Most Baby Boomers have lived extraordinary lives in their youth – witnessing some of the most momentous events in modern history such as the first moon landing and the birth of environmentalism and modern feminism. Many Baby Boomers have now entered the next stage of their lives: retirement. Are they too old to be doing certain things? We always hear the expression “age is just a number’’ but is really true?
Boomsday Prepping airs another exciting episode to discuss this important issue. Find out what the panelists have to say about their age.
Wayne Bucklar: It’s time for the Baby Boomer show, the podcast where some Baby Boomers, that’s us get together to talk to other Baby Boomers – that’s you – about Booms Day Prepping, getting ready for that day not when the zombie apocalypse comes but when we decide that we’re old and how old is too old. Well, to lead us into that very topic, we’re going to talk to our co-host, Drew Dwyer and we welcome to the panel our other panelists – Glenn Capelli is with us as usual, Bron Williams is here as usual and Amanda Lambros is joining us as usual and my name is Wayne Bucklar. Bryan Hinselwood is off in Vietnam holidaying, well I think he’s holidaying, he probably says he’s researching but you know what actors are like. So our panel today, Glenn, Bron, Amanda, welcome to the show. And to lead us into how old is too old, my co-host, Drew Dwyer.
Dr. Drew: Hello everybody and welcome. And a great subject today that I’ve chosen because we can blend a lot of information here but I want to really specifically stick to the subject matter, “How old is too old?” and actually what we’re talking about here is the subject of “ageism.” It’s a real word, it exists and it really is our view and perspective on age and what age is. So I’ll open up the platform by giving you my particular thought as a person who deals with ageing, who studies ageing as a gerontologist, ageing as a specific interest and of course, I’m ageing myself. Although at the younger end of the Boomer scale, but still looking down the barrel of ageing, I am anti anti-ageism, anti-ageing. I’m not anti-ageing but I’m anti the attitude of ageing. And primarily, I’ll open up by start making a clear statement. I thoroughly believe that older people, people who age, and particularly Baby Boomers, are probably the biggest problem and threat when it comes to ageism because we don’t see and they don’t seem to have a positive aspect of our own age. So to begin the conversation is to understand what is too old. I’ll have a talk about that and I’m sure we’ll discuss it. But at the end of the day is we need, Boomers need, older people need to understand to see themselves in a positive light of ageing because it has many positive aspects to it. We shouldn’t focus on the negatives, but the negatives do come with it and have to be balanced. So the question, “How old is too old?” I’ll begin by saying, age in the Western part of the world, Western society has a categorization and a benchmark. We do this because of the fact of retirement and 70 is old, a categorization medically and clinically in social systems because people retire now 65 to 70. So 70 is a category we do take clinically as we can categorize somebody’s being old because what comes with it is the changes to the pathophysiology of the body. The body ages, our organs change and shrink, we live with atrophy, which we’ve discussed several times on this panel and there is a lot of science in this and I don’t want to stick to the science today. But 85 is then the next benchmark we look at and that is called “Geriatric” and people don’t like the geriatrics conversation would use all language. But of course as a gerontologist, I say be positive with it. Let’s not get lost in the forest because of all the trees of words. And language and words just the way people assimilate, and contribute and have an understanding, it doesn’t necessarily mean the words are right or wrong. But geriatric is a clinical definition and I’ve said it before, it means you’re over the age 85. We know the human body has been impacted at particular point and ageing itself at 85 has its downward spiral towards that very last stage of life. So shifting aside from that, let’s go to the psychological stage or phase of ageing what is too old. For me, no boundary, no rule and it depends on the individual of how old you think you are and how old you want to be because I absolutely advocate the rule is, “Growing old is mandatory and growing up is not.” So you can make a choice and I read something the other day looking and preparing for today and said, “If you haven’t grown up by the age of 50, you don’t have to.” So you can look at that in different ways but for the panel I ask you, how old is too old and where do you class that? If you do research around this, you’ll see that a lot of this conversation sits around three areas – sex, sex life, sexuality, work, work life and work-life balance and retirement, retirement positions, which are associated to a lot of things. But really it sits with how age interferes across the different age groups – how Millennials view older people, how X Generations view older and younger and how of course Baby Boomers and older generations view the ones behind them. So how old is too old? Bronwyn as a woman, what’s your thought?
