I got an advertisement in an enewsletter the other day. It proclaimed the ‘Zoomer’ as a person who has the body of a 65-year-old, the mind of a 45-year-old, the libido of a 25-year-old and the heart of a teenager. Bottom line is that a Zoomer is a Boomer with zip!
Well, I pass the first hurdle. My body is definitely 65 years old, although I am not sure how that is measured. I am certainly in better shape than many (and not as fit as many others) so it seems to me that the body’s age is relative. I think my mind is doing okay: in many ways, I feel I am at my creative prime and getting stronger as the years pass. Fortunately, I am not a physicist, as they—along with chess champions and professional athletes—supposedly peak at an early age. One thing that my libido has in common with when I was 25 years old is scarcity. I can’t remember the rest. Now as for having the heart of a teenager, I don’t fit the definition of a Zoomer. When I was a teenager my heart was always broken or in the process of breaking. Now I just love, live and appreciate those who love me. Contentment is the word that comes to mind.
So maybe I am almost a Zoomer.
Our generation is certainly more engaged and active than the generation that precedes us. We continue to be aggressive about learning and are becoming more and more entrepreneurial as we age. As I point out in my new audio book, Retiring Right: How to Invent the Rest of Your Life, retirement is becoming a new beginning for most of our generation (rather than merely the end of a career). Millions of us are stepping up to take on leadership challenges as we age. We are waking up to the fact that if we don’t clean up our messes before we die, then our children will be left holding the bag—and there are no shortage of messes to clean up.
If a Zoomer is a Boomer with zip, I wonder what a Boomer without zip might be called? Probably a Gloomanddoomer.
Someone accused me of being optimistic about aging the other day. I told them that an optimist is someone who predicts a positive outcome. I don’t think I do that. In fact, I would predict that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Whether we look at the environment, corporate greed, social injustice or any of thousands of issues ranging from trafficking in children to terrorism, there aren’t a lot of positive indicators. No, I am not optimistic, but I am also not willing to sit on the sideline and become part of a spectator society watching the world fall apart on television.
I coined Serene Ambition as a term that can convey in one phrase the idea of profound acceptance (and responsibility) for the ‘way it is’ while at the same time holding a vision of a larger possibility. It is a commitment to creating a future that is an expression of our dreams and the kind of compassion we felt in the 60s and 70s. I am not promoting a return to Camelot, but I am encouraging each of us to stand FOR something—to stand for a future that works for everyone.
Our world has become tiny as we have become more connected in the past few decades. And as the world gets smaller, it is incumbent on each of us to get larger—to share our wisdom, to embrace uncertainty, and to create solidarity across the board. If our children are the Starbucks generation, perhaps we are the Star Trek Generation, finally ready to lead all of us to “…go where no men (or women) have gone before.”