Talking about my generation…

I’ve always been grateful to be part of the baby boomers—near the end of the wave. The world has seemed to shape itself to us and our numbers have given us a strong sense of generation power.

I think too, I’ve lived within my times. Barbies and Easy-Bake Ovens in the 60s, The Osmonds, then disco in the 70s, purple streaks in my hair and leather pants in the 80s. Then nose to the grindstone in the flush 90s, working for companies with private plains, profit sharing and stock options. The feeling of running full tilt, then crashing to a dead stop in the post-millennial malaise. And then there’s now.

My love turned 53 last week and I’m not far behind, hitting what realistically can be called post-middle age. Unless I plan on making it to 107, there are more years behind me than ahead.  Aside from a case of skin cancer as an infant that left a quarter-sized scar on my left arm and a mystery blood disease in my teens, believed to be a long-latent side-effect of the radium treatments that killed that cancer, I’ve never been seriously sick a day in my life. I get a cramp in my leg when I carry a bag that’s too heavy and a touch of arthritis in my fingers if I type too much, nothing a couple of Advil can’t fix. I’m still hard to keep up with. I’m of the belief that modern dentistry is a wonderful thing. When I get a decent night’s sleep, my eyes still shine, my skin still glows and while I have to constantly guard against extra weight, at least gravity has been kind. I can’t walk in heels anymore, but then I never really could.

Things could be a whole lot worse.

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be young again. I know everyone says that, but I mean it. I don’t covet the speed and dazzle and muscle tone of young women. They seem so fragile and needy of validation, so lacking in confidence, nervous laughter following every sentence, even from those well into their 20s. They take everything, including themselves too seriously…and they are speak so loudly in high pitched voices. They’ll get where they need to be, feel the strength, the solidity they’ll someday need to command—but they aren’t there yet and I don’t envy them the trip. It’s going to be harder for them, they don’t have my generation to back them up and clear the way for them.

But as I begin to become more aware of the fact that I’m getting older—once again the world is shaping itself to all of us boomers who are sharing this experience. Everyday foods are getting filled up with fiber, packages are getting easier to open, everything from fashionable shoes to moisture lotions have been re-thought to deal with the challenges of easy mobility and aging skin. Special bathtubs, adult living housing developments, even cell phones with really big numbers on the keypad–all just for us. There are more online communities, magazines, dating services and holiday locations catering to the over-50 crowd than ever before.

Even Martha Stewart is coming to the aid of our generation. A confirmed late bloomer who didn’t launch her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia until she was in her 50s, her latest book Living the Good Long Life moves away from her usual topics of cooking, decorating, caring for a home or garden to caring for oneself as the years go by. In a recent blog post, she calls it “a practical guide to living your healthiest life after 40, with tips from specialists on eating, exercise, wellness, organizing, and caring for others.”

With such a collective understanding of what me and my fellow and sister boomers will need as we age, I think we’re going to be just fine.

All I know is that I’m far more excited about what’s ahead of me than what’s behind me and I’m doing everything I can to embrace the changes aging brings.

With that in mind, Her Joyful Noise will be going into hiatus for the next month or so—but I’ll be back. My company is in the running for a number of really exciting opportunities, I’ve got a greenhouse full of budding plants and a huge lawn and garden that’s calling my name, a community yard sale to organize, maybe a trip or two—and in my spare time, I’m helping to found a new magazine – the premier issue is planned to be out in the fall.

For an old lady, clearly I’ve got a lot of stuff going on.


3 Comments on “Talking about my generation…”

  1. Like you, I think most of us have a lot of stuff going on. The younger generation seems to, incorrectly think we will be sitting around with time on our hands.

    • Joy Parks says:

      I think too, a certain amount of experience makes being incredibly busy seem effortless. You get smarter about how to get things done, you don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve been working in communications since I was 14 (I lied about my age to get a summer job with a weekly paper!) And I believe in the saying that if you love what you do, you never have a work a day in your life. I would be bored and lost without a packed schedule.

  2. Nicole Vallee says:

    Yup… there’s quite a lot to look forward to.

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