Bron Williams: I had quite a few thoughts. Haha! So surprising. I have been in heavy experiences in the last few weeks of mixing with Millennials in a workplace situation and just different comments and expectations. The first one was where a young man I would have said maybe mid 30s, early 40s, making the declaration that all people 60 and over should have “S plates” on their car. The assumption being that once you’ve reached the age of 60, you needed to somehow go backwards like a “P plate” and warn everybody else that you were not a very good driver as you can imagine I sort of rolled my eyes and he jokingly made comments. But I thought when people make a joke about something, there is always truth behind it. So he’s making this joke about having S plates but I think in reality, he thinks that if once you reach the age of 60, your capacity as a driver is somehow seriously diminished rather than maybe incrementally diminishing as different aspects of our reflex isn’t being… (crosstalk)
Dr. Drew: So what are you saying Bron, there’s credibility in his subjective ageist attitude or ageism or is it something that quickly being ageist about?
Bron: I think he’s being ageist about it because he doesn’t know what it’s like to be 60 and myself as you know, in my early 60s who drives a sports car, I would say that I’m still a very safe driver, I can mix it with the best and do on the roads but I do recognize that as I get older obviously, my own responses will diminish over time, but incrementally rather than a sudden drop-off.
Dr. Drew: So we’ve got, how old is too old to drive?
Bron: Yes, so there’s that one. The second one was having the option or the opportunity just to sit in on a group interview situation for some people doing of basically selling some sort of insurance. And I was the only gray head one amongst them and thought, “My gosh, this is an interesting situation” and when it was my turn to speak one-on-one with people doing the presenting I said, “Look, I’m actually quite interested that my demographic made it to the table so to speak.” But again, there was an expectation around in a workplace situation that you’d be quite happy to be out at 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night doing a variety of things. And so the work expectations even though they might recognize your ability did not recognize that at 60, being out at 10 o’clock at night is not necessarily something you want to do on a regular basis. But there was a sense in which your age, your physical age… (crosstalk).
Dr. Drew: Increase your insurance?
Bron: Well yeah, it countered against you.
Dr. Drew: So we’re looking again, ages attitudes from institutionalized corporations, or services or products it says, once you’ve reached this age, you’re more of a risk, you’re more trouble. Is that right?
Bron: In terms of a workplace situation, there’s no flexibility that this is what we expect of our workers, we expect them to be able to work long hours to be out at night and this is how it works and if you can’t do that then, there’s something wrong with you without understanding that an older person might be able to bring different things to the table, work different hours but still achieve the stated aims.
Dr. Drew: So we’ve got two from Bron, driving – how old is too old to drive an hour or so or to work and work late and be insured for it. And Glenn?
Glenn Capelli: I pick up on that driving thing and just an example, everything comes back to the human mind and the wonder of it mean adequacy of it. So we’ve got two cars and both are Hondas and CRVs, SUVs, ones an old one because it’s our farm car and it’s blue and we call it. “Bluey.” The other ones, a white one with some black and we call it “Maggie” after a magpie. So if I’m driving Maggie along the Hamilton Highway a 105 kilometers and I must admit it’s 100 kilometer at speed time but I’m driving at 105, people are quite happy to be sitting behind me at 100 kilometres or what. If I’m driving Bluey at the same speed, people will pass me because they see an old car and I think it’s sly. Now, it’s kind of exactly the same speed as the other car but people’s perception is really quite amazing. So it all comes back to how we get a shift and shake people’s perceptions whether it’s about cars or… (crosstalk).
Dr. Drew: Is that because you think they see risk?
Glenn: Well, it went easier for systems to go all or nothing. It’s easier for systems to go, you hit 70 so such-and-such where you hit 60 so such-and-such, they don’t allow that flexibility and we’ve got to shift the systems to some extent but we’ve also got to help people see a different mindset and I don’t know what it was with me as I grew up but I’ve always had friends of diverse ages. I’ve got friends who have been 20, 30, 40 years older than me and as a kid, I didn’t look at them as an old human being, I look at them as an interesting human being. And I think that’s one of the mindset changes we’ve all got to help people do is that sometimes, to go blank at all or nothing may be easier but it doesn’t make it better. Bron, when you’re talking about working different hours, it’s beautiful that people can work deeper hours. I mean I’m amazed at how much work my wife Lindy can do in a short period of time and yet I work for a lot of different organizations. And I see how much wasted time there is in some of their days they’re all about presenteeism, being there but not actually about productivity, or depth or wisdom. So from age or with age, let’s age and let’s find this age and learn from it. The venerable thing of experience and look at human beings as deep and wonderful and interesting human beings and then get the systems to shift and change him flex up a bit.
