Boomer Reflections: I’d Rather Be an Old Lady Than a Teenager

We baby boomers don’t like to admit that we’re getting old. Botox, face lifts, cellulite removal, and tummy tucks; they all sell. So far, I’ve resisted the lure of the age-denying fix. Good genetics and living a disgustingly healthy lifestyle have insulated me somewhat from the ravages of aging. My aging complaints, by any objective standard, are relatively minor.

Nonetheless, I notice an accumulation of unsettling, creepy things happening to my body. It threw me for a loop when I had to replace my Imelda Marcos-worthy shoe collection and get my wedding ring re-sized, due to bunions and arthritis. Nor am I happy seeing scalp where there once was a thick crop of hair. I get no thrill out of suddenly realizing that everyone in the room is younger than I and probably calls me an old lady behind my back. Even more disturbing, I’ve turned into somewhat of a scatterbrain, misplacing items and religiously relying on To-Do lists. This new persona, which I have often derogatorily referred to as being a “space cadet,” stands in stark contrast to my earlier ability to maintain a Tiger Wood’s-like laser focus (pre-scandal Tiger, that is.) In my law practice days, my secretary could come into my office, remove something from my desk and I was none the wiser.

As a glass-half-full person, I can’t let this planned obsolescence of body and brain get me down. Experience tells me that things are only good or bad by comparison. Recently I hit on a technique I want to share with you. I was racking my brain to think of a phase in my life that trumped aging as a bigger downer, and it hit me: being a teenager.

I now delight in recalling the days when the zit monster took over my face, my emotions went from deliriously happy to suicidal in 2 seconds flat, and I felt totally confused and befuddled by almost everything in life. When I really need to cheer myself up, I find joy in reflecting upon some of the crazy, reckless things I did in my youth. A few examples will suffice. I routinely hitchhiked and would jump into any car that stopped, no matter how drug addled the driver, had unprotected sex in the time of illegal abortions, and happily experimented with a variety of illegal substances. Somehow I survived all that and hopefully my judgment is a little better now.

All in all, when I think back to my life at 16, which I now make a point to do on a regular basis, it’s no contest: I’ll take 56 years-old.

Lorie Eber, JD is a Gerontologist and Certified Personal Trainer, who teaches Gerontology at Coastline Community College. She is also a writer and a Keynote Speaker on Healthy Living, Healthy Aging and Elder Care issues. Lorie’s Dad is 93 years-old and suffers from vascular dementia. Visit her website: www.AgingBeatsTheAlternative.com

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