In a culture where someone live-tweets a birth and in the same week a 70-year-old announces to the world that she's tired of being a virgin and is looking for someone to do something about it, maybe it's time to have a national conversation about what it means to "act appropriately."
I'd argue that boomers should rightfully take the lead here, since ours was the generation that challenged all proprietary norms from premarital sex to finally talking about the love-that-knows-no-name. We questioned authority and insisted that the world reexamine what, until then, had been taken for granted. I think we've done good, up til now.
But now that we're crossing into Medicareville, how far do we actually want to go with the old everyone "just doing their own thing" thing?
Personally, I've had enough. For me, there are days when it feels like America has taken a big giant swallow of stupid. From Oprah and Dr. Phil to bloggers talking about their orgasms and open marriages, we've turned the world into one big confessional. People don't do anything unless it's being videotaped for YouTube. Are we in a competition to see who can out-shock the next guy? It's all TMI, as my teenager would say, and I can personally go to my grave a happy woman without ever having seen nude photos of Octomom.
More than not understanding this need to tell the world your deepest, most intimate life details, I don't actually get who cares about it. The 55-year-old grandma who wants to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader? While I can certainly tick off a list of nobler pursuits she might consider, I wish her the best of luck. But I do wonder at what point she decided that merely trying out for the squad wasn't enough and that she also had to announce it to the universe and pose with her gams showing? And our role? It's like a train wreck and we just can't turn our eyes away.
I'd say boomers need to be more pro-active when this sort of thing happens, especially when it's one of our own. It's kind of like the shoulder-tap you give someone when they walk out of the public restroom with toilet paper stuck on their shoe. You tap them on the shoulder and silently point down. It's an act of kindness that stops them from embarrassing themselves while they live in oblivion.
And while we're discussing appropriate behavior, might it be even be time for boomers to turn the conversation around to the age appropriateness of what we do? Some people think so.
Matt Labash opined recently in the New York Times that mid-lifers should hang up their skateboards. He calls it both sad and dangerous for a guy to be long-boarding with "his balance greatly diminished, his body mass index greatly increased since his glory days."
I have my own disagreeing (and disagreeable) commenters to deal with and will leave Labash's to him. My feeling is that if someone still has the physical agility to board -- whether it be skate, snow or surf -- go for it. I'm just not sure they need to dress for the part the way teenagers are dressing for it. I've always believed there was nothing wrong with wearing a wetsuit when you surf, especially one that hides stretch marks.
Personally, I'm more comfortable not being mistaken for someone trying to chase her youth. I still go to the beach, just not in a bikini. I still hike, just not in short-shorts. I still live, love and enjoy life -- just in a more age-conscious way. I take care of myself because I want to be healthy, but I am not locked in battle against the aging process and don't need to have lips swollen to the size of peaches or breasts so big they enter the room five minutes before the rest of me.
Without question, our generation is a healthier lot than those who came before us. And there's no reason to hang up our skis, put away our passports or not try new things just because we're post 50. But when I see a contemporary carrying his guitar in the supermarket and greeting people with "Hey dude," I want to point out the toilet paper stuck on his shoe.
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