Special Guest Post by Jane Baskin
Jane Baskin, author of Jane of the Jungle, thinks you should.
“People say there’s something to be said for aging gracefully,” says Baskin. “Baloney. Between the longer lifespan and the economy, it’s time to age with attitude.”
• If it sags, lift it. 13.1 million plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2010. Why not?
• If it’s gray, dye it.
• If it’s baggy, throw it out.
• If it’s stuffy-sedate, avoid it.
• If it’s lonely, check out Meetup.com. (this is not a dating site)
• If it’s still lonely, run as fast as you can to the nearest saloon and talk to strangers. It’ll do in a pinch.
To the many seniors crippled by the recession, she says, “If your choices have been cut back, you may be bent, but you don’t have to be broken. Hit the road. Live cheap. Live in an RV, stay with friends, live in your car. Be like you were when you were young and carefree, and thumb your nose at misfortune.”
Mind you, Baskin is not trying to deny aging. “Of course we’re going to get older. But over the hill has become a very long trek these days,” she says. “We have to do it differently.”
Longer lifespans are becoming the norm. Social Security estimates that most baby boomers will live to an average 93 years of age.
“It used to be, you worked ‘til 65 or so, hit the rocking chair, and waited,” says Baskin. “In most cases, it wasn’t that long of a wait. But now, it could be 25 or 30 years or more. That amounts to 2,912,000 rocks for the duration of your retirement. Are you kidding?
“I believe in a whole second stage of life – ‘Life 2.0.’ Rather than becoming sedate, this is the time to kick up your heels. This is the time to not give a tinker’s damn what people think of you. It’s a second childhood, the last one you’ll ever have. If you really want to bake cookies, do it in between adventures.
So, skip the mumu and the rocking chair. Skip the tea parties unless the company is lively and the tea is spiked. Says Baskin, “Gray is for cars and gun barrels. Dye your hair. Lift your face if you want. Work out, run, dance, use it or lose it. With modern medicine, nutritional and exercise science, you can be healthier than some thirty-year olds when you’re in your sixties and beyond. So I ask you, why not?”
“And if some kid in the saloon where you’re playing trivia for free drinks calls you ‘grandpa,’ tell him, ‘Fasten it, kid. I’m old enough to really know this stuff.’ And then go ahead and win the trivia. You could take a snapshot of his face on your cell phone, but that might be nasty.”
About Jane Baskin
Jane Baskin is a former Boston TAB features writer and clinical social worker. She lives in the mountains outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and their herd of dogs and cats. For more on the adventures of aging disgracefully, visit Baskin’s blog, Forever Kinda Young, at http://foreverkindayoung.blogspot.com