Dr. Drew: And if we’re looking at the actual conversation has already begun of how other people perceive age and how other people put boundaries on age. So if we look at it and pull it apart again, we can step into different zones. One of the biggest conversations that I see within multimedia, social media and around society because this is how we communicate these days is specifically around the subject matter is, “How old is too old to date or have sex and how does this space sit with older people?” And I’m sure Amanda will have something to say here but for me, this is the classics. “The heart has no wrinkles” and I’ve written this very clearly in my book, “Ageing in the New Age.” I’m actually halfway through building a whole book on this subject and that is the fact of sex, sexual health and sexuality are quite different as conversational pieces and yet, blended and they have an algorithm and they belong together. And it’s interesting, how old is too old, I mean I have spoken to people who are 18, who have 45-year-old partners, 20 who have 50-year-old partners and the looks they get, the way community sees them, people in their families, their attitudes towards it, this is also sits around the question is, “How old is too old?” It also brings to mind how we present ourselves as old people. Are we too, fashion is another big driver of the perception of age and ageism. How old is too old to dress in sexy clothes, have sexy clothes? Who designs and where are the designers for older people when older people are wanting to dress a particular way? So these things push out the boundaries or increase the boundaries of ageism so that people have reason or they can attach to reason for ageism, “You’re too old to look this way, you’re too old to dress this way.” And do we find ourselves as Boomers or older people dyeing our hair, trying to hide age and the perception of age from people and why do we do that as older people and as we age? Why do we always move away from age? I’m one of the biggest benefactors of that because I use Botox and cried openly about it. If I need to have a little bit of Botox, remove some wrinkles, I will do it, why? Because I don’t believe that I should age the way that my physical presence, which is gene, look. I have very old genes in my family. Everyone ages very quickly and I want to remove some of that. For me, it’s not about the fact of being anti-ageing, it’s the fact if I feel young, I feel motivated, engaged as any other younger person I know and I try and ameliorate that by not looking so old so the perception of age doesn’t get cast on me. Am I right or wrong? What’s your opinion Bron?
Bron: Look, that’s a huge thing there. One of the things I think is interesting about this whole topic is that it’s not linear, it’s not black and white, it’s not even gray or it is “Fifty Shades of Gray,” a gazillion shades of gray because I’m fortunate in that, I have very good genes and I do not look by 62 years and I’m often told that. But my gray hair, I opted in my early 50s to go to stop dye my hair because I just thought I’m over it. It was just becoming too much of an issue and I was talking last night with some other women who had done the same thing and they discovered that in terms of how they looked, they actually looked younger once they stopped dying their hair because the changes in skin tone that come as you age and the graying of your hair complemented one another and so there was this sense in which you actually looked younger than you were when you allowed yourself to go gray, which is a bit of a dichotomy.
Dr. Drew: Bron, does it give you the opportunity, particularly as a woman? And I know for I did the same, I just decided to stop trying to hide the grays. And I know Glenn unfortunately doesn’t have this problem but the fact is if you haven’t seen Glenn everybody, he has no hair. But does this give you a freedom of, “I don’t have to worry about this anymore, I’m accepting the transition of getting older.” But does it actually give you a relief that it’s not a pressure on you as you grow old so that aspect of ageing means, “I don’t have to worry and I’m just gonna let my hair go gray.”
Bron: Totally and because a short haircut, I have quite short hair and a lot of women opt for a short haircut but you can get a really good short haircut and the short of the haircut actually looks better on their older face because the longer hair actually drags your face down. Have a shorter hair, it’s visually lifting to your face plus it is so easy to manage, you wash it, you run your fingers through it and it’s done. So all of that time spent, blow-drying your hair, all of that is out of the window and I think yes, certainly a whole sense of freedom, there’s almost a return to wholeness where I don’t have to be a particular way anymore. I don’t have to worry about whether my hair is showing grays although it’s not a lot. This is me, I think there’s a real sense of stepping into who I am as a total being and the freedom that comes with that is huge.
Dr. Drew: Well, I can tell you my wife Rae who you all know, she was very dark brunette and with the Lebanese background and she then went through the process of not hiding her grays anymore, she spent a couple of years, now five years now as a complete gray or what they call, “platinum blonde white gray.” She’s now gone back to brunette. And I have asked her, it’s her choice, I’ve asked her why she feels more confident, lively and vibrant having her youth appearance in the space. She says, “I’m not too old to do this, I’m gonna keep doing it while I can.” So I go, “If it inspires and motivates you Hon, you do what you like.” So in that area, what you’ve just explain is we have two areas for Boomers. It’s never too old to make any of the decisions in our age boundary on it, it’s a personal choice – dye your hair, don’t dye your hair, totally up to you. It’s about you liberating or being free or you being confident if you want to remain trying to look younger, it’s entire choice of the Boomer. Glenn?
