BABY BOOM Intro.

Okay, here it is!  About 13 years ago, I graduated with my MS Degree in Gerontology, “The scientific study of aging, and the process of adults growing older.”   I thought that by studying Gerontology, I would find out about the fountain of youth.  The funny thing is that I’ve not been able to work in the field.  Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t time yet – because I wasn’t a mature Baby Boomer (BB).  How could I possibly understand the BB’s life cycle unless I was actually living it?

Well, today I am officially a BB, and proud of it!  For those of you that are not sure if you are an official BB, you would have been born between 1946 and 1964.  So my point is that I have spent the past 13 years leading by my own example of how to age gracefully, and pushing beyond those old wives tales, myths, and taboos associated with aging. Once I realized that there was no fountain of youth, I thought “Oh, I get it,” you have to take care of the only body you have in order to slow down the aging process.  It was also important to me to know my family’s medical history, i.e., Cancer, Heart Disease, Strokes, and other debilitating ailments.  As soon as I could conduct a personal medical history for myself, I began making healthier choices, and the better it was for me.

Short Story:  Both of my parents died of cancer in their early 60’s.  Because I could be a prime candidate for getting cancer, I immediately started preventive care with regular screenings, only to discover that there was no trace of cancer in me.  However, because both my parents were hypertensive, I too am hypertensive.  Education, education, education folks!!!  Today, I’ve arrived! I wanted to share with other Baby Boomers “the secret to longevity,” and really it’s not a secret.  We are the new and improved generation today.  Did you now that the life expectancy in 1961 – (the year I was born), was 69.7, and today, we are living well into our 90’s.

We are no longer ashamed of menopause, hot flashes, hysterectomies, and normal changes that come after maturity – “it is what it is” but, it’s not the end of the world!  It’s how well you embrace this life cycle and how well you live with it.  Myths about aging, is a thing of the past.  “Hot Flashes” are reintroduced as “Hot Flash Swag,” its how we roll today.  We make healthier choices about our eating habits, we get regular exercise, we keep up with our preventive care, we keep our minds sharp, and we want to look good!  Now does this in anyway sound like our grandparents!  No way! We as Baby Boomers have figured out how to keep our swag.  I never felt better about myself and once again, I’m proud to be a Baby Boomer, it’s a new day!  Let’s hear about your swag!  One more thing, I just realized that in 48 years, I will be 100! LOL

 

M’Liss Causey, MS Gerontology

Growing Old Gracefully

We all know it has to happen at some point in our life…and that is, we all are getting older whether we like it or not!

I started to notice some signs recently and it started the other morning when I got out of bed and started heading towards the shower.  I heard these weird sounds and when I stopped to listen, it stopped. And right there and then it hit me….it was me.  My bones were creaking and crackling so loud I had to stop on the spot for about 10 minutes just to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Later that morning I was watching TV and my nephew came into the living room sat down and watched a show with me. I suddenly became aware that instead of watching the show, my nephew was watching me with a rather peculiar look on his face, like he was watching something more fascinating than what was on the television set.  Apparently as I was watching TV he said my eyes were making noises each time they would blink. Sure enough as I continued, he was right! Like the noisy trip to the shower, my eyes were squeaking with each blink. My first thought….OMG I am losing my inner body lubrication I suddenly had fearful visions of having to carry an oil can with me much like the Tin man.

Suddenly armed with the knowledge that getting old requires either a backup band or an oil can to drown out my new involuntary noises, I decided to research this first hand.  After all, if I am squeaking…what’s next, parts replacement.  The best way to know what I am in for as I age (because I would like to do it gracefully) is to study my elder-elders.  So I decided to go watch older people and what they do to maintain their youth & what better place to do that then to hang out where they hang out…WALGREENS!

I drove into a prime Walgreen’s parking spot, where I could take in all of the action, not look to conspicuous (ok not looking like a stalker) and observe.  I should have bought some popcorn for the show was better than any theatre experience!  I watched seniors pulling into the lot, mis-parking, straddling white lines and sometimes bumping into other cars and parking as if nothing happened.  I would imagine if they could they would run into Walgreens to avoid being caught for leaving the scene of a crime and then it hit me… is senility and hard of hearing a cover up for the lack of agility?  I love it… I ad-libbed a bit…. Hope you do not mind,,,, read on!

As I ponder this new found knowledge and cover-up conspiracy my attention was guided to an elderly man slowly walking up to the entrance.  Probably a good thing I did not have the popcorn as I may have choked on it from the hilarious show playing out in front of me.  This man was moving so slow that when he hit the radius of the sensor to open the door it could not detect him…. he moved so slow he tricked the sensors!  It could not detect his movement ….all the way up to the door…and there he stood, face to door…waiting…anticipating…it never opened!  His only hope was for a spry young whipper-snapper to come bouncing through or ….. maybe a herd of teenagers in the hopes he could be swept up and moved through the door in a mast whirl-wind of confusion.  I could not bear to watch anymore.

I moved on a few miles down the road and setup came once again. Noticing an elderly woman pacing herself towards the entrance I knew that she may reach the same fate as the other guy at the other Walgreens, I quickly assessed the situation and realized she had a fighting chance as this automatic door sensor was in the black mat on the ground.  As she made her way onto the mat her pace slowed down as the doors opened, not picking up any more speed the doors closed, so she had to turn around and step onto the mat once again but her slow pace was no a match for the electric doors…I couldn’t bear to watch another minute. I finally got out of my car and stepped onto the mat, long enough for her to get into the store.  I did not have the rest of the day to wait for her to come out; she was on her own.

I now realize two things, 1-The Wal-Mart greeter should apply for part-time work at Wal-Greens and 2- that I am no longer worried about how I look to 20 something’s but rather how I am going to circumvent the daily challenges of getting somewhere and being able to achieve my daily tasks. This is just an intro into the aging world I am about to enter into….more to follow!