Are you one of the baby boomers who refuse to follow the traditional retirement path? Do you refuse to sleep late, or sit in a rocking chair and watch aimlessly as time goes by?
You see us in almost every neighborhood. We are volunteering, working part-time, or starting a new career. We are taking brisk morning walks in Parks and inside Malls. We are flexing our muscles at the gym and shopping at health food stores.
We do Yoga, Tai Chi, have read The Tao Te Ching, and follow the teachings of Lao Tzu. We meditate daily, get regular massages and know what “Co Q-10” is.
We are not old people. We are Baby Boomers living a second life. We have an eclectic choice of new lifestyles. We are using online dating services to find partners that have similar interests. We are having second and third time partners and/or marriages.
Some of us are letting our gray hair show, and doing it with style.
We are growing old gracefully, in active harmony with this late season of life. We would rather wear out than rust out.
What this unique group of people recognize is that their main limitation in all these lifestyle choices is their health condition. Money is not as much an obstacle. Much of what they participate in is either free or at little cost. Some continue to work because they need the money. For others it is to keep their brain active and engaged.
For me it is a combination of both. I love the idea, the process, and monetary reward of re-inventing myself. I was sixty-one when I went back to school to become a licensed massage therapist, it was an amazing experience for me. I was the oldest student in all my classes. I was three times the age of many of my classmates. Being fit was a huge asset in my successful completion of this mentally intensive and physically demanding program. Only 50% of students that begin, graduate, pass the state exam, and obtain their license to practice massage therapy. Many fail on the first try.
The cliché is true. You are never too old to learn. I quickly settled into my daily study and massage practice routine. We had daily practice massages, two tests each week, a “Pop Quiz” on Wednesdays and a full test on Fridays. I did this while juggling my career as a Realtor.
The state exam is three hours long. I used the full 3 hours and I passed on my first attempt. I got my license in December 2009. This was the start of a new life and career as a health coach and healer.
Many Boomers are heading back to school, to finish degrees or to embark on new careers. I am a strong advocate of life-long learning. Many academic institutions provide online learning programs on the internet, so there is very little excuse for any healthy Boomer to not pursue some form of new learning.
Many of my patients (I specialized in medical massage therapy) assumed that I had many years of experience as a therapist, because they could not believe that I became a therapist so late in life.