A few days ago the Chandler Public Library had a summit meeting for baby boomers. I couldn’t make it because my upcoming visit to the urologist requires a great deal of time-consuming paperwork, but to judge from the advance press, the message was quite upbeat.
For one thing, apparently it has been determined that we boomers already have a unique claim on longevity. "Boomers are living longer," one of the meeting planners said.
This is interesting because the oldest boomers are turning a mere 58 this year and I’m not sure many will hold a candle, so to speak, to my wife’s grandmother. She was born before the Spanish-American War and lived to see the second Bush administration.
After adjusting my reading glasses and finding better light, I also read in that article that boomers in general do not like the words "retirement" or "senior."
To which I say, speak for yourself.
Retirement looks like a fine idea. Once I found a whole bunch of retired people at a bowling alley. A Monday morning, it was. Surely this was a cheerful contrast with the 2,250 or so Monday mornings one must endure during a typical working life. I grew envious and wanted to roll a frame or two myself, but there was a deadline to catch.
As for "senior," that sounds fine as well. It has an honorable, dignified ring to it and it gets you cheap coffee at McDonald’s. It also beats the heck out of "decrepit."
We boomers have had our delusions. We thought we were the only young generation there ever was and now we think we’re the only generation that will always stay that way.
The first delusion was excusable because every young generation has it. The second is less so because our own dimming eyes reveal a harsher set of facts.
We can bathe in Grecian Formula, pump iron like Arnold, fill our cracking faces with Botox till we look like the Michelin man. Doesn’t matter. Hair thins, bodies thicken, gravity wins and reality draws nigh.
We think we can outrun it but we can’t. Spin that treadmill at the gym, spin it as fast as you can — and it’s still gaining on us. It happened to our parents. It’s happening to us.
Stay in shape? Sure. We’re better off to at least try. Stay active? Of course. If we have the stamina, we might even resurrect our generation’s much-ballyhooed social conscience by working a few more years to ease the financial load we’ve selfishly dumped on our kids.
But if the day comes when buying new golf clubs won’t be an exercise in hopeless longing, when long walks with our sweeties won’t be mere afterthoughts in a frenzied day, when there will be time not merely to smell the roses but to plant and tend them — if that day comes and it’s called retirement, what would be so bad?