When I’m 64

When I’m 64

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

Traveling is about seeing, learning and growing.  While much of LivingIF is focused on the places we visit, the most important lessons we learn are from the people we meet along the way.  We often travel with people for days, weeks and months at a time.  After the photos and memories may fade, the lessons we learn from fellow travelers never will.

Of all the people we have met, two couples we spent time with in Myanmar stand out.  Whether or not they know the words to “When I’m Sixty-Four,” they know their answer to the question.  Here’s what we learned from them.

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?

LOCAVORista regularly says, “you don’t stop playing because you get older, you get older because you stop playing.”  Both Rod and Jill (New Zealand), along with Linz and Jen (Australia) are living proof of this, while each duo has accomplished much in life, they haven’t lost their sense of humor or willingness to have a mid-afternoon beer.

When the “transportation” to Mt. Popa arrived we were certain that Rod and Jill would choose not to join us.  Without hesitation or question they jumped in the truck.

We spent several days discussing life and marriage with each couple.  As relative newbies to the marriage circuit ourselves, we want to learn about the marriages that make it to when they’re 64…and those that don’t.  Their experiences mirrored that of our parents, both still-married couples of the same demographic, that success in marriage is based on flexibility on everyone’s part.  It is about loving the person for who they are, rolling with the punches and laughing through life.  These couples that continue to play together, have stayed together.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
You’ll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

Jen giving the hotel manager’s daughter “Mamai” a makeover.

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.

Over the course of learning about them we found out that, like many of the couples we love, their lives have not been “ordinary”.  From being a Navy officer to a restaurant owner, they are living the “American” dream without spending their lives climbing corporate ladders.  There are many paths to success and each followed their interests to provide the lives they desired…demonstrating to us that taking this trip isn’t derailing our futures, rather the future is ours to create.

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?

Rod, my father-in-law from another mother, likes to share his knowledge.  There is a lot of knowledge to share, like the geological history of Mt. Popa which we learned more than any tour guide could have taught us.

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.

Making it to 64 together is worthy of a lifetime achievement award in and of itself, but the joy that they exuded, after all these years, was inspirational.  They wore childlike grins while showing photos of their grandchildren.  They could laugh at themselves and each other in ways that only feeling comfortable in one’s self, each other, and the relationship allows.  They are the best of friends as much as a couple.  They are each other’s favorite travel companion.  They demonstrated that a successful marriage is a partnership, friendship and business relationship all-in-one.  While all couples entering into marriage believe they have what it takes to answer this song, it seems clear that these two pairs knew all along that there may be doubts or disputes, but the marriages that make it never forget what’s most important.

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?

Rod, Jill, Linz and Jen, got their answer to the song, back in the days when they were establishing their marriage; similar to the way LOCAVORista and I are doing now.  It may not necessarily have been easy in the beginning but with the right outlook and attitude their was no question that they would make it.  Arguably the most important thing that we learned was that there are no shortcuts, there is no “we’re different, so the rules don’t apply,” these marriages that made it to 64 are built by working everyday.  We will take the life lessons we learned from them far beyond Myanmar, hopefully until when we’re sixty-four.

Whoo!

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Comments

» Donna :
Jun 14, 2011

Amen!

Donna

» Kate C :
Jun 14, 2011

Agreed! I met a 60-something couple from here in WA while taking the slow boat to Laos. The slow boat. You both know how crowded and uncomfortable the slow boat can be, but there they were, playing cards with us and smiling all the way. They were great and everyone loved them. I knew right there that they were who I want to be when I get there.

LOCAVORista Reply:

Kate, that’s an awesome example of the incredible people you meet on the road. We have been so inspired by so many of the travelers, but the couples that are where I want to be at 64 are always some of my favorites.

» Jill & Rod :
Jun 18, 2011

You’ve got us blushing all over with your kind words and fortunately you didn’t get a shot of me spitting on the young girls rocks (to show the colour and texture!)

LOCAVORista Reply:

Jill and Rod, glad that you enjoyed the blog post you inspired. We really enjoyed spending time with you both and can’t wait to see you on your home turf

» bka :
Jun 21, 2011

oh my, again……first, it is delightful you know the song and even better that you can already apply many of the words to your lives…..your not only gaining wisdom, but followers as well……it is always refreshing to hear that you gen-Xer’s aren’t all ready to throw us out to pasture……just got word our tent has been repaired, so us almost 64 er’s are ready for 30 days in the Canadian Rockies….have got 5 more work days to go…..yippee!!!!……be safe…..love you dad

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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