Abby Ellin, New York Times, writes about the late-life renaissances that many Baby Boomers experience when they re-decide what they want to be when they grow up.
When we were younger, many of us drifted into college studies and post-college careers that may or may not have been our first choice but at least paid the bills. As we near retirement, or even years before retirement, we wonder, “Is this all there is?” And when we wonder like that, we get dissatisfied, and when we get dissatisfied – if we’re gutsy – we’ll do what it takes to become satisfied. If we don’t attain our desired level of satisfaction, we’ll languish: lose vitality, grow weak, and become feeble. My oh my, is that what you want? Read the rest of this entry »
Ms. Froma Harrop’s Opinion piece, linked above, challenges all of us Baby Boomers to not surrender to the other groups coming up in the generational ranks.
Are you done at 61? Closing the door at 64? Barely alive at 75? Or are you skipping to my Lou at 82?
Come on everyone – don’t throw in the towel! As Ms. Harrop said in her Opinion piece, “there’s nothing noble about declaring oneself out of the game, whatever the game is.” I’m not saying that us Baby Boomers and older don’t have age-related changes – of course we do – but that doesn’t mean that nothing remains for us in the years ahead. In my recent blog article, A surprising fete by a Baby Boomer! I complained about a Florida reporter’s characterization of something that a 55-year old woman was able to accomplish – even at her advanced age. Click on the link to my article to get the full gist of my whining diatribe.
I am not advocating that you suddenly decide to beat 64-year old Diana Nyad’s swimming record, unless, of course you feel like doing so. I am advocating, however, that you explore what you’re able to do and capitalize on it. Start a new business, volunteer for organizations that you support, or just keep working at your current job as long as you still want to. Who’s stopping you? My former father-in-law turned 90-years old on September 18, 2013, and he still plays tennis and is still working at his commercial real estate development company. If Jimmy were to stop working, he’d probably collapse and die on the spot. Why? Because he enjoys being active and productive. So should you.
Don’t let the younger folks – anyone less than 50-years old – have all the fun! You can have fun too! I turned 60-years old this past May. I’ve always been an active person exercise-wise but most of that centered around taking lengthy neighborhood walks and gentle hikes. My exceptional and persistent daughter, Erin, decided I could do more. She purchased six sessions of Bar Method classes for each of us and presented it as my birthday/Mother’s Day gift. “It’ll be fun! Once you get there, I know you’ll love it.”
Very presumptuous on her part, but she was right! After six sessions, Erin dropped out (she has other mind-boggling exercises that she does) but I continued with the program. The biggest lesson that I learned through this process is that I can do more than I thought I could do. Bar Method is extremely difficult, but it’s not impossible. After the first six lessons, I was able to conclude that a) it didn’t kill me; b) it didn’t disable me; and c) I kicked ass! That’s right – I kicked ass. I am in a class of mostly 20-50 year olds, and I not only keep up, but sometimes I outlast the younger students. I go to class once a week and two to three additional times a week I exercise to the Bar Method DVDs at home – courtesy of my husband who installed a ballet bar in our exercise room. Thanks hubby!
If you lack confidence, go find some! If you’re hesitant to go it alone, find someone else with your same interests, and go for it together.
You are not done yet. To quote Ms. Harrop, “Every age group brings something to the party. And for every generation, the party’s not over until it’s over.”
What are you waiting for? Come join the party!