Boom or Bust?

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I am at the tail end of what is classified as the "baby boomer" generation (1946-1964). For the last 30 years I have heard how this generation is numerically huge (after the war, "boom") and is living longer and healthier than ever before. In fact, our whole way of life has shifted as retirement communities have sprouted up all over and post retirement "recreational" lifestyles have taken off. Political parties devote major attention to this demographic and young parents find themselves more and more part of the sandwich generation (kids still at home but aging parents and grandparents to watch after).

We have become used to people living well past 90 and being over 100 is no longer an anomaly (remember Willard Scott on the Today Show?). However, those long lives belong to the "silent" generation (1945 and before). The oldest of the boomer generation just turned 69 this year. We boomers have assumed that because of our parents living longer, the incredible advancements in medical technology, and the emphasis we have placed on health, exercise, and nutrition - it is a given that we will live just as long or longer.

While this is most likely largely true, it does tend to give us a false sense of security for the future. This as brought home to me this past week when a parent that I had known through volunteer school work and my kids passed away very unexpectedly at the age of 44. This was after a dad of one of scouts in my boys' troop died the week before of a heart attack at the age of 50. Last year a mom of one of our high school cheerleaders collapsed at one of the games and then passed (that's southern for died). The year before a good friend of ours died at the age of 47. I've had multiple high school classmates die over the last few years before they reached 55.

Once I started looking into it, I found plenty of material to suggest that we might grow older but not healthier or not grow older.

So what does all of this mean? I don't normally write this "seriously", but this is important, at least to me. I am reminded to:

1. Don't take it all for granted.
2. Plan for tomorrow, but live for today.
3. Don't live arrogantly.
4. Enjoy today whole-heartedly.
5. Grow spiritually, this life is only a prelude to eternity.
6. Take care of myself, but don't obsess - that guarantees nothing.

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