We are so much older now
On a summer walk at Lake Junaluska, a young family passed me going in the other direction. I overheard the daughter, who looked to be about 9, say to her younger brother, “When you’re 45, you’ll be a lot older than you are now.”
Wow, I thought to myself. How about adding another 20 years to that — and you have millions of Baby Boomers who are now senior citizens.
How can this be? My 50th high school reunion is being planned for next summer. Fifty years? That’s absolutely shocking.
Time is flying by so fast, it’s hard to comprehend. Remember when summer seemed to go on forever? Now, as country star Kenny Chesney sings, “Don’t blink” — all the seasons are sailing by us at time-warp speed.
I posted a few childhood photos taken in the 1950s during “Throw Back Thursday” on Facebook. It made me think about how different it was back then. We couldn’t wait to go outdoors after school — we rode bicycles, climbed trees and played Davy Crockett and Mickey Mouse Club. We walked to school unescorted by our parents. Think about that — we walked by ourselves and were not driven by parents.
Dinner back then was a family affair. We ate whatever our parents cooked and didn’t complain. The sad part about looking at the old photos is that the childhood pictures are starting to fade.
But our memories of the next decade, the tumultuous 1960s, are not fading — they are indelibly etched into our brains. High school was a mix of old-fashioned boys-and-girls-getting-to-know-each-other, which was then complicated by an explosion of pop culture and music of the “British Invasion.”
College was a reawakening of minds, personal freedom and social activism. We marched to end the Vietnam War and we were certain we were going to change the world. “Must see TV” shows like Ed Sullivan made way for the raucous Laugh-In and the spellbinding lunar landing.
The 1970s and 1980s led us to careers, marriage for some/divorce for some and the birth of children. Enter the 1990s, and we could point to success in our careers or growth of our families — and a Baby Boomer became President of the United States.
The world changed with the dawn of the millennium. The USA was attacked. Parents started to pass away. Boomers became grandparents. We went through a worldwide recession, just as we were thinking about retirement nest eggs and the next stage in life.
Some had to go back to work; some took early retirement. But, we turned 60, and wondered what would be ahead for us. Several of our friends passed away, just short of being able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
We rejoiced when we got our Medicare cards and couldn’t believe we were on Social Security. After 50 years of working, some, like me, retired. My husband and I have begun to travel in earnest — while we are still physically able to do so.
Now we are contemplating turning 70 in a few years and wondering what the Golden Years will hold in store for us.
So, here we are folks. We are now “Elderheads,” as a young person called us at a Grateful Dead concert. How did this happen? In the blink of an eye…..