Lately I feel like I am on a scavenger hunt trying to find clues as to where I fit in. I wonder if I am the only 55 plus person that feels this way! We were born between the years 1946-1964 which defines us as Boomers. For eighteen years we broke the record in terms of increased population. Am I the only baby boomer who is not ready to be called a Senior?
To quote the definition of the noun senior citizen from the Merriam Webster online dictionary: "an old person who is at least a certain age (such as 55)" To be perfectly honest I think this sentence is self destructive for any age let alone 55.
I feel anyone 80 or above who CHOOSES to be called a senior should wear that title proudly for they were our inspirational teachers and I hope to be as wise when I get to their age. I suppose it is a nicer word than elderly or old fogy however I personally do not feel I have travelled the road long enough to have that title myself. I honestly don't think I ever will.
I wish I could go back to the good old days where I felt part of a community. Neighbors took care and listened for each other and I felt settled and at peace. I am now in an apartment community where no sooner do I meet a neighbor and feel comfortable they are moving out and new people are taking their place. As much as I don't like being called a senior citizen I probably am one of the old fogies that reside here. Despite the fact I am young at heart and dress real cute I am still the grandmother at "game night" at the community clubhouse with the younger residents.
It was suggested we try leasing an apartment in a fifty five plus community as there may be more that I have in common with. I love activity and typically these places offer classes, trips and parties. I do not type the next line to offend anyone so please forgive me if I do; Upon taking the tour there were no residents near my age of 58. It was the home of the baby boomers parents.
My sister and I experienced the same result when we joined the Church 55 plus group. Once again we were the youngest people there. They did not know what table to sit us at for everyone was in their normal spot. After they got over the shock of seeing the two of us they began calling us cute! Please do not misunderstand, I love spending time with all ages and we had loads of fun but once in a while I would love for a 55 plus category to have more boomers. The span for the term "senior" and "55 plus" are too broad for me!
I hope to have at least 20 or MORE healthy years left. I always thought that was a long time until I placed 20 raisins in my hand and saw how fast they were gobbled up and it hit me that is really a small number. I actually wanted 20 MORE!!!
I decided I needed a break from the scavenger hunt game and fitting in and just be Donna. I gave myself a week of being a kid again and did all the things I loved when young. This morning I pulled out my hula hoop and cranked up the Bee Gees Night Fever music and exercised away. I always loved to sing and still do and I am not bragging but I can still keep the hula hoop spinning quite well despite my "senior" title. I decided to order some adult relaxing coloring books and staying in the lines with my 200 brightly colored sharpee markers returned me to happy childhood memories. I went to the library and read BOOKS, and wrote with PENS and when I wanted to get thoughts for this post I TYPED and pretended my keyboard was the old rickety machine I had when I first started working at Chase Manhattan Bank in the 80's. Back then you had to be careful to hit the correct key as once the image was on the page there was no backspace or delete button to remove it. I know these are things only die hard boomers will remember.
I realize I am showing my age in the paragraph above. I have no problem getting older; as a matter of fact I love being fifty five plus. I love telling the "youngsters" about life. I am more fit, confident and happy than I ever was. My Mother was a hard worker and deserved retiring and becoming a Senior but I am a totally different person than she was. My Mother in all fairness did not have time to worry about working out, being stylish or funny. She went to the doctor only when she had to. Her focus was hard work and us. She and all my friends parents deserve to wear the Senior title proudly. They have a place where they all fit in.
I do not feel boomers have a category for which we fit in. I have baby boomer best friends who are caring for their senior parents every single day. I have boomer friends who are caring for their grand-children every day. I have boomer friends who are working two jobs for they cannot afford to live on just one. These friends are not seniors believe me.
I was happy a month ago when I saw a Tribute to the Bee Gees special on television. I smiled from ear to ear singing all the songs for which I knew every word. I was happy to see younger artists performing the old classics. Maybe our generation is slowly figuring out where we fit in after all.
I am proud of being almost 58 and I would be lying if I said I did not appreciate receiving a discount on Tuesdays at the supermarket and nail salon. I would totally understand if the stores decided to make the age older moving forward but if it is available to me I will take it. There are many perks to getting older!
I think every age should act and feel young as long as they can. I know that it is healthy for older adults to be around younger people. I think it is important for younger people to be around older adults. We all can learn so much from one another.
My dream every now and then is to have a place where I can find a few of the millions of boomers out there and get together.
For now I will do my best each day to workout, go for walks, color, sing, be kind, caring, funny, crazy, silly but most important loving. A word cannot change what I am inside. I will end the scavenger hunt and buckle up my belt and continue on this wonderful journey of fifty five plus. I will continue to be young at heart!
Every person alive shares the need to have someone to walk with through good times and bad, have someone to encourage and challenge us to be the best version of ourselves as possible. No matter our title deep down we are all the same. None of us can let words define us. We spent our entire youth trying to fit in. It is now time to simply be ourselves.
I am fifty five plus and thanks to all of those born between 1946-1964 I am not alone. We are the boomers!!! With so many of us how in the world can we help but not fit in. We are the examples for future generations. Let's teach them the colorful new definition of the word Senior just like the generations before us taught us so much.
It wont be long before we will be fitting into the inspirational category. Let us enjoy each one happily and make these the best days of our lives!