By Rod Martinez
We seniors have lived fun, dramatic lives. Now here we are in the golden years, some of us still work, but many of us have hit the pinnacle – the big R – retirement. What are you doing with your time? Are you spending it like you’d hoped? Are you stuck at home in front of the tube? Are you still an active member of society?
Active is the key word. Our doctors tell us to do it, the commercials insist we do it, and our grandkids compel us to do it.
At fifty-eight, I am active. The circumstances of this have nothing to do with health – though I admit many of us Boomers aren’t where we can make a choice on the matter. I’m active because I want to be, not because I have to be. After living a life following the full gamut of husband/father/home-owner/career dude – something happened when I turned fifty-three that opened my eyes. My son turned eighteen. Just as I’m sure you did, I spent those eighteen years in one main role – parent. It was my purpose and vocation. But after his eighteenth birthday I decided to pursue the interests that captivated me before he was born; the arts.
I know people my age who always complain of how tired they are in life and trust me, I feel you. Between family, doctor visits, socials, grocery shopping, health issues and the like – we tend to wear down with time. When we’re told by our doctors and TV commercials and our kids that we need to be active, what do we do? Join a bowling league? Softball? The Y? I ask friends my age about their day and I usually get “I come home, cook, clean, sit and stream TV.” My answer of course, is “why not get a hobby, join a gym, volunteer, take a class…” and I’m hit back with the inevitable line – the phrase I despise; “I don’t have time for that”.
Granted, many of you out there are involved in church activities, or social groups (outside of Facebook), political groups, grandkid’s soccer and cheer. That’s all great, don’t quit. We need to keep active, keep those brain juices flowing, keep the arteries streaming. But the line “I don’t have time for that” still haunts.
I still work full-time but am also a published author of middle grade novels. The dedication a writer has to make to pursue this craft is akin to a full time job, mentally, spiritually and physically. As a writer I attend conferences where I give a class, panel or workshop on writing. I am also in a local classic rock cover band and we play almost every weekend to crowds of people ranging from our age, to younger and older. We play classic hits from the 60s to 90s. Being in a band is also like a full time job; you have to rehearse, and you have to meet and greet, connect, engage.
My wife and I are caregivers of my ninety-six year old WWII Navy vet father-in-law, a man I have grown to look up to. And I have hit the pavement almost as a spokesperson for him to get him in local parades and the paper. As we all know, our precious WWII vets are a dying breed.
So maybe I’m overdoing it, but you get my point. You don’t have to score a perfect round of golf to feel active. Your brain is as important a muscle as your biceps, glutes or calves. Not to be pushy, but, let’s get out there. Put the phone down, turn off the TV. We nag our grandkids about it… let’s do the same. We’re Baby Boomers, the greatest generation out there.
“I don’t have time for that” doesn’t compute for me, and it shouldn’t for you. True, we have “only” twenty-four hours in a day but we can fill as many of those with treasured memories and creative fun that not only we enjoy, but we can share with others. Sure beats sitting in front of a screen, don’t cha think?
So, what’s your next gig?
Attracted to words at an early age, Rod’s first book was created in grade school, his teacher used it to encourage creativity in her students. His high school English teacher told him to try short story writing, he listened, and the rest – as they say, is history.
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