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Here comes the silver tsunami

January 21, 2012

The kids of ‘47, my confreres, the infamous boomlets, have reached a milestone year.
I’m puzzled though. Wasn’t it a month ago that we were playing “spin the bottle,” then packing 10 teenagers into Daddy’s big ole Buick to go to the drive-in movie?
Wasn’t it last week we were marching down the aisle to receive our diplomas and dancing the night away at the graduation party afterwards?
Wasn’t it just this morning that our newborn looked up and smiled at us even though we all knew it was just gas?
It has been brought to my attention that the kids of ‘47 will be turning 65 this year. I guess I forgot, or maybe I just blocked it out. How did we get here so fast? Is this some kind of cosmic trick being played prematurely on Baby Boomers who are working feverishly to hold on to their youth even though it went missing about 20 years ago.
At least two of my old gang have already celebrated their 65th year on the planet, and two more will follow in the next three weeks. I suspect we’ll get together soon and do a lot of screaming.
But not so fast. With exercise, Botox and a good hair colorist, maybe we can delay the passing the torch of youth for a while longer. After all, they say old age is always 15 years older than you are.
And listen, don’t you dare call us “elderly” yet, or we’ll run you down with our Hover Rounds or trip you up with the legs on our walkers. 
I made a huge mistake this morning when I cleaned my make-up mirror with Windex. Believe me, I look a whole lot better through a thin veneer of dust and grime. The only good thing about wrinkles is that they don’t hurt.
Here’s my solution to an instant face lift that doesn’t cost a penny. Smile. A lot. It lifts your drooping features on the spot. Now you understand why I cruise around town wearing sunglasses and a goofy grin.   
Something like 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of the U. S. population, are trying to redefine what it means to be “older.” 
The Silver Tsunami is moving in, y’all, and big business is trying to help us out. They now use larger headlines in newspapers and magazines, and clothes have been downsized so that my former size 12 is now a size 6. Loving that.
Turning 65 is one of life’s most significant passages. On one hand we relish reaching retirement age and the freedom from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. existence. On the other, we feel a bit of panic, suddenly realizing the clock is ticking, and we only have so many years left to reach our dreams.
Speaking for myself I feel fortunate to have made it this far. Some of the kids of ‘47 didn’t. But what I see when I look in the mirror is nothing like the vision I carry in my head of the 16-year old I used to be.  Where did she go, and why did she leave me here with with this body?
So, kids of ‘47, raise your bowl of Fiber 1 topped with brain-cell enriching blueberries and soy milk, and give yourself a happy birthday toast. Life marches on, and we’d better hold on tight. This next phase of our lives is likely to be a wild ride.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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