I gave a speech last Saturday afternoon to a group at the Venice Library. As you may or may not remember, my speech is on the topic of retirement: “Retirement Is Not An Option: Act 3.” It was a wet, cold Saturday afternoon and didn’t expect many people to show up. I had ten and was happy and then my brother and his wife surprised me with their presence. It was my birthday present to me. You see, Friday was my birthday – the magic 11-11-11 – and the universe chose to bless me with their presence. They were picking up a new car in San Diego and stopped by the library on the way back to Las Vegas. My brother and sister in law are a great audience themselves so I knew I was going to have fun.
I haven’t given this speech many times as yet – I do have many scheduled speaking events lined up the the next three months – so I haven’t had much exposure to the main themes of my speech. Before I get to the five tools I talk about to create an amazing Act 3, I riff on the subject of age and resistance. Those are the two elephants in the room that give most boomers pause. “Gee, I’m getting old;” or “Darn body is giving out;” or “I can’t do that kind of lifting anymore.” So, dude, fix your flabby abs, okay? You don’t have to run your inner computer down before you’re 70. And, dude, you’ve got options and opportunities to fix anything in your miserable aging life and most of them are free!
Okay, so back to the business of the two elephants in the room: age and resistance. I talk about age being an attitude more than a chronological age and how I feel 19 and how I’ve got my boyfriend convinced that I’m 19 (okay, so I don’t have a boyfriend) and that that our attitude about age influences our behavior. I’m cool. I’m a rock star. I’m 68 and I could dance tango all night. Of course, if you feel old, you are. People who feel young and energetic are jazzed about choosing their own destinies. Age has given us an advantage; it’s an asset. We’ve got some wisdom, experience and historical perspective. I’m pumped up about my age as well as being at ease with it.
After the speech, there was a lot of chatter and commenting and sense of liveliness and energy. A woman in the back row called me over. She had taken lots of notes but she didn’t look at all happy. In fact, she looked miserable. She told me she was still working and hated her job. She also revealed that she didn’t know what to write down when asked the question: “What is it you cannot live without in your life? and how sad she felt that she had no passion. And finally, she told me that when someone asks her how old she is, she freezes and can’t and won’t discuss it. The woman hated her age and found aging to be abhorrent.
Wow! I looked at her and really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even ask her how old she was but I guess it was somewhere between 57 and 60. I was actually kind of shocked about her fear of aging. I hadn’t expected that response to the speech. There were so many other things to comment on…but age? I was sad. I wondered how many other people in the universe (yes, boomers) were scared and frightened and depressed about aging. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a blast to get older, not look my age and act like I’m 19? No! I’ve met amazing people along the way who are movers and shakers and joyful and energized about growing older. Yet, there are some boomers like this woman who don’t want to face the reality that we are all getting older no matter how we fool ourselves.
I always think fear of aging is tied to fear of dying. If you follow my writings, you know that I believe that our lives are just a transition to dying – to leaving this earthbound universe but that our energy lives on. So along the path of life, we gather together the positive forces of energy and spread joy and hope as we open our hearts to life’s blessings. Why fill our life with struggles and fight demons that are of our own making. I wish I had a more inspiring way to bring this message to the woman in the back row, but I’m afraid she possessed the second elephant in the room – resistance. Maybe next time.