Glenn: To die or not to die, that is the question. Listen, I mean when I started in the youth program many years ago and I still get the lovely opportunity to work with teenagers and youngsters and I’ll say to them, “It’s not about what you look like. Strive to be healthy. It’s all about how you think, how you feel and how you act,” and it’s amazing how much anxiety there is in today’s world about appearance. I think it’s even got more anxiety wrapped around it for all age groups. But I would still say, it’s not about what you look like, it’s strive to be healthy. Now if you’re shifting your looks in some way helps you to think, feel and act better different with more flexibility, with greater joy and life, then go with it. I’ve always loved and aspired to be Charles Bronson. Charles is no longer with us but he’s just got one of those heads that looks lived in. So I would say learn to love your laugh lines, learn to love your song lines in life and no matter what you’re doing with you dyeing your hair, not dyeing your hair, whatever it might be, that the real core of it all is about how we think, and feel and act our way through life and how we step through life.
Dr. Drew: Well, I think I agree. And Sophia Loren who of course everyone will know has a beautiful quote as she says very clearly, “There is a fountain of youth: it’s in your mind, your talents and your creativity. You bring your life to life in the lives of people that you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Every time I read that, I just go, “That woman is so honored” and a beautiful woman and has kept her age and done what she’s done of course but it’s a beautiful thing. People chase the “Fountain of Youth” and they understand this concept but she clearly states, it sits inside you as a human being, you’ve got to tap into it and you’ve got to take all your talents, your abilities and your skills now if you’re older and then once you adapt to that, you’ve beaten the concept of age, it doesn’t belong anymore. What’s your thoughts Wayne?
Wayne: I’m fascinated by two things. The first is we don’t seem to have a category after middle age and before old. We don’t seem to have a category that describes the Baby Boomers and of course, we can’t label Baby Boomers because they’re going to continue to age, but it seems to me there is this stage in life, maybe it’s 50, 55 through to 70 where work is no longer the most important thing in your life, raising children, having family, building wealth are no longer the most important things in your life. But nor is the incontinence nappy and the nursing care and the geriatric phase, it’s coming. So we seem, to me, to want a better word for that period of life and the other thing that fascinates me about it is Donald Trump is in his 70s, Hillary Clinton was in her 70s. So many people are now doing spectacular and amazing things not in their 50s but in their 70s. So the world has to change. Unfortunately, Donald is very hair fixated and puts a lot of effort into that and I think it looks silly personally when you see the the photographs of his hair blowing in the wind and the amount of time you must spend getting it to look that way, I don’t think it’s worth the effort and I don’t think it’s attractive. I’m a little bit on Glenn’s side here, I’ve never seen anyone, a man I’m talking about Bron, I’ve never seen anyone looks silly as their hair grays and recedes in a natural way. It looks silly when people have tattooed scalps when they have rows of hair plugs, when they have extravagant hairdos and styles to try and beat the ageing thing. But I think if you age naturally, I think it always looks fine. I take Glenn’s point it’s about what you say, not what you do. Interestingly, I’ve listened to the conversation earlier about driving and I think we are the last generation that will have ever driven for our entire lives. Those Millennials who are coming through are going to find one of the consequences of smart cars is you don’t get to drive it, you just get to sit in it and then of course, you may need S plates because you’ll be older sitting in your automatic Tesla and go as fast as the computer will let you.
Dr. Drew: It will take some convincing for me to get into one of those vehicles.
Wayne: No one.
Amanda Lambros: No one. When somebody is there driving you around, you’ll feel fine.
Wayne: Technology always wins out. We always go, “I would never use that but if you can name me a technology which we of a society has decided not to use for sensible reasons, it doesn’t exist.” We’ve decided to use atomic weapons, we’ve decided to use germ warfare, we’ve decided to use robotics and artificial intelligence and all the rest of it. So what will happen Drew, your petrol-driven car will cost you 50 times what it does now, you’ll need a special license to start it and three environmentalist standing by. So it’ll be either walk, ride your bike or hop into that computer driven car.
Glenn: The wonder of technology, we’ve just had a very quick communication from Bob Dylan. He is complaining that you used his song in reference to Donald Trump and I believe we’re going to be sued. You did say that Trump’s hair was blowing in the wind and Bob is not happy with kind of a reference.
