May is “Older Americans Month” according to the Administration on Aging. This year’s theme is “Unleash the Power of Age.” I don’t feel like this applies to me. I’m only 59 going on 39. But truth is, since 2011 when the first Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) turned 65, 8,000 more join them each and every day. As this unique cohort grows older, it will likely transform the institutions of aging—just as it has done to other aspects of American life. The big question is, will boomers redefine this life stage, or will it redefine them?
When you look back at the way things were when the parents of today’s boomers began to retire, it’s not today’s reality. It’s no longer your father’s retirement. Times have changed. There’s a revolution of technology. There’s the prospect of economic uncertainty. No longer do people in their 60’s need to be shunted to the side and grudgingly admit the world no longer belongs to them.
The Baby Boomers who are turning 65 today no longer accept the term “senior.” They think it doesn’t apply to them. They believe they are healthier than their parents were at the same age. Many boomers think they will want to (have to?) continue to work past the traditional exit ages of 60, 65 or even 70.
Most boomers believe they’re hip. They feel like they act younger than their age. They try to look youthful. They’re more aware of their appearance than previous generations. They love to do youthful activities. A fairly high percentage of them like to keep up with the latest technology.
So what about you? How are you doing with this aging thing? Whether you are 30, 40, 50 or 60, are you redefining your stage of life or are you letting your stage define you?
My maternal grandmother use to say, “Age is only a number.” As I reflect on her life, what I think she meant by that was this: It’s okay to buy the latest and most powerful all-terrain vehicle and have fun riding it while in your 70’s. It’s okay to think young and dress young. It’s okay to drive a sports car. It’s okay to enjoy recreation and having fun with the grandkids. My grandfather hunted big game all across the western hemisphere while in his 70’s and 80’s. Both of them lived to at least 90.
As I begin to look at my 50’s in the rearview mirror, I want to unleash the power of age. I love investing in the next generations below me. I love to inspire transformissional living in others. I love new challenges, growing and learning. I think the best is yet to come! How about you?
QUESTION: What is one thing you are doing to unleash the power of your age? Share it in the comment section below.