‘When I Get Older Losing My Hair’

I am getting old, and perhaps you are too. Are you ready for eternity?

If you are an old guy like I am, you certainly remember the classic 1967 Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. There are plenty of memorable tunes found in the album, including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Lovely Rita.” But there is another tune we all recall.

I refer to “When I’m Sixty-Four.” The title of my article is a line from it. It was one of the first songs Paul McCartney had written. The melody to it was penned back in 1956 when he was just 14 years old. Hmm, I was just three years old then, and when I got to be 14, I am not sure I was worrying about getting old and losing my hair. Well, I am now old, and yes indeed, I certainly am losing my hair!

If you are super-young and clueless about such things, or are old and nostalgic, here is one video where you can listen to the song – either for the very first time, or for the umpteenth time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7TANPFMf1k

My point in walking down memory lane and indulging in all this nostalgia is actually twofold. One, I find it quite interesting that all the cool, hip, beautiful and amazing people I grew up with – usually watching them from afar – are now quite old. Funny that. Consider Sir Paul: just two days ago he celebrated his 79th birthday! Wow.  

The only other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, is 80. And think of some other rockers from way back. Let’s run with a few old Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger is 77, Keith Richard is also 77, and Bill Wyman is 84! Wow, and I thought I was getting old at 68!

Think also of the various movie stars from back then. Two of the leading heart throbs of that period were Brigitte Bardot and Sophie Loren. They are both still alive, but have of course aged a bit. They are both 86. Other actors we grew up with include Kirk Douglas who died last year at the grand old age of 103. Still alive are Angela Lansbury (95), Beau Bridges (79), and June Lockhart (95).

My second reason for writing this piece is to once again express some key biblical truths. ‘Life is but a vapour’ as we are informed in James 4:14. As such, and in the light of eternity, what sort of persons should we be? Where does our Creator and Judge fit into our lives? Or is he completely absent?

In a few short months I will commemorate 50 years of being a Christian. In my morning prayer walk I half-jokingly and half-seriously asked God to keep me alive till then so I could share that story with others. The Lord reminded me that one of my most regular and fervent prayers of late has been this: ‘Come quickly Lord Jesus.’

So yes, if push comes to shove, I would far rather the Lord returns – and soon, than to have my half-century celebration of my new birth. But assuming the Lord does not return in the next 60 days or so, I certainly will have my story written up and posted.

Time has certainly passed by quickly for me. But most of my life has been spent as a Christian. While I am not aware of any of the well-known personalities that I mentioned above becoming Christians, it is obvious that none of them will be on planet earth for all that much longer.

And if they have not yet gotten right with God, then all their fame and fortune, all their worldly success, and all their legions of fans will not mean a hill of beans. They may have packed out cinemas or rock stadiums; they may have adoring fans in the millions swooning over them; they may be filthy rich; and they may be followed every second of the day by the paparazzi – but all that really means nothing.

What does matter is where they stand with the Living God. Come judgment day they will have to give an account of their lives. God will not really care about how many millions they made, and how many mansions they owned. He will not care about how many films they starred in, or how many albums they turned out. He will not care about their worldly glamour, success and notoriety.

He will care only about one thing: ‘What did you do with my Son?’ How did they respond to the most incredible event of human history: the incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Jesus came to die for our sins, and if we turn to him in faith and repentance, we can find forgiveness of sins and newness of life.

If we miss out on that, everything else will have been a real waste of time. In fact that is what British journalist and writer Malcolm Muggeridge called his autobiography: Chronicles of Wasted Time. He had it all as a world-class journalist and writer. But he found it all to be so much wasted vapour, once he finally found Christ. As he wrote in that important volume:

Austerity has always made me happy, and its opposite, miserable. I find it strange that, knowing this, I should so often have inflicted upon myself the nausea of over-indulgence, and had to fight off the black dogs of satiety. Human beings, as Pascal points out, are peculiar in that they avidly pursue ends they know will bring them no satisfaction; gorge themselves with food which cannot nourish and with pleasures which cannot please. I am a prize example.

He often wrote about happiness – and true happiness. He said this for example: “I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries, I am beholden to Jesus.” Or as he also famously put it:

Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained… This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.

After a long life of agnosticism and cynicism, Muggeridge eventually saw the light, He saw how fleeting fame is, and how fleeting life itself is. He finally learned the biblical truth about what real life is all about. He learned what all Christians have learned: We look for a better country.

As the writer of the book of Hebrews put it, speaking of the saints of old: “they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16). Or as one country music star put it in the early 60s:

This world is not my home
I’m just passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue

So I ask you this: what are you living for? And I remind you again: life is short, and soon enough you will be living in one of two eternal destinations. Scripture is clear on how short life on earth really is. Just one of many passages worth citing here is Psalm 39:4-6:

O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

So whether or not you are old and losing your hair, you need to choose wisely. As the young martyr Jim Elliot put it before dying at the age of 28: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

[1382 words]

12 Replies to “‘When I Get Older Losing My Hair’”

  1. Yes Bill – thank you!

    And along with our choosing wisely ‘what we will do with God’s Son’ is the profound importance of sharing the words of life that we are so privileged to know with individual souls in our lost and hurting world.

