Creaky joints, back pain and stiff shoulders are a way of life for many boomers as we now enter the third period of an unpredictable and tough game. Bumps, bruises and the odd metaphorical concussion over the years have taken a toll and we now rely on our innate skills of playing the game like pros to get us through each day. It takes a little more effort to hoist ourselves up from our LaZgirl chair and leaping up stairs two at a time is a distant memory. When we reflect back on our younger working days with stressful jobs, families and little to no time to ourselves, we wonder how we had the stamina. The answer is simple. We were young.
That’s not to say this stage of life isn’t without benefits. Many years ago when I asked my Aunt Lois to describe the best and happiest time in her life she unhesitatingly answered “When your Uncle Ron and I first retired”. That’s the stage most baby boomers are at right now and speaking from personal experience, I couldn’t agree with her more. There’s no place I’d rather be than now. There are so many benefits:
- We’re finally our own “boss of me”. No more daily grind, going to the workplace in overpacked subways and buses or sitting in traffic jams on overcrowded highways.
- Seniors discounts—all over the place—at certain retailers on particular days of the week, movie theatres, public transit. Even the fee-hungry, greedy banks give us free chequing, just for being, you know, old.
- OAC (old age pension) and CPP (Canada Pension Plan), lovely little automatic deposits into our bank accounts every month, after a lifetime of payout.
- Time management is now purely a matter of personal choice. We’re no longer subject to the tyranny of report deadlines, sales quotas or production schedules. We can now choose if and when we want to golf, play tennis or go to yoga classes. This includes the ability to say “No” without the accompanying guilt.
- We can toss the Spanx and stilettos because we’re no longer beholden to the latest fashion fads. We finally know what works best for each of us and can opt for comfort.
- We’re financially comfortable. As my friend Margaret likes to say, “I have enough.” We realize that relationships are the true foundations of happiness. With close friends, a roof over our heads, a warm bed and assurance of three squares a day, we’re in heaven.
- No longer sleep deprived, we can stay in bed as long as we like on cold mornings and grab a few zzzz’s in the afternoon if we feel like it.
- Even though we occasionally forget where we left our keys or why we entered a room, we’re considerably and blessedly smarter and wiser now. No more worries about making bad choices in romance, fashion and lifestyle. We’ve finally sorted things out and disposed of most of the crap in our lives.
- Thanks to the movement started all those years ago by Tommy Douglas, we have universal health care. And because we’re Canadian, we don’t have to sell the car or mortgage the condo to pay for a hip replacement or refill our cholesterol and gout meds.
- Our #metoo days are pretty much behind us and that’s a good thing. No more competing for jobs, recognition and attention from the opposite sex. At our age, most boomers are now well beyond the scope of predators. We know we’re fantastic and that’s good enough for us.
Every day is a gift and we’re now the best we’ll ever be. This is the best perk of all. As Mary Pipher said in a recent New York Times article, “Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.” Let’s just to it.
Our music has stood the test of time. And we can still dance to it. I’m constantly amazed at how much I’m enjoying this stage of life. We’ve earned an ice advantage, there’s no pressure to score. Post-menopausal women over the years have often touted their lives after menopause as being the best but I think they predated it a bit. It’s actually when we retire that we hit the real sweet spot. Keep your stick on the ice ladies. As baby boomer women we are now playing the best game of our lives. And it’s oh soooo sweet.
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