Life gives you choices as one moves into a baby boomer world. You can slide into a well-deserved, peaceful obscurity with your family and friends in your retirement years, keeping up with a hobby and doing a good deed or two. Or you can make a splash! Jump into your later years celebrating your new freedoms and challenges with a cannonball that soaks everyone around and makes your part of the world smile!
Many choose a calm life, relieved that life with all its inherent confusion, frenetic activity, and worries are finally giving them a breather. Surprisingly, almost as many choose to use the time once the kids have gone off on their own to get involved like they couldn’t before. They choose to try activities that intrigued them when they were younger but that the logistics and finances of raising children and fulfilling responsibilities kept them from doing.
Now that you are older, you may think just getting up from a comfortable recliner is difficult enough, what can you possibly do? Lucille Borgen has one answer — water skiing! At about age 50, she decided she wanted to try it and she did. At age 94, she competed in the Water Ski Nationals. Men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s run marathons – Buster Martin was still running at age 101. He set a goal and trained to build up his strength and endurance and didn’t stop until he made it. And he kept going after that!
Our bodies are made to be used. Of course, not everyone is inspired by dreams of great athletic prowess even when young. You may have wisdom to impart, a great idea that the world can use. Peter Mark Roget, at the age of 73, saw his idea brought to fruition when his work was published in 1852. That Roget’s Thesaurus that came in so handy when you had papers to write, thoughts to express? That was his late-life brainchild that people still use today.
Perhaps you wanted to right a social wrong but didn’t feel it was right to be involved in something potentially dangerous when you had small children, or a career to protect. That may have been a sensible decision — but can you do it now? Is your heart burning with a desire to make a difference in a certain social or political arena? The wisdom that comes with age and experience is valuable to humanity. Once you’ve lived long enough to have seen what’s been tried but failed and what’s been tried and has succeeded, you know where your efforts will do the most good. Small or large efforts make your piece of the world a better place.
Ruth Smith (80 years old) collects plastic bags and cuts them into strips to send to Nicaraguan workers who weave the strips to make purses. This effort keeps the plastic out of landfills a bit longer and gets more use out of them. The sales of these purses offer a way for the Nicaraguan women to triumph over poverty and contribute to their households. Fred Kummerow, at the age of 94 in 2009, conducted research on the health effects of trans fat. He petitioned the FDA to ban it from American foods and has brought a major health problem to the attention of us all. Arlen Specter was 75 and still involved in the embryonic stem cell debate as well as many other political issues. After all, he is a U.S. Senator!
Whatever you know, whatever you can do, however you can help; it’s all waiting for you to step out and get involved. You may be the very best one for the job! Your example can be the one to inspire others to step out and continue the work or give them courage to take the steps to start their own mission in life. It’s never too early and it’s never too late to make your “corner of the world” a better place.
The Nurses at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to stay healthy at home with RN managed affordable care. We are a senior care agency providing elder home care serves to baby boomers in the Orlando area, 407-788-9393.