Time for all the baby boomers to grow up into Zoomers

(this is a reprint of an article from newsdurhamregion.com – bears spreading!)

Newfound attitude could have positive side-effects for those of a more mature age

Sep 25, 2008

By Grace Stevenson

I suspected it would happen and it has. The baby boomers have reached the age known as “senior” and are about to “reinvent the notion of old.”

My first indication of this came when the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres lowered the age of admission to 55, putting to shame the many over 65 who, through the years, have refused to join this organization because of the word “senior” in its name.

Immediately programs were added to allow these new members to do what they wanted to do — exercise more strenuously, enhance their computer skills and enjoy evening and Saturday activities.

A more telling indication has been the decision by CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) to let Moses Znaimer take over their magazine. Deciding he hated all the usual words for those reaching a mature age, he christened us all Zoomers, an obvious evolution from the word Boomers.

But where does that leave us, we who gave birth to this boomer generation and still consider ourselves active members of society? We aren’t averse to the words senior and elder, considering them synonyms for wiser and more experienced. I was never a boomer and I refuse to be called a zoomer.

In his introductory letter in CARP magazine, now renamed Zoomer, Mr. Znaimer implies that seniors prior to his arrival on their scene, have “given up,” the man “stuffing himself into the same tux he bought years ago, the woman careless about her appearance because she no longer believes she’s attractive.”

Those are fighting words, Mr. Znaimer!

Just as the boomers took over every facet of life during my last 40 years — filled stores with clothes I couldn’t wear; assaulted my ears with raucous sounds that bore no resemblance to what I call music; and served food I’d never heard of in my youth; now they’ve filled my magazine with pictures of curvy young women and Adonis-like men and articles of no interest to my mature mind.

I did approve of one though. In it the author opined there’ll be no stigma about memory loss from now on, forgetting things will just be referred to as “data dumping.”

My first feeling when this magazine arrived was anger, fury in fact. But I now realize that, just as these boomers shaped the world their way through their growing up years, they’ll now change everything in their new world.

Mr. Znaimer is aiming for a membership of a million for CARP. I’m sure this dynamic man will obtain it. And when he does, the strength he’ll wield in advocating change will be awesome.

We’ll have more and better senior residences and nursing homes; numerous gerontology doctors and nurses; a never ending supply of subsidized caregivers for those who want to live on their own; and more handicapped spaces wherever we want to park.

Yes, life will be rosy for the Zoomers. I just have to stick around long enough to enjoy some of their spoils.

7 Tips for Getting Your Boomer Mojo On!

Peace signThese are seven easy things we can do to reinvigorate our Boomerness – combining what made us great back in the day, with what makes us great now – for SUPERGREATNESS! (add the echo for full effect):

  1. We started the “caring about the environment” movement – and we are needed again.  We kinda got lost on this front, and have actually over the last 20 years lead the way for ultra-consumption and environmental carelessness just so we could feel  important/valuable (the 2-3 homes, the BMW, the power-boat, all the trappings of looking successful that are environmental killers..!).  So, to get going on this one, pick just one thing – make it a big one – to change from environmentally hazardous to “clean and green”.  By big, I mean trade that gas-guzzling car for one that gets at least 1/3 greater mileage (a standard “luxury” vehicle gets about 17 city/22 highway at best – a really fun to drive and surprisingly ample Honda Civic Coupe gets 30 city and anywhere from 35-45 highway depending on manual or automatic); trade that way too big vacation home for a much smaller but still lovely town-house or condo.
  2. We were the first generation to rebel against a “trumped up war” – and of course history has shown the Vietnam conflict to have been just that.  This step is not about war per se, but staying on top of what your elected officials are doing, why they’re doing it, and not letting them get away with bad behavior, poor decisions, and shoddy leadership simply because they can count on us not paying attention….or worse yet, not caring.  Get reconnected to your belief in what’s right, and hold accountable those who decide what happens in your life – START PAYING ATTENTION.
  3. Which leads to the obvious next step….VOTING….  We spent lots of time in our youth “dropping out” as a form of rebellion, and we’re still doing it…but in the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons.  It doesn’t work when it comes to electing those people who will vastly influence our lives for years to come.  Someone will be voted in – by not making your voice heard, someone else’s will be – it’s that simple.  So goofus down the street is choosing your Senator for you.  Not a pretty picture.  And if you need further convincing, the extreme closeness of so many elections literally shows that every single vote can make the difference between a win or loss.  OK, you hate all the candidates?  Another excuse – pick the lesser of to weevils – better a half-wit than Beelzebub.  P.S. – we’re being completely out Boomered by our kids…
  4. Back to “dropping out” – here’s where it is the right strategy, therefore tip #4.  The time to NOT do things for a huge impact is when you “vote with your wallet”!  Don’t buy from places that are known for poor human resource practices, for exploiting third world labor or natural resources (Chevron ravaging people’s farms without providing them compensation for their loss of income) without actually providing a benefit to that country or it’s people (very different from just paying “low wages” by US standards…), don’t buy from huge conglomerates when you have a local merchant struggling to survive, and don’t buy items that aren’t environmentally friendly (whenever possible).  Now that’s dropping out smartly!
  5. Contrary to popular belief from the Boomer myths swirling around, the extraordinary changes we created were not from our Pollyanna-like optimism.  In fact, it was from our pessimism and lack of faith in everything from “the man” to all the accepted institutions (like marriage, big business, and anything that required shoes…).  So, let’s use that pessimism that still lives within us!  Actually, now it’s more a healthy cynicism and an unwillingness to just believe everything we hear/see without getting all the facts behind it.  So that’s tip #5 – refuse to “do what you’re told” whether it’s by a doctor or the media.  Stay in charge of all you think, believe, and therefore act upon.
  6. We Boomers were famous for insisting people “tell it like it is!”  And we stopped doing just that.  We keep “should’ing all over ourselves and everyone else.  In fact, should shouldn’t be in the dictionary.  It’s a conditional verb, which begs the question, “conditional on what??”  Well, that’s the thing.  Conditional on whether you/they “will” or “won’t” – “can” or “can’t” – so, just say what you really mean!  When you say “should” you set everyone up for a lose-lose – your expectations are not clear, they can’t possibly live up to something that’s not well defined…and everyone’s unhappy.  When you stop should’ing, you at last know where you really stand – and you are much more powerful!
  7. Think “and/both” not “either/or”.  #6 notwithstanding, you will be much better able to find solutions to problems when you don’t back yourself into a fabricated corner.  You can have screwed up your new eating habits (notice I didn’t say the “d” word) and get back on it tomorrow.  Your spouse can be clueless about your favorite whatever and still love you immensely.  Bottom line, when you get in the habit of seeing all the options not just the ones in black and white, you’ll be oh so much happier – and accomplished.