He’s Talking About My Generation

Have any of you ever felt that you are in a “survival of the fittest” contest with the younger generation?{{more}} I played tennis last week with a couple of 30 year olds who didn’t even get out of breath on the courts. And why do the commercials on television advertising skin replenishments always use models that look like they just got out of college? Why is it that in the supermarket, the baggers ask me if I need help getting the groceries to the car, and not ask the next person in line who is trying to stop her young child from opening the bag of chips in the grocery cart?

I figure there are many people in our generation who are no longer in the first blush of youth, perhaps, but who are still vital and stimulating. I read an article recently in a local magazine written, I assume, by an aging journalist from a state which boasts a large elderly population. I laughed as I read, as well as nodded my head in total agreement with the truth it related. Let me share some of the writer’s thoughts.

The demographers call our generation the boomers. The writer calls our generation, the New Audience. So he was on a journey to reinvent himself so that his future articles would have appeal to this new generation. He intended to explore the world of getting older and wiser in his regular monthly magazine article. Sounded to me that this is the same purpose of this column in The Orange Times. He was going to explore options for the present while looking back on the past and all the extraordinary things our generation has been through: the 60’s, drugs, disco, sexual liberation, wine, aerobics, making lots of money, losing a lot of money, parents who die (or refuse to die), children who have unceasing demands on our time and resources, grandchildren who expect us to pay for college, and the rise of the Internet and all those little devices we are being forced to learn to operate with our thumbs.

The writer stated that at a certain point in life we must reassess things. We must examine our priorities and decide what is really important to us. Do we choose to stay at the center of the action by wearing our daughter’s clothes and always trying new hair colors? Are we looking for the latest developments in hair transplant treatments and make-up products claiming to make those lines around our mouth and eyes disappear? Are we worried about developing dementia? If so, the writer promised to tell readers how to mimic the symptoms when they come in handy, like when you have done something wrong or forgot to pay your electric bill and the lights have been turned off.

Aging is an adventure meant to be savored and enjoyed. The writer promised to quickly destroy this myth and get right to the point. He said that if we try real hard and put some effort into it, maybe we can squeeze out an extra year or two of partying, spending our hard earned money and enjoying irresponsible behavior that we can’t be blamed for. I don’t think aging is quite like that, but I did find humor and wisdom in what he wrote.

Joanne Byrne served as Senior Services Coordinator for the Town of Orange. She is now actively and happily retired. Email her at joannebyrne41@gmail.com to share your thoughts on retirement.