Recently, I perused an article about the aging of Baby Boomers, of which I am proudly one. Baby boomers, it appears, refuse to grow old, something I can attest to, at least in terms dictated by previous generations.
Once upon a time when a person reached social security age, they were considered old. A few years ago when I turned 62 one of my poker buddies said, “You are officially an old fart.” But that was only in jest because he too is a Baby Boomer, and we boomers don’t buy into that nonsense. No, siree. We still fall off horses, tube down Death River and eat Mexican food, and bounce back for more.
You ask a Baby Boomer if he thinks he’s old and you could get a reply like “I don’t need no freaking’ adult diaper, or “If you bring that feeding tube near me, it better be attached to a single-malt scotch drip,” or “You want to see something old, I’ll show you something old.”
That same article revealed that of Boomers in their 60s, 14 percent rated their health as excellent and 61 percent rate their health as good. As for me, I would rate my health good. Oh, my knees are shot, and my back and neck both give me problems, and I’ve got a finger that is acting rather strangely, but at least I’m not driving a Rascal.
The article also showed that the biggest health concerns for people 60 and over were high blood pressure (47 percent) , arthritis (29 percent) and higher than acceptable cholesterol or triglyceride levels (43 percent). Okay, I’ve got all three of those, but it could be worse, I could have anal leakage.
I must admit, however, I was somewhat surprised that more Boomers didn’t list prescription drug companies as a health care concern, since Pfizer has an astounding profit margin of 42 percent, GlaxoSmithKline 21 percent and Eli Lilly & Co. 20 percent. They’re like extortionists, pay up or die.
According to the article, Baby Boomers don’t consider old age starting until 72, and a whopping 72 percent say they feel younger than their age. Of course, for most Boomers this not feeling old is all in the head, which is the case with me. I admit there are times when my body puts the kibosh on my youthful enthusiasm, but most of the time I still think like I’m my prime, all full of spit and vinegar. At 72, I might be all vinegar, it’s hard to tell.
So what makes Boomers so damn satisfied with themselves? Well, I think some it has to do with our youth, when we thought we were masters of the universe. So many of us thought we could end war, prejudice and inequality, and, thus, make the world a much better place. Of course, that hasn’t happened, but many of us who felt that way still think we are special and wise. Of course, there are those who might call that being a sphincter.
According to the article, two other factors play a part in keeping Boomers thinking young, one being that, as a group, we have continued to learn and stay mentally active. I have, myself, concentrated on staying mentally active since reading books and playing scrabble is much easier than staying physically active, which takes a lot of work and makes you tired and sweaty. I try to avoid sweat whenever possible.
The second factor is Boomers like to laugh. Yes, the survey revealed that Boomers laugh more than younger people. In fact, more than half laugh multiple times a day, and more than one-quarter laugh daily. Damn, we are a jovial bunch. But, of course, that is a good thing for me, since I strive to bring laughter and joy to the masses, and apparently proves the old adage “Laughter is the best medicine.”
The last tidbit I’ll share is that those of us in our 60s don’t waste time worrying about our decline. The article revealed that those in the 50-59 age group worry much more about a decrepit future than us Boomers. The way I figure it, a lot of Boomers are like me in that I, as a youth, wasn’t counting on living this long, so everything from here on out is gravy.
And speaking of gravy, let’s all have some. Then we can take a nap, read a book, take another nap, play some scrabble, then go to bed. Hey, that’s not being old, that’s being wise.