If you are anything like me, you do not feel your age. In my head I am still in my twenties! Only when I look in the mirror am I forced to face the reality that I am getting older It’s not that I don’t want to grow up, it’s just that I am having so much fun that I just don’t feel like I think old is supposed to feel like. In fact, I’m not sure exactly what “old” is supposed to feel like. When I was younger, “old” was frail and sort of grumpy. Perhaps in a wheelchair or on a walker. With wrinkles and smelling of gardenias.
“Old” meant living in a nursing home and barely moving and talking in whispers. The people who I thought of as “old” were always really tiny in my mind. Mrs. Nations, a little bird-like woman who liked tea and spoke quietly. Or Clara and Mary who lived next door and baked cookies and talked about their life on the farm growing up. I loved these women who had the time to spend with a young girl telling stories about life.
It’s funny though, looking back that I never thought of my Grandmother as “old” even though she was the same age as Mrs. Nations, Clara, and Mary. My Grandmother worked until age 81 as a court reporter for the State of Illinois, moving quickly all the time, flitting from one place to another. She was an incredible pianist and constantly in motion. Perhaps that was the difference. Nana was always on the go, always looking ahead. She also spent a great deal of time with me, but took me with her on adventures to the State Capitol and to the Court. Her stories were also about life, but from a different perspective.
Now, as Baby Boomers are living longer and staying healthier, it appears I am not the only one who feels younger than my age. According to recent research by the Institute for the Ages, the coming of age 65 and its consequential cutting ties with a lifelong career now is the process of opening a door, not closing one. The same baby-booming generation that blazed the trail for civil rights issues decades ago is now blazing the trail for what old age should feel like.
It wasn’t that long ago that a dream retirement meant buying a home in a 55+ community, tooting around the neighborhood in a golf court, hanging with people your own age, relaxing, playing cards and shuffleboard until the end comes.
End?!?! What end? Boomers are essentially saying, “Grow up? Make me!!”