    This is often not easy, but oh sooo important! I for one am eternally thankful for those fervent folks who shared the Good News with me!

    (Just as an aside, Bill, in today’s terms you’re not old! Perhaps you can revisit that concept in a decade or two!)

  2. Hi Bill! Great to read this article! I’d like to know please where I can find the testimony you shared of your life in those years before coming to Christ and of your salvation experience. It was great to read and I identify with it to some extent! I was sooo impressed at your early conversion as it took me until the age of 30 until I was ready to believe and receive Jesus as my saviour. I’d like to share your story with a friend in California if you could please point me to where or how I can find it on your website! Or provide a link? Many thanks!!! And you’re not so old by the way!! Penny ????

  3. Thanks for that. I’m 64 and lost most my hair about 10 years ago. I started shaving it all off as I always chuckled at guys who did “comb overs” and wouldn’t face reality, honestly. As far as facing reality honestly I’ll say this. I was one of those people who was raised as a Christian and I always believed and trusted in Jesus from early on but my life in a number of areas wasn’t really showing it. I had become an expert at living with a double standard. My life style wasn’t “bad” according to the world’s standards but now looking back, I’d say at very least, it had to be rather a disappointment to my Heavenly Father. I’ll not go into details as that frequently becomes somewhat of a source shock value in other testimonies. The short version is that God spoke to me, not audibly mind you, saying “you claim to trust me with your eternity yet you don’t trust me to provide for you now?”. “You think that your abilities, are what have carried you thus far?” I had fallen into a trap of sorts, pridefully thinking that I had to make it through life by my on wits and my own fortitude. In reality God had clearly saved my life at least three times, twice due to accidents at sea and once from grave illness. There were many other instances that had started to be brought back to memory where God’s protection and provision had been extended to me and my family, where I never really gave him the glory that was deserved. I supposed that I transitioned from someone who thought that he had a nice “fire insurance” policy and could do what ever else he wanted to and get away with it to someone who now lives his life focused on honoring God in all that I do. Subsequent to that change, I have come to the realization that just dropping a check in the offering plate wasn’t what was expected by Jesus’ parting words in Matthew 28:19-20. Through my career of 49 years as a commercial fisherman, I had been used to living in close proximity with a rather rough crowd. Through that, God had prepared me for the ministry that we now have with the drug addicts, alcoholics, and mental cases who live on the streets. Many are, at very least, put off by these people, but to me, they’re just the same as many of the fellows that I had working for me over the years. Now I see them in a new light , that view being that they are people just like me who desperately need to give their lives to Jesus or face an eternity of literal Hell.

  4. I am on 44 but I am ready for eternity no more pain and most of all no more SIN! Happiness has mostly eluded me my life slight depression is my normal but I look forward to joy beyond what is capable on earth. The older I get the more I find NOTHING is satisfying, at least not for any length of time, and only being with Jesus will truly make me happy and truly fulfill me.

    The part of me that likes comedy would love to have God answer the Psalmist “Yes and don’t call me Shirley!”

  5. I am 75 and starting to feel old. Bill, You may well go to heaven before Jesus comes back in which case when he does you will come with him. I discovered Malcolm Muggeridge many years ago. He had an extraordinarily sharp mind. Way underestimated I think. Not sure I agree entirely with his comments on affliction v happiness. I have been blessed to have had much more happiness than affliction in my life so far. There are lessons to learn from both.

  6. That’s very interesting that you would mention the Beatles. I turned 67 years this year so I am very familiar with the Beatle mania era also. Whilst I was not one of those many young females that were screaming and ranting about the four long haired lads, I also enjoyed their music. We often played their music in the youth club that I attended. Hey Jude was one that was often played. They were the years when many of us walked away from our Christian upbringings and churches. They were the years when the youth started growing long hair like the Beatles and drugs began to be widely used. When Rock and Roll music became popular which was quite demonic music when you think about it. It was also the years when having sex outside of marriage was acted out more. It was the sex, drugs and rock n roll era to put it more bluntly.
    However, the reason why I find your article interesting is because are few nights ago I had this dream. In it I saw this yellow object floating in the air and it was an oblong shape. At first, I thought it was are plane, but it had no wings, yet I knew it was a vessel of some sort. The next morning, I kept asking the Lord what was it, and it really bothered me because I knew our Lord was trying to tell me something. Then I open up your article where you mentioned Sargent Pepper’s Band and it finally came to me. What I was seeing was the floating yellow submarine which was also pictured floating through the Sargent’s Peppers song.
    So, I looked up the history of the Beatles and realized just how much they impacted all our lives at that time, and not for the better. They introduced Hinduism and other Gods into our culture, and they were heavily induced by drugs when they composed a lot of their songs. They were the first to introduce the rebellious long hair styles at that time. I can still remember how my father reacted when I brought my first long haired boyfriend home, it did not go down well believe me. In fact, many of the songs that the Beatles later sang were about drugs and many of us sang them and played them over and over again. Did you realize that some of the songs you mentioned were actually about drugs? One conservative author even called them the four men from the apocalypse. When I looked more into the song the yellow submarine the date 6th June 1966 was an important date when they were composing the music. Flower power came about around that time too, clearly something that derived from Hinduism. So, could it be that it was at that time when the rot started setting in? That it is our generation that is responsible for the start of the fall of Christianity? Maybe it is something that we should all be repenting of, because it seems to me that our Lord is trying to show me that those were the years when we were first led into rebellion again God.
    Oh, and Bill, we are not dead yet, so stop talking that way. You are only in your sixties for crying out loud, I don’t know about you but my mother died at 86 years old. That’s nearly twenty years later. Besides as I said before the Lord has much work for us to do before then. We could very well be the last generation that will see all these things come to pass before the end comes. We have to be alive to see, right?

