Retirement and the new face of senior citizendom

the third age

(Note: The editor of one of the newspapers for which I write, asked that I do a piece on the changing face of senior citizens.  I did it joyfully. Since  I did it as a favor and don’t think I’m getting paid – I present it to you first.)

Not that it’s anyone’s business, but some people have the gall to ask my age.  Rudeness is the rusty thread that runs through our society these day.

I have a good answer for the next time someone tries to wheedle that private information from those of us who have reached  “a certain age” – meaning O-L-D.

racing Welcome to the Third age.

The fact we are living longer and healthier lives means people will enter a “Third Age” rather than “retiring” from work and winding down. If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.  But it’s never too late to start.

Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James says that the word “retirement” shouldn’t be used by seniors because it no longer reflects the reality of growing old for the over-50s crowd.  Right on Honey girl! I’m never using the “R” word again – it conjures up visions of buns, bunions, rocking chairs and prunes.

That’s not the way I live and I don’t see it in my future.  Having said that, I’m saving up to get a bunion reduction as soon as possible.   Since I’ll be under anesthesia, I may even get breast implants if they offer a “two-fer.” Just kidding.

“The Third Age” should be looked upon as the first time most people will have the independence and money to live the kind of life they want, after decades spent juggling family and career demands. (Well, most people – I’m probably one of those old people who will be making hamburger helper with Kibbles and Bits, but I will serve it up with Chinese candles and cheap champagne.)

RepellingRedRock2006Perspective Ms Langcaster-James said: “The Third Age will present something of a ‘blank canvas’ for baby boomers. They do not see retirement as when they wind down, instead it is all about seizing the opportunities

Yes siree, my fellow boomers and I – we’re ramping it up a bit.   Tonight I’m going to try “repelling.”  Not the mountain climbing kind  (at left)- I’ll just repel the first man who walks over and begins to oogle the 20-something women in the room. His head will spin.

I recently competed in a half marathon.  I use the term “competed” lightly. It was more like “completed” and I was thrilled. I could never have done that 20 years ago because I didn’t have the time to train. My friend, Marie, recently won a trophy when she ran ran in  5-K.  No one will ever know she was the only one in her age group. But hey.  She still has the trophy sitting proudly on her coffee table.

Due to longer life spans, people will now spend close to a third of their lives in this Third Age when they will be healthier and wealthier than any generation before, according to The Death Of Retirement report commissioned by Standard Life.

Hey, I want to get a copy of that report. But first I have to take a nap.

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