When I’m Sixty-Four

Robin Goldsby, in her dressing room at Buckingham Palace in 2017. Photo by Julia Goldsby.

Another song lyric comes true. I shouldn’t be surprised that sixty-four sneaked up on me, but since I’ve spent most of the last three decades assuming I’m still thirty-two, the idea that I’m a year away from taking my musician union pension seems a little extreme. In honor of this milestone, I’ve composed a list of sixty-four discoveries I’ve made in the last year.

  1. Inanimate objects (such as plastic wrap, coat hangers and electrical cables) are capable of attack. 
  2. There are more idiots in the world than one would hope.
  3. There are more kind people in the world than one would expect.
  4. Your breasts get bigger as you age, but so does everything else.
  5. Underwear costs more than shoes.
  6. Lingerie salespeople will try to convince you to buy a smaller size bra for “comfort and support.” Don’t listen to them or you will end up with underwire-induced rib fractures, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting on a piano bench. 
  7. Spanx (the 21st Century girdle) make you feel (and look) like a human sausage. 
  8. A good marriage depends on trust, but relies heavily on laughter.
  9. Nothing beats tomato soup and grilled cheese (even if it’s vegan).
  10. Jackie O had it right. Big black sunglasses are the ultimate fashion accessory.
  11. Reciting the details of a complicated Will Smith movie plot will put your partner into a stupor.
  12. Restful sleep determines your ability to get through the day without slapping anyone (including Will Smith or yourself).
  13. It’s possible to fall going up the stairs.
  14. Nothing hurts quite as much as broken toe. 
  15. No one looks good when their feet hurt.
  16. Hunger and bloat are flipsides of the same coin.
  17. Your kids will either leave home at age eighteen or live in your basement until they’re forty. Either way, you’ll be worried.
  18. No one looks good in beaded fringe. Except maybe Tina Turner or the drag queen Kim Chi, but you’re not them.
  19. You probably don’t need two cars. You might not even need one.
  20. Autumn leaves might be pretty, but they can also make you sad.
  21. Autumn leaves, once they drift by your window and land on your front steps, are slippery (see #13).
  22. The ocean never loses its appeal, even if you suffer from fear of fish.
  23. Your own kids are now older than you are (in your head).
  24. Your doctors all look like they’re fifteen.
  25. Some of your kids’ friends are now doctors and lawyers, which is disconcerting because you remember their muddy hands and chocolate-smeared faces.
  26. You really miss those chocolate-smeared faces.
  27. Your children work in fields that didn’t exist when you were their age.
  28. One activity a day is plenty. Dinner at home does not count as an activity, unless you have guests.
  29. Embrace positive change, even if it means rethinking your pronouns.
  30. You can never have too many pairs of stretchy black pants.
  31. Fruit flies were sent to this earth by the devil herself.
  32. If you think you see a big mouse, it is likely a rat.
  33. Women leaders are better for the world.
  34. As much as you might hope it to be so, The Squid Games is not the heartwarming Netflix sequel to My Octopus Teacher.
  35. Privilege breeds arrogance; arrogance leads to indifference; indifference destroys the planet.
  36. A compassionate person always wins, even when she loses.
  37. If you must get dressed up, wear pajamas with bling. 
  38. No one looks good in plaid, except maybe a very buff logger and you’re not good with a chainsaw. Yet.
  39. Pick one vetted charity organization and support it any way you can. If you don’t have cash, donate time and create awareness.
  40. Be nice to restaurant service people. Tip well. You want these people on your side. `
  41. Visit your friends whenever you can. They (or you) might not be around forever. 
  42. Fruit flies will be around forever.
  43. Turn off the TV or the computer. Read a book, even a trashy one.
  44. Magnesium and Vitamin D supplements solve all kinds of problems.
  45. Go for a walk, even if it’s raining and you forgot your umbrella.
  46. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
  47. Maintain an anti-clutter policy on your kitchen counter.
  48. Have your piano tuned.
  49. Black patent oxfords look hip with just about any outfit.
  50. Tell people you love how much you love them. Often.
  51. Buy local. 
  52. Go to a concert.
  53. Support your local non-chain restaurant.
  54. Always avoid the Balkan platter, unless it’s the specialty of your local restaurant.
  55. If you’re freaked out by the climate crisis, stop buying factory-farmed animal products and anything packaged in plastic (see #1). 
  56. Ask for help when you need it.
  57. Help others when you can.
  58. Dance, especially if someone is watching.
  59. Be aware that the “advanced beginner’s course” is likely more advanced than beginner.
  60. Learn to love root vegetables and naps.
  61. Carole F. Baskin is probably guilty of feeding her husband to the tigers.
  62. Laugh, cry, craugh.
  63. Every day is your best day. Ready, steady, go.
  64. Remember that intermission is over. It’s the second act of your life, sister. Onward.

Robin Meloy Goldsby is a Steinway Artist and popular solo piano streaming artist. She is the author of Piano Girl; Waltz of the Asparagus People: The Further Adventures of Piano Girl;  Rhythm: A Novel and Manhattan Road Trip, a collection of short stories about (what else?) musicians. New from Backbeat Books: Piano Girl Playbook: Notes on a Musical Life