I am a baby boomer, meaning someone who is used to being at the epicenter of the latest, greatest and most happening. Well, the tide has shifted and my peers and I don't like it very much. We are used to being the Pied Pipers of change, not among the pests that were led away from the fun by the afore-mentioned. It's not an easy transition to go from being one of the cool kids to becoming invisible. We are closing in on 60 and beyond but like to think we are still in our mid-thirties. We hike and bike our butts off -- speaking of which, where did our asses go? They seem to have dropped and flattened, if not fattened. We listen to a wide range of music. Most of us dress in an eclectic disguise that we hope screams, "We are cool!" We've seen it all and what we haven't seen, we have hallucinated.
We boomers glued our place cards to the table long after the lights flashed and the last call came and went but we were still bounced to the curb. So, kicking and screaming, we are fighting back. We got smartphones and we got smarter at navigating our way around the Internet. We've become savvy at finding new 'likes': online dating, Scrabble, Skype, Twitter and every hot travel deal going. We've joined Facebook in droves (until our sons and daughters fought back by un-friending us). We show up at the concerts they go to wearing leggings, skinny jeans and skimpy tops. We really are having trouble taking a hint.
For those so inclined, there are way too many opportunities to grow old disgracefully. The appetite for booze, drugs, food and sex does not necessarily fade into the night; Viagra geezers and Cougars abound. And many of our flock have migrated to different pastimes: from online poker to porn and plastic surgeons. We've found doctors willing to fill our faces with the promise of eternal youth. But like a little spray from a seductive perfume, soon you are using too much. It starts with one little injectable to smooth out a frown, and then, just like those blondes who start out brunette and then get hooked until they become fully freeze-dried platinum bombshells, we sign on for whatever magic little pills and potions are offered.
Poof! It goes from simply getting older to joining a brand new tribe where everyone looks shinier than blown glass -- a new subspecies that wanders the planet with circular, non-closing eyes and inflated fish lips -- not looking younger, but just so similar to one another that it looks as if they were created by an "Erase-a-face" wand. A true case of identity theft.
Some of us have lost our way, turning from the beautiful, unique, flower children and politically motivated dissenters we once were to having become sell-out insomnia-driven online shoppers, dressing identically in hundred dollar stretch-pants, with a plastic bottle of water at the ready as we hunt for kale, chia seeds and the next miracle potion that will buy us more time.
But what will we do with all that time? Those with the ability, stamina and entrepreneurial gusto remain trailblazers, blasting forward as innovative as ever. Many are boarding the reinvention train as we opt out of retirement, not just to remain relevant but because life has gotten very expensive. We are living longer and we are going to need a pile of money to keep ourselves afloat. We don't want to be a burden to our children. They may not be able to afford us. Or they just may not want us to cramp their mid-century-modern lifestyles.
It's not all bad news. Some of it is awesome. We are free to roam the world, taking up whatever musical instrument or language we didn't previously have time or patience for. We have settled comfortably into this next phase, taking to grandparenting with zeal and pleasure and possibly as a second chance to get it right. Some old rockers are still banging their drums and strumming their guitars and will be until they fall totally off their rockers. I am one of those still seeking new adventures, along with a lifetime's worth of good friends and experience, all of us intent on keeping an open mind while continuing to dance to our own beat.
It really is about the survival of the fittest and the richest. I pray my pension won't run out before I figure out my next move or I might have to lead a Kickstarter campaign to replenish the collective wallets belonging to all the boomers who, like me, forgot to make money. It didn't seem important back in the day. It does now.