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59ers Lead The Way

59ers by Terry Cochran

During the California "gold rush" of 1849, the leading edge explorers were called the 49ers. Today, as the leading edge Baby Boomers reach their 59th birthdays, they are called the 59ers. With the "silver rush" of their hair and the silver linings of their experiences, they are leading the way into yet another new era.

I remember when 59 was "old." Hard work, poor diet, too much smoking and drinking, and many other factors contibuted to someone who was "almost 60" feeling like he or she was approaching the end of the road.

Today, however, all that has changed. Fewer and fewer people still perform physical labor. Many are quite conscious of taking care of their health. And there is often an expectation that folks can be contributing members of society well into their 70's or even their 80's.

When I was younger, many agreed with entertainer Jack Benny's idea of saying he was 39 years old, whenever asked about his age. My father-in-law, for example, claimed to be 39 for more than 20 years. Today, though, it has been said that "59 is the new 39."

There is a sense that folks at 59 now are simply entering that next new phase of their lives. Baby Boomers have a history of reinventing themselves over and over again. Their parents may have had a single career -- or even a single employer! -- for their entire working lives. But that's sure no longer the case.

On the one hand, companies are using downsizing, rightsizing, or other euphemisms in getting rid of employees by the thousands. And on the other, there are new opportunities, new knowledge, even whole new industries popping up constantly -- see the internet, for example. With all of that, Boomers have become much more comfortable at adapting to change.

Yes, we all must deal with physical changes, as they occur. Modern solutions, however, can help to keep these changes from making you feel old and infirm:

  • Vision: Old-timers' bifocals have been replaced with stylish transition lenses
  • Hearing: Tinnitus and other hearing issues can be combatted with tiny devices now
  • Dental: Implants are beginning to replace dentures as the preferred solution
  • Joints: Nutritional supplements can often deal with common aches and pains
  • Wrinkles: My inbox delivers new solutions to me every day for skin care issues
  • Sexual health: Likewise, old Bob Dole commercials have been replaced with many alternatives
  • Hot flashes: Various pills and creams can also help with that "personal summer" and its many "heat waves"

The age of 59 used to be viewed as the beginnning of the end. Now perhaps it is simply the end of the beginning. 59ers can continue to lead the way into new advances in health care, housing, and lifestyle changes. And whether you are 59 today or already a bit older -- but still not "acting your age" -- or even a youngster of 55 or so who just wants to brag about being a leader, you can join me in proclaiming the 59er world view.

Boomers have a history of attacking problems, instead of just accepting them. And with the disposable income and education levels common today, that trend will certainly continue as we encounter the traditional problems of aging.

Just go to the BOOMERNET Apparel and Gift Shop and grab one of the new 59er shirts -- there are 3 different styles. Show the world that you are happy to be a 59er. And that "59ers Lead The Way" . . .

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