Wayne: Bob’s problem is not me, Bob’s problem is Donald Trump.
Dr. Drew: And I’m afraid, there’s no answer in that my friend. But I’ll give you a good quote for both of you and Glenn there Wayne and that is ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. And I think that’s what we’re talking about and that is older people need to understand this. I firmly believe this and I say at a lot of our meetings, or conversations when we get together as a panel, older people need to own and understand this space to push away and stop wasting time worrying about your skin, and your weight, your size and your abilities of what you’re losing. Worry more about developing yourself in what you can put into your hands on stuff and what you can give to the world because ageing people have got so much to offer. Now, I’m going to step back again and go to how old is too old and go to Amanda, our sexologist and hopefully, she throws the magic word in there somewhere. But Amanda, sex, sexuality, sexual health, how old is too old? What’s the general consensus in a sexologist world?
Amanda: Well, as long as you have lube, then you’re never too old. I think the whole thing is especially around sexuality and sexual health, as long as you can use it, absolutely continue to do so. So there’s gonna be things in life as we’ve talked about on previous podcasts that your hormones are gonna fluctuate as you age and so vaginal juices and your sex drive is gonna fluctuate as well. There’s things like synthetic lube. Use it. It’s there for a reason. It’s been created so that as long as you’ve got a sex drive and you are willing and capable of having sex with somebody else, or being intimate, or holding a hand or putting your arm around someone, keep doing it.
Dr. Drew: And Amanda ,what about older and younger relationships? Older men, younger women, that type of perception where people see this? And of course, I will add in, I’ve got a lot of ex-military friends that are married to quite younger Asian women. They have good stable relationships when they get viewed in public immediately, they’re cast a stone of, “Look at that dirty old man, blah, blah, blah.” And I don’t see this. I see a happy couple, a happy man, two people who are happy to have that relationship and they’re well-established in that age barrier. Why do people think it? Should we be afraid of it? Can we date older and younger? What are the rules?
Amanda: Absolutely, you can date older and younger and again, I don’t see a difference in those relationships. So I look at it as well and I just see it as another couple that is together. So to me, it’s not a big thing. But I think in those relationships, you have a few other things that you need to think about. So its chances are that one of the partners might die sooner than the other if there’s a huge age gap. What you’re going to do with regard to that is also a conversation worth having and I think that’s the biggest thing is that if there are age gaps and if there’s significant age gaps, it’s having really great communication. Now, you’re speaking to the converted here because I think any relationship should have great communication. And I think it’s the number one thing that we’re extremely poor at within our relationships so it’s kind of any opportunity you have to increase your communication to say, ”Are you enjoying this? Am I enjoying this? What can we do to improve our relationship?” Keep going.
Dr. Drew: Well I can only add in some of the statistics I gather from clients and people I do interview and talk to over the issue. And I’m putting one out there for the boys and that is, I’m told that older men make better lovers. So we’ll just leave that on our end.
Amanda: I really like to know where you got stuff from.
Glenn: Well, that research was done from really old blokes. But let’s go to Bob again, Bob Dylan says, “I’m dined with kings and done a thousand things and never been too impressed.” It’s not about the title of a person, it’s not about the age of a person, it’s how they show up behavior. I mean talking about differences in couples, I guess I’m very fortunate. Lindy is 3 years younger than me, so we’re pretty well the same age. But all through the 31 years of our marriage, every person who’s ever met me or us or seen Lindy has wondered, “How did he attract her?” I’ve always battered above my average when it comes to that kind of thing. So it’s not to look at couples and where there is judgment, let there be empathy. The wonderful songwriter, the new Bob Dylan, Ben Lee, so as we look whether it’s a couple of names, a couple of skin color or whatever it is, we’ve got to look in the mirror and go, “What’s our mindset about this?”
Dr. Drew: Absolutely, it’s a reflective practice. And as I say, I do write about it in my book but it’s very clear for me that the heart has no wrinkles. When people are in love, they’re in love and love and the expression and the empathy or the empathic feeling or connection love is completely individual to the people who experience it and it really hasn’t got anything to do with anybody else. So for any Boomer out there listening who is probably single looking for or wanting to and I just had a conversation with a 60-year-old colleague, a friend of mine who’s been single now for 6 years. He’s back on the dating scene, he’s trying to work out the Tinder and the “swipe left and the swipe right” and he’s not liking some of this. But he’s fascinated. He says to me, “Drew, all these younger women want to meet me and go out with me.” And he’s got his own opinion of this and I said, “Do and go,” and he goes, “Yeah, but I don’t want to look like a dirty old pervert or a pity.” I said, “Mate, they’re adult women. You’re not a pedophile for starters.” He goes, “But it looks bad Drew.” And I said to him, “Don’t,” because he’s got two women he’s seen, there’s a 26 and a 30-year-gap between them. Now he’s saying, “People aren’t gonna like this.” My advice seemed very clear is, “Ignore what other people are saying and focus on the partner you’re spending time with.”
