no career, and finally no money. And yet?

And yet, save the odd Bipolaresque dip, I have never been more content. The whole debacle forced me to re-calibrate what was important in my life: I'd followed the time honoured route of get the degree, then marry, then chase the career, have the family, and then spend 30 years climbing the evermore greasy pole, to get the bigger house, the upscale motors and so on, all in the pursuit of what I thought constituted happiness. Hah! It doesn't, and it didn't.

I overheard a comment a week or so ago which struck a chord. The guy said 'when a baby is born its first thought is not where's the f****** money! Its where's my grub and give us a cuddle' Crude, but apposite was it not? A guttersnipe from what I could see and hear, but within that crass personality there lay a veritable pearl of wisdom.

It reminded me of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, paraphrased by me, which states, food and water first, then shelter, then love, then self respect, and finally self esteem, It seems to me that too many of us see self respect and the desired self actualisation (be all you can be ) as associated loosely, or fully, with money, and the obvious evidence that one has it: yet applying logic suggests this is nonsense. Having worked overseas for many years, you become acutely aware of the World's so called 'have not's'. And are the majority miserable? - of course not.

I'm not a hypocrite here, making out that money has not had charm in my life, but it's not the be all and end all. I mean - how much is enough? If that's the arbiter, then how can you ever be satisfied? There is always someone better off than you.

So at the grand age of 63 - an age where all pretensions at being middle aged still are stripped away - I don't need feeding but ....... maybe I do want needing. I reckon Maslow should have stopped at love. If you are fed, sheltered and loved, then you have most of what any of us really needs.

Maybe the Beatles' lyrics were more prescient than we thought.

As for the Long and Winding Road? - let's not go there!