I recently read an article about a study done on how our attitude and physical habits influence our aging, and it fascinated me. Apparently our brain is an awesome and powerful “entity”.
According to the study published in Science Daily, “Older adults with negative attitudes towards aging had slower walking speed and worse cognitive abilities two years later, compared to older adults with more positive attitudes towards aging”.
This started me thinking about how we baby boomers are approaching our senior years, and how we differ from our parents and our grandparents. I remember my grandmother’s endless collection of flowered housedresses and her sensible shoes, but I also remember her fierce independence as she steadfastly refused to move out of her little house where she had lived alone for 25 years. Her independence was not celebrated, but ours has been.
We were the first generation who started school with an expectation that we would not only finish high school, but would go on to post-secondary education. My parents were both pulled out of school early to help on the farm. My father finished Grade 8, and my mother completed Grade 9.
My mother’s generation was expected to get married, have children, and stay home to raise them while their husband brought home the bacon. Our generation experienced the rise of women’s liberation, and we were told that we could go out and accomplish anything that we could imagine.
Now this wave of baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are beginning to enter “old age”, and we’re not taking it sitting down. We are the generation of aerobics, and running for the joy of it not because you are being chased. The generation of vegans, and low fat, and yoga and rock climbing…oh my! Why would we change our attitude just because we are aging?
There is a quote circulating on the Internet yet again, and being erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln*, that says “And in the end, its not the years in your life that count, but the years in your life.” So that is what this blog will explore…how we baby boomers are smashing the stereotypes of aging…once again we are leading the way.
(*I’ll save you a Google search, the earliest mention of this quote that has been found so far, is Edward J. Stieglitz, MD in a newspaper article on aging, published in 1947.)