Tradition says it's time to travel and play golf the rest of your life.
Bombarded by countless predictions of impending disability and death, Baby Boomers start looking for signs of our own decline.
A momentary memory lapse, which everyone experiences regardless of age, results in a panicky "I'm having a senior moment." I have never heard a teenager experiencing a "Junior Moment" with their memory lapse, and they have plenty of them.
You drop something and immediately declare, "I must be getting old." Young people drop things all the time and don't imagine they are getting old. They just bend over and pick it up. Youth don't sweat the small stuff –- why should you?
Social and family pressure convinces you the home you've lived in all your life is now "too much" for you. So you move to a retirement community where you not only enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of peers, but you are also vulnerable to the reality of the Grim Reaper who manifests himself in an abnormal concentration of sickness, depression, and death.
Here’s the good news: In spite of the pull of tradition and social expectations, the Baby Boomer Generation are beginning to opt out of the traditional aging process, refusing to slow down, fall into line, give up, and drop out. Unfortunately, examples of inspiring mature lives too often remain hidden. When brought to light, we exclaim in astonishment, "Isn't she wonderful for her age," or "Isn't it amazing what he is still doing?"
Expression of amazement for age-related competence is patronizing. Ability should be valued for what it is, without reference to chronological age. That point will be reached when more influential and outspoken mature role models come out of the "old age" closet and show, if not flaunt, what they and others are capable of accomplishing. Chronological age.
Baby Boomers need to establish an enlightened society in which healthy, productive aging is no longer newsworthy as something special. It will open doors of opportunity and possibilities now closed to valuable and talented Baby Boomers afflicted with nothing more incapacitating than advanced chronological age, which should be seen as an accounting of time gone by, not a measure of physical or mental capacity.
How about you: Are you living a life that rejects the tyranny of chronological age? Are you happily marching forward to the beat of your own personal drummer? Are you gloriously "out of sync" with convention-bound generations past? Are you productively defying archaic wisdom that no longer makes sense? If so, the world needs to know about you.
In the past century, the American life span has increased 27 years. Baby Boomers are the first generation ever to have the opportunity for a healthy, productive Second Life. We can choose the traditional aging route as our parents did, or forge an exciting, unprecedented transition from fantasy-driven "young forever Boomer" to real life healthy, productive, ageless Bloomer.
For Baby Boomers, it's a matter of choice, not chance. It's just that simple.