My two-cent theory is that we each have two ages. The age you think you are, and the one on your driver’s license. The Inner Me says, “I’m 18!” The world is harsh when answering back, “Oh no you’re not.”
Back in the 1970’s, I’d stroll through street fairs to ooh and aah over what vendors knew I wanted: crystal gem trinkets, bohemian skirts, Renaissance-style hair garlands. Recently, I took my 59-year-old self to the AARP conference, and spent time exploring what vendors think I needed: hearing aids, varicose vein surgery, and pain relieving gel. When did “Oooh, yeah” turn into “Oh, no”?
My Inner 18-year-old panicked, “I don’t belong here! Quick! Find a jewelry counter!”
And I did, pronto, along with other gray-haired or the excellently colored-over-gray-haired folks. Face it, I am one of them, and it’s time to take stock.
Droves of seniors filled the acreage of the Boston Convention Center. What are the product demands of my age demographic? A big sign read: DRY CRACKED SKIN?
I’m a sucker for skincare. Tutankhamen ain’t got nothin’ on me for industrial strength preservatives. I zoomed in on the “highest grade aloe vera,” purported to remedy dry skin, stretch marks, psoriasis, and in short, moisturize Tutankhamen back from mummy-hood. I bought three jars.
During my walkabout, it was unnerving to realize a need exists for hands-free shoes (Quikiks!) or vibration therapy machines that will jiggle you back to better circulation when your stair-stepping days are over. My Inner 18-year-old whispered, “Too scary. I don’t want to learn any more about leakage.”
Then suddenly I spotted fellow senior Elsie Saxon from Philly. Big neon glasses twinkled from the top of her red leather hat, and she clued me in. “Reimagine Life is giving them away over there.” I am part of 76.4 million Baby Boomers, a generation known for being playful and imaginative. It’s curiosity that makes one interested and interesting, and plenty were exploring all that was offered that day: new life purpose, travel, technology, and ways of giving back. (More free samples, please.) It was a convergence of fun-loving people, and why not? Boomers have always been idealistic, bold thinkers, and as seniors, we are just catching a second wind. I told my whiney Inner 18-year old, “Pipe down, these are my peeps.”
I made assumptions and I was proven wrong. Lactose-free cheddar cheese is delicious.
What is your “inner” age?