RockDoctor: When I’m 65
“Time… I’ve been passing time watching trains go by, all of my life”
“It Might Be You (Theme from Tootsie)” by Stephen Bishop
My 65th birthday is Saturday April 22 and, as I thought about it the other day, that lyric popped into my head. I’ve always been a dreamer… Mrs. Hart, my grade one teacher could’ve told you that. We could see trains from our classroom as they passed and when that happened, she knew my attention would be elsewhere. I loved daydreaming then, and still do.
I fell in love with music as a lad, getting lost in the lyrics and melodies. Same with reading; when I’m into a good book the world around me disappears. That first happened in grade 4 when I picked up The Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein, soon to be followed by the works of Farley Mowatt, Jack London, The Hardy Boys and more. There were Nancy Drew books in the house which I traded with the girl next door. I still love to read and listen to music daily.
As a lad I’d dream of playing drums like Ringo in The Beatles. At age 16 I bought a kit and three months later was in a local band called Zodiac, playing gigs every weekend. We’re planning a reunion in Castlegar in July… play some tunes, have a few beers and trade war stories, no doubt. Somewhere in between Heinlein and The Beatles I fell in love with radio, listening under the covers at night to deejays from faraway places like Vancouver and San Diego, enthralled by their zany personalities and the cool music they played. It was magical, and if somebody had told me then that broadcasting would end up being my career, I would have laughed.
We grow up eventually, and life happens. Dreams get smothered by reality if we don’t nurture and feed them. As I look back, there are many things I would do differently but then I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and I kind of like that guy. It’s a function of growing, learning and changing… isn’t that the point of life? I can appreciate aspects of the people I have been looking back, but to still be the same guy at 65 as I was at 20 would be depressing.
Many dreams have withered as the years have passed, but I’m grateful for the ones still here. I’m married to the girl I fell in love with in 1980, I still love to read, and as a lifelong music junkie I’ve been writing album reviews for 33 years and counting. My broadcasting career came to an abrupt end in 2016 when I was laid off, but internet radio has turned it into a passionate sideline, done just for the fun of it. I write and produce a couple of weekly shows that air on a handful of stations in Canada and the UK that people seem to really enjoy.
As I look back on 65 orbits around the sun, I wish I’d been a better husband and father, made smarter financial decisions and perhaps taken things a little more seriously but hey, nobody’s perfect. A lack of fiscal foresight means I can’t retire anytime soon, but truth be told I never really wanted to. I miss the friends and family that are gone but know that as The Doors said, nobody here gets out alive. I take a warm joy from the dreams that still survive, from the family and friends around me; I suggest that you do the same.
There are times when I feel like taking a knee and running out the clock but don’t we all get that way on occasion? As I look back on my life from this vantage point and consider everything I’ve said and done either personally or career-wise yeah, it might have been better to have done things differently… but Sweet Jesus I had me some fun!
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”
“The End” by The Beatles
Now get off my lawn.