I mean nothing disparaging with the title of this post. The title is an allusion to a song written by Paul Simon titled “Old Friends.” That was on the album “Bookends,” released on April 3, 1968. Paul was 27 at the time; I was 28. In that song is this line: “How terribly strange to be 70.”
I can remember when I was ten or so (about 1950) thinking about how old I would be in the strange, far-off, sci-fi year of 2000. I couldn’t picture being 60 years old. So I’m sure that 27-year-old Paul Simon thought it would be strange to be 70. I was 28 and loved the song, so I must have agreed.
Of course, I have a far different perspective now. My seventieth birthday was on March 9, 2010. Never during the 2660 days since then (if I calculated correctly) have I felt strange because of my age. I have felt strange for other reasons, but not because of my age.
Just another picture of a kid on a swing
On the other hand, the thought of my little sister Joanne being 70 is very strange indeed – almost inconceivable. Tomorrow is her 70th birthday. Joanne, I hope it doesn’t feel strange. I hope that you’re excited about all the great, exciting things that you will do during the next decade, and beyond.
I am quite fascinated by the portrayal of older people (particularly women) in movies from the 1930s and 40s. Sixty-year-olds were OLD and often feeble. Seventy-year-olds were ancient and decrepit. That’s not surprising, because life expectancy for American men born in 1940 was 60.8 years; for American women, 65.2. Today they are 20 years more than that. I guess it’s quite valid to say that 70 is the new 50.
So, Joanne, how does it feel to be 50 and retired? Have not just a great birthday, but a great two decades (or more).
(Don’t we live in a great time and a great place?)