I call them "The Sextennials" -- over 60 and sexy.
My 80s feel like late middle-age to me, and my goal is to continue having a sex life at 90. If I can manage that, I will consider my life to have been a success. I think sex is crucial in living a full life, and none of us should ever give up on it. That's why I prefer the term "Sextennial" to "Baby Boomer."
If you are over 60 or even a good bit over, it's time to rethink the whole age thing.
We are now in the 21st century. A whole new century that seems to be shaping up in ways that are very different from the preceding one. This will be a century totally different from any before.
In the 19th century, being 60 and up was really old and relatively rare. In the 20th century, there were many more people passing the age of 60, but they were looked upon as retirees that needed to be put someplace to drift away without being a bother to busy people.
Now it's a whole new ballgame. If you're over 60 you may well live another 30 years. A third of your life! Surely you're not going to spend that time sitting about. You have a life to live.
This year the oldest Baby Boomers hit 66. They are the largest age group in the population. And they are used to handing out decisions, making things happen, living fully.
Now all the old ideas about what that means have to be changed. The Sextennials are not heading off to retirement homes. They are not looking for some sweet and sunny view over the hills and dales. They are way too young for all that.
I think I can speak for the Sextennials, as I am actually an Octennial.
I am 82 and raging forward with a number of books in the works and a revived theater career that is heading me Off-Broadway at the moment. My next book will be called "How to Hit 70 Doing 100" and things don't look like they are going to slow down.
So if you are in this group, now is the time to do all that living that you may have missed out on. Women are big leaders in this category. Throughout their lives they have cared for others and probably held a job at the same time. They've cooked, cleaned, raised kids, helped a lot of other people with their lives. Now it's their turn.
Recent statistics show that many couples are divorcing in their mid-50s and 60s. These divorces are largely prompted by the women involved. Their relationships have gone aground. They have their own incomes and they want out.
According to Smart Money, Americans over the age of 65 make up 18 percent of the work force. They have incomes and they have plans for themselves.
Think about what you've done if you are in this interesting and energetic new category.
Have you studied everything you want to know about? Have you actually worked at the work you would like to have done but couldn't afford to? Have you had the sex you wanted to have? It isn't too late in any way.
I often say: "You can never be said to have ruined your life after 70." And certainly no one is in a position to criticize your decisions after 60. Forget what the neighbors think if you ever worried about that. Now they can only envy you.
And even more important than leading the life you have always wanted and are entitled to, there is the role of what I call "The New Maverick."
You are an experienced person. You are not getting older, you are becoming more sophisticated. You are in the position to inspire others, show the way to others, break the mold and head off in a new and free direction. Younger people need you to show the way.
Historically in many cultures the ones who have lived the longest are the ones who are considered to know the most, to know the best. In the ancient Chinese world the sages had all the prestige. And still today in much of the world it is the Elders of the tribes who are turned to for decisions.
We should forget about dropping out of society and even worse ... being dropped out of society ... just because we are no longer in the first two-thirds of our lives.
We are in the strongest voting bloc.
We are the ones to put pressure on politicians to show their compassion, to not clutch up in expensive little encampments and ignore the needy. That is not American behavior and as New Mavericks the Sextennials need to make it clear that we aren't afraid and we aren't planning to take cover and we aren't going to remain voiceless.
So now, about you.
Do you qualify as a Sextennial? Here's a little questionnaire for you:
1. Are you over 60?
2. Do you feel you've missed out on some things in life?
3. Would you like to fulfill yourself?
4. Are there subjects you would have liked to have studied?
5. Are there places you would have liked to have lived? (Not just visited.)
6. Do you really care what the neighbors think?
7. Are there sexual areas you would still like to explore?
8. Do you still meet people you'd like to sleep with?
9. Do the next 30 years look like they could be fun?
10. Are you determined to live, love, laugh and be happy?
Come on! Something tells me you are a Sextennial!
As Judy Garland sang " ... we've been through the mill." We've seen it all and we still love being alive. We're planning to live a lot more yet, perhaps in ways that may shock our younger friends and relatives.
And we don't care. Because we are the Sextennials! We are the New Mavericks.
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