Amanda: Other people’s opinions of you shouldn’t matter.
Bron: They’re based on their own outlook on life, not yours.
Dr. Drew: Correct, it’s based on themselves Bron. So how old is too old when we think about particular things about work? Can we work ’til we’re old? Should we have a retirement age that’s set on us as we do at the moment Western societies? I can assure listeners when you move across to Asian and other world countries, age is not an issue that is subjected to working. People work, and work, and work to survive, to live, to pay their bills, to control their families, to help their families. And particularly where I spend a lot of time in Asia, I meet many, many people working full-time in a family, in a business, in a society that are well over the age of 65, 70 and still powering on all day and it’s mind-boggling. Many of them tell me, it keeps them feeling young and engaged. What’s you’re feeling there Glenn?
Glenn: There’s so much to contribute to the world. I love a sense you said earlier about what we’ve got to give to the world and the ability to put a value to that, to equate it with a few dollars to be able to come on through and come on in because we’re able to help somebody else through our wisdom or our experience or we’ve got the ability to teach a skill and impart a skill. One of the things with it and it really struck me recently. This week, I was one-to-one on Skype with a 16-year-old lad about his work experience. And I asked him some questions and when I asked him the questions, he was silent. And I could see he was actually thinking. And eventually, he responded and answered, he answered with a depth and a wisdom that was just really amazing. But I could guarantee in a classroom, he would have been then looked over because he was too slow in how he responded. So one of the things sometimes when we ask somebody who’s got age and experience the question, it takes them a while to think that through because there’s a lot of experience to be able to come to mine. You’ve got to give them the time to be able to sit in silence for a while and then what will come out I can guarantee you will have depth of wisdom and layers to it. So the fact that this fast society of ours is looking for “instant, instant, instant, instant.” And that’s actually not necessarily a healthy thing for all of us. People all the time, they’re responding and thinking contribute.
Dr. Drew: And Glenn, do you think that this is a bit of a paradigm for modern society? If I go back, we were always told to respect and listen to our elders. The elders had the passed down information they gave us, they fed us. There was always someone in the family we went to who was older when you had a problem and something to sort out. I generally feel these days that young people won’t engage this same process and I also feel that older people now have shifted into a space where the young ones don’t want to hear what I’ve got to say. So I’m not going to have a comment and if I do comment, I’m cut off from it.
Glenn: That’s one of the great concerns for me it varies. This instant Instagram satisfaction that we need the, instant gratification. And when we look at the the “Walter Mischel Marshmallow Test” here’s a marshmallow, eat it or if you wait, we’ll give you two and they don’t know how long you gotta wait for and the kids who waited who were able to delay gratification, they seemed to be have a stamina and sustainability and everything else to contribute. Today’s world is about instant gratification. So it’s not about, ”Here’s the marshmallow or we’ll give you two.” It’s like, “No, no I want a whole body packet and I want it now.” And the instant gratifies who have stopped everything now we’ll some of them went on to become president and there’s a danger to that in how brains work, how hearts work and this instant need for speed that sometimes we just got to allow time.
Dr. Drew: I believe older people have a place particularly when now we look at our society about imparting knowledge. And one of the things I’m going to throw out to our two panelists, Amanda and Bron as women of course, mothers, nurturers that the natural nurturers and this is the connection to and I’ve just had a conversation on us on a webinar on this with some people that is, “Everything at the moment is lift yourself positive, positive, lift yourself get rid of the negative, positive, positive, positive,” where some of the conversation needs to be balanced and swung the other way for people to understand, “Stop. Life actually sucks. It’s got some barriers. Things get bad and we have to learn to deal,” and I actually believe if it’s the older generation that needs to impart this knowledge back into the society to say, “Hey, hey, hey, not everything is positive. Not everyone gets a trophy. Life is not the perfect place and we all can be uplifting, uplifting and beautiful, and perfect and everything is great, positive and in alignment.” Some things suck, some things are bad and I believe it’s up to older people to keep the balance to that message but let them know it’s normal, it’s a part of life, it’s a transition, and we got to own it, and get on with it and use it. Bron?
