Milestone Birthday – 65th plus

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Milestone Birthday Celebration – 65 years old – plus

Welcome to this celebration of the 65th year in the life of _______________.


We are here to honour and celebrate our dear friend _____who has reached a milestone birthday.  Our 65th year is generally marked by retirement, as a time that we begin to transition into an elder a wisdom keeper.


What has ­­­__________ learned in 65 years? Only six and a half decades of solving problems, dealing with lives highs and lows, achievements and disappointments, gaining discernment and wisdom at every turn. ­­­________now has the confidence to take on anything. Not old but seasoned. 65 is distorted by youth’s prism – true _______ is not 18 but nor are they 100. Living for 65 years gives one perspective and a good dose of gratitude.  ________ has survived a rich 65 years of life and for this we are grateful!



When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.



Like the woman who wears purple in Jenny Joseph’s poem – at 65 we are free to speak awkward truths.


Some say that doors will begin to close – and this is true – taking up motor cross or squash might not be advisable but there will be many new doors that present themselves to be opened.  Perhaps even doors that you were not ready to open in the past.


Perhaps we hear Linus’ words from the cartoon Charlie Brown “there is no heavier burden than a great potential”. What do you need to do at 65 that has been undone all of these years. Now is the time, seize the day!


65 is a time of discovery, of new ideas and of honing renewed interests. Achieving 65 is the reward for all the hard work of living you have done.


Birthdays are a time of circumspection – none more so than the pivotal age of 65 you are called to look back in wonder and gratitude while looking forward with wisdom and grace.


Instead of dashing along barely able to stop and smell the roses you can now have the leisure to plant, nurture, prune, and pick the roses of life.


Some quotations about aging that reflect wisdom and humour:


Oscar Wilde said “the old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything’,


Mark Twain said “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”


George Burns said “you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”


Confucius “old age is a good and pleasant thing. It is true that you are shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front seat as spectator.”


Jules Renard “It is not how old you are, but how you are old.”


And lastly, Mickey Rooney, in 2008 at age 87 said  “Don’t retire… inspire.  There’s a lot to be done!”


In celebrating ________’s 65 Birthday, we are here to do two things; to acknowledge their life so far and to offer wisdom for them to carry forward into their next life phase….



In this bowl are strips of paper printed with instructions for living a fulfilling senior life.  Please take a strip from the bowl and read it out loud.  _________will be given a copy of these instructions so that they have them handy for future reference!


Instructions for the rest of your life:


Banish the word ‘should’ from your life.

Have a sense of humour.

Forgive yourself.

Practice cheerfulness.

Keep it simple.

Stress less, enjoy more.

Listen to the wisdom of your body.

Live your truth.

Laugh a lot, including gently at yourself.

Gather your community of loved ones close about you.

Speak up bravely when you need to.

Demonstrate that a little eccentricity gives spice to life.

Live more simply, leaving space for what’s really important to you.

Treat your body to movement and to delicious, nourishing food.

Compromise as little as possible.

Find all kinds of occasions and people to celebrate.

Live in a profoundly creative way, understanding that the word creative does not        always refer to the arts but to a deeper current running through life.

Being human, you will feel fear and regret sometimes; do not allow those feelings          to define you.

Ask for help when you need it.

Mark the significant moments of life, large and small.

Mourn your losses fiercely, in your own way.

Work to heal our beautiful planet.

Do and learn things you’ve always wanted to do and learn.

Forget to worry what people think of you.

Discover your gifts and offer them freely.

Wear purple — with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit you.

Live a spiritual life, although not necessarily a religious one.

Keep an open mind and an open heart.

Give new ideas and images a chance.

Understand that everyone has their own truth.

Expect to discover something delicious every day.


Musical interlude


The Who’s “I hope I die before I get old”

Fats Waller “Old Grand Dad”

Bill Withers “Grandma’s Hands”

Elvis Costello “Veronica”

Steely Dan “Hey Nineteen”

The Beatles “When I’m 64”

Willie Nelson “September Song”

The Who “My Generation”




In closing I have a couple of short readings to offer….


From Sister Joan Chittister, in The Gift of Years:


Finally as we grow older, we are called to cherish the blessing of aging as a natural part of life that is active, productive and deeply rewarding.  There is a purpose to aging and an intention built into every stage of life…


Now, everything we learned long ago, gave up to some degree long ago, never left completely long ago, begins to make sense. Begins to become ‘me’.


And finally, from Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist:


Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow, what a ride!


Amen, So be it, and Blessed be.


Please take a moment to sign the ‘certificate of seniority’ we have prepared for__________.  It is on the ________________


(You can print off this certificate of seniority or create your own.)


(With thanks to Liz Graham who provided the inspiration for this ceremony.)