We Boomers are a monster demographic. When I was in elementary school at St. Gregory’s, the nuns struggled to teach as many as sixty kids in a class. We’ve already changed the culture of this country. We can do that simply by our sheer size. There are so many of us, no matter what we do, a little bit goes a long way. Good or bad, yes, admittedly.
You’re old enough to remember the theory of The Big Lie; that is, if you say a thing long enough and loudly enough, people will start to believe it. Let’s try a few:
- Smoking is harmless.
- Cars will never get more than 20 miles per gallon.
- Saddam Hussein, yellowcake, WMD.
Well, how about we employ the Big Lie strategy to the promotion of this Big Truth:
It’s Good To Get Old.
You don’t have to think very hard to come up with benefits of aging. Sure, there’s all that stuff about having a more positive outlook and not panicking so easily, and having better control of your emotions and – oh, yeah! Bilateralization. That’s a biggie. (Last winter, I wrote four posts about the positive changes to the aging brain. You can start with the first one and scroll through.)
But on a simpler level, how about the fact that many of us get to cut back or stop working? My brother-in-law just turned 66 a week ago. Instead of full-on retirement, he now works a few days a week. If he feels like it. As a trucker, he’s had to be at work by 4 a.m. for years. Now, he can go in late and leave early, and the boss is grateful.
At midlife and older, many of us start small businesses, particularly women. Some of us are able to volunteer, helping out with causes we believe in. Or maybe we just do more for our families. It’s no biggie. As a grandmother, the little guys wear me out but I get to go home and sleep through the night.
At this age, my siblings, friends and I talk about what we’re going to do with our free time. It’s like graduating from high school. Back then, we were exuberant to think we could chart our own course, no teachers or bell schedule to answer to. I feel the same way now, a sense of rising excitement. Sometimes I work on my next novel, but other times, maybe I’ll go to a movie in the middle of a weekday. Even running boring errands is more enjoyable when everybody else is at work and you have the place to yourself. On the weekends, Bill and I tend to stick around home. We don’t want to fight the crowds.
And the other bennies: I keep going through my closet, weeding out the career outfits I no longer use, especially the heels. Even if they’re low; I don’t care for them. And if I don’t care for something, I can usually avoid it. I have that freedom now.
In spite of the physical stuff, old can be pretty cool. Unless you’re a slave to youth culture, which by now you should have the confidence to rise above. So, given that it’s true, not even a lie, how about we start talking about it? Just try not to gloat around the younger people. We don’t want them to feel bad about their age.