Ozzy Osbourne was in his early 30s when his first solo album came out and, during a radio interview, the former (and future) Black Sabbath frontman said his wife, Sharon, wondered how long Ozzy’s career would last.
“Have you ever seen a 50-year-old rock and roller?”
Given Ozzy’s drug and alcohol abuse and being kicked out of Sabbath for his erratic behaviour, I bet many doubted the Ozzman would make it to 40, let alone 50.
Never mind that the first generation of rock and rollers…Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry…were still out there in their 50s. Granted, they were doing the oldies circuit, mostly in clubs and casinos.I guess Osbourne meant he’d still be headlining arena tours 20 years later and he is. 35 years later, in fact.
I turned 54 a month ago. Fifty-fucking-four.
FUN FOR EARLY RETIREES
The age when you’re old enough to join “seniors clubs” and activities are offered in groups geared to those over 35, 45 and 50. Perusing the town’s rec guide, the Prime Time Club and the “412” club both start at 50. The latter offers a free membership if you’re 80 or older. No thanks.
Well, maybe 80 is when I’ll join, but I doubt it.
THE YOUNG ME, WHEN 50 SEEMED SO FAR AWAY
Go back to 1987 and I was the 25-year-old editor of an art and collectables magazine. My boss launched another publication, “50 Plus.” For those a half century and older who still wanted to live an active lifestyle.
FREEDOM 55, F.U.
Back then, 50 seemed ancient. As a teen, I remember my older cousins talking about rock star Gary Glitter who was, at the time, “about 50,” they said. Meaning he was well past it (of course, we had no idea Mister Rock and Roll…hey!!.. Part Two was a pedophile).
IT’S NOT IN THE GENES
My Mother is a few weeks away from her 90th birthday but looks much younger. On a recent visit to the hospital, the ER doctor looked at Mom’s chart and called the nurse in.
“Guess how old this lady is!”
The nurse said, “75?”
Sadly, no one thinks I’m 34, or even 44, least of all single women in that age group. Though, up until two years ago I was playing in a co-ed slow pitch league and holding my own against people as young as 18. I’m also in a co-ed volleyball group and the average age is probably 35. I’m competitive and performance oriented when it comes to sports so if I’m still on the court it means I’m satisfied with my level of play.
HOW ABOUT “FREEDOM 75?”
If you’re somewhere around my age you remember the TV ads promoting “Freedom 55.” Meaning you could retire comfortably at that age. Fat fucking chance, unless you’re rich.
I work in radio. Rich is not in our vocabulary. Getting by. Paying your bills. That’s us.
There is hope. While technology has killed off many jobs and careers it has opened other doors and self-promotion guru and wine-expert-turned-entrepreneurial-speaker Gary Vaynerchuk said so in a recent YouTube video.
Granted, you can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting a social media expert or motivator who has the secret to success. Thye’ll keep saying they have the secret, and little else, until you buy their course or book.
But I like Gary. He gives practical advice that you can actually use. If you don’t check out the video the basic message is: If you’ve turned 50 you’re starting a new chapter in your career, not easing toward retirement like previous generations.
Thanks Gary Vee. Wrinkles, grey hairs and aches and pains aside, I’m not slowing down at all. And hey, even if Gary doesn’t inspire me to greatness as soon as I’d like, at least he can recommend a good wine to enjoy while I pursue my desires.