I believe that the baby boomer generation has effectively reinvented the approach of many people to getting older.
Many baby boomers have a mental approach to getting older that their parents would have found astonishing. They may mostly be retired but by and large they don’t accept that their lot in life is to sit in front of the TV all day. Many of them believe they are not too old for work, sport, physical activity—even relationships, love, and marriage.
Their approach to old age is epitomised by the following quote from George Burns.
Of those baby boomers who are not retired many continue to make a valuable contribution to their workplace. Indeed, is not unknown for people over 50 to make a career change. This can sometimes be in something they have never done before, such as using their skills and experience in a teaching or consultancy capacity. They have even been known to become entrepreneurs.
But those who are retired are not necessarily inactive. Many of these mature people are often still able to lead an active life. And frequently they can still be of value to their friends and family—and contribute to wider society. They may be over 50, and then some, but to many of them age is just a number.
Not all baby boomers lead a sedentary lifestyle. Many people take regular exercise, go to the gym, and take part in strenuous activities.
Indeed, it is not unusual to encounter baby boomers hiking in the country, hill walking, or even rock climbing. And I remember meeting one couple in their sixties who had just returned from backpacking in Peru. It has even been known for baby boomers to take part in extreme sports.
Other baby boomers focus on creative activities, often revisiting old hobbies or interests they haven’t previously had time for, or discovering completely new interests. In my case I discovered writing. Inspired four years ago, by my then 14-year-old grandaughter getting two novellas published I decided to try my hand at writing.
Previously I had only written some poetry and a few short stories, and that was over 30 years ago. The path was long and hard, and both frustrating and satisfying. But finally, after two years of writing my first novel it has been accepted for publication as an eBook. And if the book is successful this may not be the end of the road. I have a couple of sequels in mind but whether or not they ever happen will largely depend on the success, or otherwise, of “Not Too Old for Love.” And, whether it succeeds or not, it has been a way of keeping my brain sharp and is therefore time well spent.
Painting and music are also popular activities for people as they get older. I did have some modest success at painting but that was many years ago. Who knows, perhaps I will revisit it if the writing doesn’t work out.
So if you’re a baby boomer, or even older, take inspiration from Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do not go gentle into that good night.’
Do not go gently into old age. Rage against it.
By all means get older, but try not to get old.