Boomer Unchained: We still want to make the world a better place
If I happen to mention that I am 66 years old, more often than not the listener will stare at me in near shock, as if a woman of my age should be bent over and unfashionably frumpy with no makeup and a gray-streaked bun on my head and a rolling pin and knitting needles in my hands.
Isn’t that the picture we baby boomers remember 60 to be? Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show was our role model – a sweet woman who baked pies and laughed a lot, kept the house warm, and had no impact on the future of anything.
The first thing I realized as I approached 60 was that I still felt 35, and didn’t want to look or be like Aunt Bee. I didn’t even want to be 60, but remembered my father’s philosophy: “It’s better than the alternative.”
To this day I am devoted to my hairdresser Stephen, who I have to book a year in advance because of all the other women like me who make their schedule of appointments a year in advance.
Over 60 Feels Like the 30s
Since I am blessed to have good health, I still feel 35. I still dream about hiking the Grand Canyon at least one more time, and will be joining the Wilmington Trail Club soon. I’ve already downloaded the application form. I also am dating, which is a separate blog topic entirely. I am an active member of a national professional organization and continue my writing career with hopes of making a difference. I still keep my Google calendar as it is available on the laptop and the iPhone, and still find it isn’t unusual to be overbooked.
So, what does it mean to be over 60 to me? And how are those of us who have crossed that age barrier different from those in their 30s, 40s and 50s?
First of all, I’d like to list a handful of women in the public’s eye who are over 60 – Meryl Streep, Hilary Clinton, Linda Carter and Jane Seymour, Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda, Isabel Allende and Sonya Sotomayor. And, I can’t forget Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently turned 84 and is still making historic decisions for our country.
I feel that being over 60 is a time when we know that we have to balance our lives and appreciate every single day. At 60, we know how long life is, and is not. We have lost friends, and we have friends who suffer terminal illnesses.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it so well: “Today is the oldest you’ve been and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”
We find reasons to laugh and to get together because we know it is important. We take more time to help others because we know they need our help. If we have a job that is stressful, as I did, we leave it to find a path that brings joy and personal reward, even if it means less money.
I have found so many wonderful people within our community who are over 60 and who also want to experience the most, and give the most, every single day.