Bron: Totally. In my coaching work, that’s exactly what I do with people because my tagline is “Powered by Your Past.” That we’ve all got stuff, we’ve all got baggage and we can want to push it away or we can use it. And I think it’s about owning what our life has brought to us and that doesn’t matter whether we’re a Baby Boomer or a Millennial. It’s about saying “This is part of my life and all of these experiences are valuable. Some of them have really sucked big time, some of them have been wonderful, let’s see what we can do with them.” And I was really pleased this morning. I have a young friend who is 30 who has a coaching business in the U.S. and she, like many in her age group, presenting the beautiful face on Facebook but she has been intentionally trying to be real. And her latest post was that she had failed those who were her followers because she had just been posting the beautiful stuff and she hadn’t been being authentic and saying, “Some days I’m scared witless of what I’m doing. I’ve taken on this huge task and I don’t know whether I can do it and I doubt myself,” and it was a really long post and a genuine post and I was so pleased to see that she is being intentional about being authentic. But yes, she is a beautiful woman, she’s been a model so she presents beautifully in that beautiful space. But to see her intentionally step back and say, “Sometimes, my life sucks. Sometimes, I doubt myself. I think, what on earth am I doing? I can’t do this,” and I think that’s wonderful.
Dr. Drew: As Wayne mentioned before, money and beauty doesn’t make a perfect life. Amanda?
Amanda: I was gonna say something similar to that is that people have this idea of this facade, that we wear these different faces and just because you see that one face, you think that’s all there is, not realizing that there’s so many different masks behind that. But I think one of the big things about looking at our past and how that actually moves us forward is really important. The past is the past and you can’t change that but you can alter your reaction to the past events.
Dr. Drew: This is an important subject when we look at ageing and how old is too old. We think well, if you’re gonna leave your job where we originally started this chain in the conversation, but where is you sitting with this? What have you got to give back into that job and back into the people coming behind you in that job? How do you restructure this so that you are actually, and I’m not saying that older people are going to be the negative end of the stick, I’m saying older people need to own that journey, and history and knowledge and go, “Hang on a moment, there’s an opportunity to put back in here, and we need to bust the door of ageism down so that we don’t get seen as the crappy old meister or master, we get seen as the intelligent you know master and something that could be brought or sucked backwards into what’s coming behind us. And I would really want to send a message to Baby Boomers that this is one of the doors of age discrimination that need to be removed and the conversation has to start. Ageing people, older people as we age have got so much learnt to give back.
Amanda: Well, absolutely. And I think this links so nicely to previous podcast that we had that we say you need that social intelligence, you need that emotional intelligence. As you age, it’s so important to grasp that your skills and your experience have so much value.
Dr. Drew: We need to remain connected.
Amanda: Absolutely. So rather than being like the old grumpy jerk who just goes and like isolates and lives in his rocking chair for the rest of his life, you’ve got knowledge, you’ve got skills, you’ve got so much more to give back to. So it’s not like, “I’ve hit a retirement age that my society has deemed to be 60, 65, 70 whatever it is and now I’ve just got to curl up in a hole and die,” it’s “I reach that retirement age, now I make a choice. Is my body able to function so that I can continue doing my job?” Because if you have labor intensive, if you’re a bricklayer, there’s labor intensiveness to that your back is going to give out eventually.
Dr. Drew: It’s not gonna last forever.
Amanda: Exactly, whereas my job, I counsel, I coach, I speak. I sit down in a chair and talk to people, I’m pretty sure I can sit down in a chair and do that for quite a few years and I think I’ll get out of it when I start falling asleep on my clients.
Dr. Drew: I had a classic win only this last couple of weekends. A lot of my friends are of course, could be a middle aged people and Baby Boomers, a little bit older than me – 59, 60, 65 and for a long time they’ve been saying, “Don’t do Facebook, don’t do social media.” And what they’d be noticing in their lives of late is they’re missing out on the conversations that the rest of us are having. They’re not connected to this stream, the MEMS, the information, the feeds, the videos, the download. So they’re not getting a plethora of what’s going on. Get them together having conversations amongst each other, they feel outcasted and they feel not connected and this is one of those points and I’m gonna go to Glenn in a minute because he talks about connection, and language, and teaching and preaching this. So what I have noticed in the last two weeks is many of these and I mean quite a few of my friends now, new Facebook accounts giving me a wave, trying to work out how to get connected. Yes, it’s great Bron and I’m thinking to myself, “Don’t push it too hard Drew, just congratulate them, send a message – Happy to have you in the space. Well done. Stay in here with us,” because I think that got to keep pushing as an older cohort about other older people. Get connected, stay connected that three of these friends of mine are so intelligent people with such a lot of experience and much to add and yet, their obliviation was, “I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do social media.” Now, I’ve broken the barrier, the doors are open and they’ve started to play. Glenn, is this something that you agree or disagree? Should Baby Boomers and older people just start to get rid of these barriers because they’re modern and new and start saying, “Connect in here”?
