Paul McCartney is now 70 years old.
I mean honestly, how is that even possible? There are numbers, and then there are numbers, and some numbers are just way more Real than others, and 70 is one of the latter.
When McCartney’s one remaining comrade-in-Beatles passed the same milestone a couple of years back, he said something in an interview that really resonated for me, and I wrote a little something about it at the time. Given Sir Paul’s birthday (today!), I’m thinking about it all again, so I thought I’d re-up the post, in slightly edited form. I will admit that it touches on issues that appear to have become a theme for me, but that’s what happens with a blog: You find your themes, whether you meant to or not. Anyhoozle.
Happy Birthday, Sir Paul! And many more.
Q. How are you feeling about the number 70?
A. As far as I’m concerned, in my head, I’m 24. That’s just how it is. The number, yeah, it’s high. But I just felt I’ve got to celebrate it. I’m on my feet and I’m doing what I love to do, and I’m in a profession, as a musician, where we can go on for as long as we can go on. I’m not hiding from it, you know.
Q. When you were 24 what did you think you’d be doing at age 70?
A. I don’t know, but when I was 22, actually, I remember this so well, and I was playing, and there was another band, and these people in that other band were 40, and I was saying, “My God, you’re still doing it?” [laughs] Which doesn’t look funny in black and white, but it was incredible, and now I’m waaaaay past 40. My new hero is B. B. King.
Q. What seems like an advanced age to you now?
A. I think 90. But we’ll see. It’s a birthday at a time.
Huh. What age am I in my head? I thought. (And while I’m at it: What age is Sir Paul?)
I’m certainly not 47. I’m not sure what “47 in my head” would feel like, but this is not it. I guess 47 sounds settled, arrived, evolved. I am not settled, nor arrived, nor evolved — and not in the sense that I’m a kid at heart, or that I refuse to grow up, or even that my career is only lately beginning to look vaguely like what I thought it would look like, and that only if I kind of squint with an air of confidence.
No, I just don’t feel essentially different than I have for a very long time. I have been me, this whole time. Things move, I tinker, I am forever messing about — but I’m working on improving the existing program, not replacing the hardware.
No life-altering discoveries, no enormous upheavals, no 12-step programs or major therapy. There was some minor therapy back in the 90s, but that seemed to simply make me more me. I became a mother, yes, that was huge. But contrary to all the fears bandied about out there, one doesn’t become someone new when one becomes a parent. One expands — one doesn’t change.
So when was it that I became this me person? What is the age at which I first felt fully myself?
And I realized: It was when I met my husband. I was 28, I was swimming along quite happily in my life, working a job I liked and was proud of, going out dancing late at night with friends, sleeping with men I only barely knew because I wanted to, and then I met this guy.
And from about two weeks after I met him, I have never been anybody but whoever I am with him. Whatever tweeks and fixes and developments and quiet paddling I’ve accomplished, it’ll all been within the framework of the relationship that has always allowed me to be my best self. My truest self.
In my head, I am 28. And I’ve just written in my journal that I think that Eran and I are going to get married.