Greetings, Fellow Baby Boomer.
You and I have traveled halfway across the known Universe for the opportunity to experience this, the final season of our lives. No need to worry – we’re not alone. Seventy seven million other Boomers are here to provide us with every level of support imaginable. And should we deplete those resources, there are an additional six billion on call. The only stipulation is we have to ask.
I want to also congratulate us on our impressive survival skills. Born between 1946-64 we’ve already survived:
The Bay of Pigs invasion, The Cold War, The Hungarian revolt, The Algerian War, The Arab-Israeli War, Zanzibar Rebellion, The Mau – Mau Uprising, The Ethiopian/Somali Border War, The Congolese Civil War, The Sudanese Civil War, The Angolan War of Independence, The Cypriot War, The Palestinian/Lebanese Civil War, The Argentina Revolt, The Burmese Guerilla War, The French Indochina War, The Vietnam War, The Korean War, Hukbalkahap Rebellion, Indonesian Wars, Laotian Civil War, Sino-Indian Border Dispute, Malay Jungle Wars, Achinese Rebellion, Desert Storm, Shock & Awe, Operation Enduring Freedom and Chicken Pox.
We’ve suffered through the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. We even endured the pointless murder of John Lennon. Imagine.
We’ve also spent somewhere between 50-100,000 hours in front of a cathode ray tube, absorbing God-knows-how-much of the electromagnetic spectrum and, surprisingly, we can both still remember where we live and how to spell our names. Come to think of it, “when I think back on all the crap we learned in high school it’s a wonder we can think at all.”
But, come on . . . admit it, there were perks: the music, oral contraceptives, Freedom-of-Information Act, Civil rights Act, Americans with Disability Act, and the end of military conscription to name a few.
Now there are but two challenges remaining, two tiny speed bumps on the great road of life: aging and dying.
Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about the second of these, so we’ll focus on the first.
I recently spent five weeks in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home). The administrators from the assisted living facility where I’ve been a resident for 3.5 years, arranged for the rehab with the idea that the muscles in my legs – after 15 years in a wheelchair – needed a tune-up.
They were right.
To date, I’ve had Parkinson’s for 19 years, about 15 of those in and out of a wheelchair. And here’s the problem . . . Our leg muscles atrophy if they’re not used on a regular basis. Once they’ve gone into a state of prolonged senescence, it’s a bugger to get them to work again. (Someone once said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”)
Well, long story short, my legs don’t work so well these days. As a matter of fact, they don’t work at all. Ergo my sabbatical at Lehigh Center in Mucangie, Pennsylvania.
I’d like to report to you that the rehab was successful and I’ve already signed up for two iron-man triathlons. I’d like is the operative term here. The truth is that my legs are unlikely to ever work at full capacity again, but even a small gain would make me happy.
Using the last 100 years as our baseline, social demographers have a pretty good handle on the 77,000,000 of us that are moving like a massive glacier toward any and every thing in its path.
Yes, Baby, we’re the Boomers, rockin’ and rollin’ our way through Clintonian bubbles, the near collapse of the US banking system, the constant threat of nuclear conflagration, the Fall of the Wall in Berlin and a global safari for Alan “Al” Qaeda.
And we ain’t dyin’, not until we’re damn-well ready.
Peace, Martin Bayne