I have a new name for those of us 60 and older: the Amazings.
We are busting preconceptions, forcing by our very numbers, the world to look at us differently. We are redefining the years past 60 as years of growth, joy, fun, adventure, even romance!
We are - Amazing.
We who are somewhere between 60 and death, are forcing the world to see us beyond our wrinkles, thinning hair and bum knees. We run marathons, kill on the golf course, tango on the dance-floor, hike the national parks, and out-yoga a surprising number of Millennials.
To wit, a highly entertaining and somewhat shocking YouTube that is a true "must-see," entitled "Millennials Show the World What They Believe Old Looks Like." Judging from the video, Millennials have a narrow view of what "old" really means. Apparently, Millennials have never heard of Harriet Thompson, age 92, a two time cancer survivor who made history in June of 2015 by becoming the oldest woman to ever finish a marathon (her 16th); 26 miles in 7 hours 24 minutes 36 seconds. Nor of George Blevins, a regular bowler for 93 years, who won his most recent National Senior Games singles tournaments at age 100. Much less of Bill Griffiths, 90, and his sweetheart Flo Marshallsay, 96, whose wedding ceremony this year was reported as far away as Australia and Japan.
Yet you would think Millennials would have heard of Betty White, still entertaining us live with her charm and humor at 94, and Dick Van Dyke who landed every 10 year old's dream: a spectacular Disneyland Park celebration put on exclusively for his 90th birthday last year.
What we Amazings want Millennials (and every generation) to know, is that these individuals are not the exception. There are over 45 million people in the United States alone who are 65 and over (44.7 in 2013, according to the US Census). Most of these individuals are happy, healthy, and having a grand old time. Almost 80% of them own their own homes, and fully 72% voted in the last Presidential election.
The good news is, anyone can become an Amazing. Starting at any age (the earlier the better), all it takes is a deliberate decision to see the passage of years as simply movement through time. Nothing more. To get your appreciation and gratitude in gear, for that is what will engender happiness and optimism. Which, put together, are what support a strong immune system, good cardiovascular health, and less likelihood of diabetes or depression--the underpinnings of joy and vitality at any age.
For those who are younger, get to know us. And if you're an Amazing, celebrate yourself. We, the many 60+ers who have come through the challenges of life alert, happy, healthy (mostly), strong (surprisingly) and are eager for what each new day brings. We who have learned to appreciate the smile of a friend, the taste of a morning coffee, the glow of the rising sun. We who don't take any of it for granted, for whom life has become more precious with each passing day. Precisely because we know that we all have an expiration date, we plunge into life with whatever is still available to us--be that of body, mind or spirit--despite whatever condition our various parts are in. We who refuse to roll over and play dead before...we are dead.
We are - the Amazings!