Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Old? What the Hell Is That?

He travels with his wife on a motorcycle. The expiration date on his driver’s license is six years from now. He regularly drinks martinis, rides 17 miles a day on a bicycle and is a competition skier … in a 70+ Ski club in Michigan. But wait. That’s not the best part. He just celebrated another birthday, which moved him into the next age category in the ski club. Lou Batori is now 100 years old. OK, so he is the ONLY person in the 100+ category, but there are many skiers in that club with 90+, 80+ and 70+ designations. Next time I hear a 45-year-old co-worker whine about being old, I will give her this link.

I have said many times that I plan to throw a 100th birthday party for myself. My friends who read this are mostly in their 40s and 50s … you know who you are and you better well stay alive and healthy because I expect you to be at that party, even if I have to drive over and pick you up myself.

My friends of all ages know how much I hate talking about my own age and they probably know it is partly because of the not-so-subtle age discrimination boomers are beginning to face. Honestly it pisses me off that anybody thinks people between the ages of 47 and 65 are old. I’m sure that people the age of boomer’s parent thought 65 was the end of the line. Boomers, however, often look at that number and the first page of Chapter Two. Ask me when I get there; I’m sure I’ll be one of them.

People under age 47 should keep in mind boomers still rule the world; we have the money, we spend the money. We are probably spending it at your businesses or buying something for you.

Here are a few random statistics about boomers to help back up my claim: There are 78 million of us, we account for half of all spending on goods and services (an annual average of over $42,000) and we’re not dying off (many of us can expect to live into our 90s).

A few more examples of why aging ain’t what it used to be:

A friend’s 70+ parents recently got a divorce. As sad as that is for all concerned, it does show that those two septuagenarians are moving on with their lives and not letting an arbitrary number stop them. They apparently plan to be around to live through whatever is next for them.

My mother started art lessons in her 60s, still walked to the grocery every Wednesday for mid-week shopping in her 70s and rode her stationary exercise bike into her 80s. Through much of that time she did her best to keep up with the world by reading the daily newspaper cover to cover and watching the local TV news twice a day, even though she had significant vision and hearing problems.

My mother’s youngest brother became a widow in his early 80s, met a “younger woman” a few years later (by “younger” I mean in her 70s). They fell in love and married shortly after his 86th birthday. I’m betting there are some things he did not need help with in their assisted living facility.

What’s the point of this? “Old” is a state of mind and people like Lou Batori serve as role models for staying young. And unless you’re just kidding around, don’t call me old till you’re at my party watching me blow out 100 candles.

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