  7. Hi PauI,
    In answer to your question. I am not are theologist, I am merely are person who is led by the heart which some may call spirit and many reject. So in answering your question I can only speak from the heart and I leave the rest to Bill who studies the word diligently.
    You had two letters in the article you mentioned but it was the second one that really spoke to me. Yes I believe you are right, we have had more than enough chances to get our act together and things have certainly been heating up. More so in America then here. Ever since Trump came on the scene, I have seen are division amongst the churches. There are those who are more or less like Jonah’s who from their shelters warn unbelievers to repent because the end is near and then are disappointed when it does not come to pass. Many of them are now just waiting for the rapture. Then there is the churches who choose to be like the Joshua’s and Celebes and fight for the territories that have been lost. I belong to the latter. Many of them in both camps are reaping in are harvest of new souls for the Kingdom.
    So yes I believe this is the end of this age, but I also believe a new age is coming where Jesus’s Kingdom will rule as spoken of in Mathew. I believe WE ARE ALL going to go through the fire and be tested.
    Our Lord had to show me something about myself. Like you I was angry and disappointed at the churches, but I realized that that anger came out of fear and frustration because while all this is going on, just what are the churches doing, nothing really, well according to me anyway. However if I am to be totally honest with myself I have no idea what each and every church is doing at this time in history. Also I have to remind myself that we are the real church, the true followers of Jesus Christ our Lord and not the buildings that house us. When you think about it we are actually inside the fishbowl and from there everything looks magnified and quite scary, but God is on the outside looking in and he sees everything. He sees the very hearts of men. We have such are loving, giving and merciful God who clearly wants none to perish and the scriptures tell us that time and time again. So praise the Lord, that as you already said he is God the Father and he decides when it is the end and not us. Even Jesus when asked about when the end will come, said that only God knows, and why? Because we have are merciful God that wants none to perish. He is our Father and he only knows how to love his children, and disciplining us is part of that love. He can change his mind in are heartbeat if he so wishes, and he has already shown us that time and time again through his word.
    I also have to remind not only myself but others that we are a spiritual being with are earthly suit which decays over time, but our spirit lives on forever. So for many the fear of God is not really knowing if you made the grade or not and that is why I believe so many people are fearful of dying. I love reading John’s letters because I belief he understood who Jesus really was. He was the love of God, and when we reside in him, we reside in the love of God itself, the perfect love, and perfect love has no fear. Right?
    Thanks Paul, I feel humbled that you would even ask me to reflect on your letter, it certainly got me thinking. That’s how we all learn from each other. Right?

  8. Dear Bill,
    Thank you for your article.I was a young married woman in my mid twenties with a little boy when Beatlemania hit the world and believe me it was mass hysteria on a grand scale. Beatle souvenirs, hairstyles and fashions in clothes were everywhere. Everyone was caught up in it even if they didn’t particularly like their music which I didn’t.

    Coming from Liverpool they were probably baptised Roman Catholics and they did compose the song ‘Let it be’ which came out in 1970 about the Blessed Mother which I thought was nice. It could be argued that they promoted Hinduism more than Christianity because I remember vividly their meeting with a Hindu guru and of course it was widely publicised by the media at the time which put me off them not that I had ever been a big fan of theirs in the first place.

    I think as young men they probably weren’t particularly strong in their Roman Catholic religious beliefs. That is if they practised at all and were easily swayed by the opportunity for fame and fortune. It was John Lennon I think who composed and sung ‘Imagine all the people’ which sounded suspiciously like the freemasonic plan for a One World Government. No Heaven, no Hell and no religion! He wasn’t without intelligence so it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I don’t know what they did with the fortune they made out of gullible teenagers. Perhaps someone else knows if they did any good with it.

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