Glenn: Indeed Drew. I’m gonna give you these comments as my jukebox summary and then now, they delete the conversation but the song that goes with that, “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” You know, get involved in your own unique way rather than going no with a negativity. Find a way to be able to make it work for you. Some of the other songs that come to mind it would be going through John Denver saying, ‘Some days are diamonds, some days are stone” and it’s very much what Amanda was was talking about. Carole King said, “It’s too late” in one of her songs but I believe I would prefer to go with a natural woman as the Carole King and natural man. And Kylie Minogue, the new Carole King perhaps, did I say that? She had a song “Never too late” to change your mind, Never too late, it’s a bouncy number. But I’d like to give my jukebox on the Leonard Cohen again. One of his final albums was “Old Ideas” and in it is a song called “Come Healing.” And as we age and as we sage, we can find ways to look at the world differently, find ways to teach folks some of the wisdom that we’ve gained and find a value attached to that.
Dr. Drew: Older, wiser and better in every way. Bron, do you think?
Bron: One of the things that I really want to add into this is that around the whole thing of retirement and work, those age group things are artificial though instituted when the age pension was brought in like less than a century ago here in Australia. And I think it’s because what we’ve got now is that work has become a dirty word. We’ve got to get to a point in our life where we don’t work anymore. Hallelujah, we can go and do our own thing and it’s almost as though work has become a very negative thing and we can’t wait to retire and go off and do the grey nomad or whatever it is we choose. What if we stopped thinking of work as a dirty word and start thinking of it as you were talking about your friends in Asia who just see it as them continuing to use their potential to add to their culture, add to their society? And if we as Western Boomers stopped seeing work as something to finish but something to just continue to do but maybe in a different way, in a different time frame, we can stay in the workforce, we stay engaged, we are able to give back because we haven’t just ridden off on our horse into the sunset.
Dr. Drew: Well that’s right because CS Lewis says, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” And of course Groucho Marx is famous for once saying, “Getting older is no problem, you just have to live long enough to enjoy it.”
Bron: Yes. And I think that’s part of our deal, isn’t it? Can we please just enjoy being this age? I think that’s your message, isn’t it Drew?
Dr. Drew: Yes, you’re never too old. Now, I don’t like people thinking in the space of too old or how old is too old or are you ever too old. I think each individual should own this space to understand themselves, to know themselves and if they wish to put an age barrier on doing something emotionally, intelligently and practically because they have to interact with others in society, then own that space and do it and be proud of it. So some final thoughts I think from everybody. Amanda?
Amanda: I’m gonna say, age shouldn’t matter. It’s like as long as you’re feeling great and you have the ability to communicate how you’re feeling, “When is too old?” In my view too old is not even part of it. Bron?
Bron: Look, I think it’s just the old proverbial, “Age is only a number.” I can’t control how long I’ve been on this earth but I can control what goes on between my ears.
Dr. Drew: For me I’d like to end today’s little chat for our Boomer listeners to be inspired that you are getting older and you are getting wiser but you should still be dreaming of doing new things and creating new aspects in your life. Never give in.
Wayne: And that’s been the Baby Boomer podcast, thank you our panel. Thank you Amanda, thank you Bron, thank you Glenn, Drew thank you for your contribution again today.
Dr. Drew: No worries everyone.
Wayne: Booms Day Prepping is brought to you by a panel of Baby Boomers talking to Boomers about being Boomers. In today’s show, we’ve talked about “How old is too old?” We’ve talked about “How old is too old to have S plates on your cars as senior citizens? “How old is too old to have hair that is a natural color or a gray color?” “How old is too old for Botox?” We’ve talked about, “How old is too old in retirement?” “How old is too old in working?” and “How old is too old to just enjoy the life we have?” This is the Baby Boomer show, it’s Booms Day Prepping, my name is Wayne Bucklar.