There was a flurry of articles recently about an AC/DC band member, who is in his 60s, being too ill to remain on the “Highway to Hell” and possibly heading for the Highway to Retirement. There were also comments recently about how old Mick Jagger looked when his girlfriend died, but the reality is that Jagger, who is soon to be a great-grandfather, is 70. Why is it hard for us to accept our idols are old and maybe ready to retire? Perhaps, it’s because that means we have aged and can no longer effectively do what we have always done.
The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary with Mick trying to gyrate his hips and prance like time is on his side. Contrast that with the 50th anniversary special of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan – yes, unfortunately two have died, but at least that show sought to honor nostalgia and memories as opposed to ignoring reality. People over a certain age – even Rock Gods – cannot do everything they did in their youth and need to slow down or possibly retire.
It isn’t easy to accept that attempting to look cool and rebellious after 50 means looking foolish. Roger Daltry, 70, and Iggy Pop, 66, still bare their chests in concert without realizing they look more ready for a doctor to say bend over and cough than a groupie to grab them. (Guys, take a lesson from Eric Clapton, 69, with his good haircut, glasses and well-tailored suits on stage! Even Elton John, 67, looks dignified now.) Most men in their 60s, no matter how fit they are, know they are not exactly hot stuff baring their chest while working in their yard. They accept that they are not hot stuff anymore, but it is sad to admit stars we grew up with are aging too.
The quickest road to ridicule for all of us, whether multi-platinum, multi-millionaires or people in the workplace trying to remain relevant in ever-changing fields, is ignoring that time marches on. We look stupid singing “Hope I die before I get old.” or “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (Rod Stewart is 69), and they do too. We need to embrace aging and stop proceeding as if nothing has changed. The truth is that many years have passed and we need to be honest with ourselves about how to spend the remaining years.
We all need to face facts: At a certain point, you are no longer hip, so stop trying to defy time! Simply going through the motions doesn’t keep us young. Retirement – or at least slowing down and not dressing like we did in our youth – is something to embrace.