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Being a card carryingÂ member of the firstÂ wave of baby boomers to appear on the planet, I feel fortunate to still be breathing.Â
Suddenly, without warning,Â some people have begun referring to the entire Boomer NationÂ as (gulp) â€śsenior citizens.â€ťÂ Â
Whoa. Not so fast,Â you folks who still have pigment in your hair. I prefer the term Â â€śchronologically gifted.â€ť Â Didnâ€™t you get the memo that the age bracket for seniorsÂ has officially been adjusted upward, andÂ 60 is the new 40?Â (I wish someone would tell my sciatic nerve.)
But I must say, aging has come with some delightful perks, especially the rediscovery of good, ole-fashioned fun.Â Maybe there is justice in the world after all.Â
Iâ€™m not talking about the grown-up kind of funÂ we had in ourÂ 30sÂ and 40s which involvedÂ bringing home a fat paycheckÂ orÂ airline ticketsÂ to some foreign land.Â Itâ€™sÂ the kind we had atÂ age seven when we still believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.Â
Giving the dog a bath or painting your bicycle orange was fun back then and trust me, it will be again, sooner than you realize.
First,Â youâ€™ve got to reorder your priorities. A fewÂ weeks into retirement I discovered IÂ wasnâ€™t having all that much fun.Â Talk about depressing.Â All I had done for 40 years was go to work,Â raise children and do some short-order cooking. I had no hobbies and no simple pleasures â€“ well, except for my morning coffee.
I had few friendsÂ â€“ save those I had worked with and theyÂ were too busy to go drag racingÂ with me. With an abundance ofÂ free time and a calendar that wasnâ€™t full of to-dosÂ like â€śfinish science project,â€ťÂ â€śshovel dirt out of the house,â€ť andÂ â€śsave the world,â€ťÂ IÂ accidentally stumbled acrossÂ the ability to have fun again.Â Â
But first, I had to be willing to toss caution to the wind andÂ break the rules.Â Go ahead and block out your motherâ€™s voice and take candy from strangers,Â and by all means,Â wear white shoes after Labor Day.Â Heck.Â I wore white shoes todayÂ â€“ with pink socks. (The younger generation expects us to be tacky, and I can do tacky.)
You can paint your guest room fuchsia, then take the left-over paint outside and paint big floppy flowers on your fence.Â You can purchase a tiara at the toy store and wear it to the supermarket.Â I never got to be a beauty queen, but I can now wearÂ myÂ newÂ tiara to The Piggly Wiggly and attract all kinds of strange people to add to my â€śnew friendsâ€ť list.
You can even be the life of the party (if the party ends by 8 p.m.)
If you find yourself with a rusty â€śfunny boneâ€ť â€“ try the following exercise which will get youÂ moving in the right direction.
Make a list
Set a timer, andÂ for 10 minutes write as fast as you can, without editing, all the things youâ€™d like to do. Donâ€™t think. Just write. Donâ€™t judge, and donâ€™t give yourself time to wonder if it will get you committed orÂ make youÂ a laughing stock.
Just let the thoughts fly onto the page as fast as your brain can spit them out.Â My list included: pour a whole bottle of bubble bath inÂ the tub, make a batch of fudge to share with no one, andÂ read a great murder mystery in bed while eatingÂ crackers.Â Think of everything youâ€™ve everÂ wanted to do but were repressed by decorum.Â
When your 10 minutes are up, pick twoÂ â€“ the ones that wonâ€™t get you incarceratedÂ â€“ and do them. You will acquire a new daring attitude and your list will keep growing.Â Suddenly, every day becomes a great adventure and youâ€™ll make friends with other emancipated people.
Never forget that people, like fine wine, grow more valuable with age.Â Iâ€™m just hoping Iâ€™m not a bottle of Ripple.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.Â Visit her at http:// www.deludeddiva.com.