Consider for a moment, a staggering reality; for the next 17 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach 65 every single day. Of course this is only an estimate, because although lifespans are considerably longer than they were 100 years ago, and we are also cramming in 100 times more environmental toxins, processed foods and hours logged in front of the television, this isn’t true across the board, so those numbers could be less. Hard to say, but either way, the flood of old farty-farts is a comin’!
On the flip side, medical technology continues to improve and every single day for the next 17 years, scientists will also be continuing to find ways to help us live longer, so the number could be spot on. This doesn’t include the undocumented Boomer-age people that might not have been counted in the last census, so here I go again, being all confusing yet equally shocking. Not as shocking as Two Girls and a Cup, but close.
No matter the exact number, it is a fact that the economics of the population aging so rapidly produce some pretty overwhelming challenges for us as a country. During the government shut down, I thought a lot about the Boomers. A LOT. Unless there is a planet killer asteroid heading our way, the undeniable and inevitable truth must be tackled like Bruce Willis and his crew of roughnecks did in Armageddon, which I realize was just a movie, but if I’m flipping channels and that bitch is on, I’m glued to the goddamn screen!
We need to act quickly, plan for blunders, and I’m not just addressing the buffoons in Congress. We all should be relentless in our pursuit of our goal, which is to prevent a potentially unrecoverable collapse of our economic system. We just can’t keep being buffoons, goddammit!
I recently stumbled into middle age. I’m 43. I didn’t consider myself middle age until my doctor repeatedly referred to me as such. Who am I to argue? If the average American woman lives to be 79 years old, then I am indeed middle aged. Not only am I middle aged, but I’m quite sure that my denial of this fact, was temporary anxiety management. Now that I’m officially sort of old, I need something little more enduring to help me cope, like maybe a glimmer of hope that the overwhelming problems facing our country with regard to supporting the rapidly aging population will be manageable. I’m trying to manage this care of the aging thing right now with my mom and let me tell you right fucking now, it ain’t easy!
And that’s why I’m writing about this today!
Plenty of people my age are using denial as their stability. The majority of the Baby Boomers have been doing it for decades! It worked for them because the cash was still flowing. Sort of. It was flowing enough for us all to fake it, but now that our country is fucked six ways to Sunday in so many important ways, the only people who can deny reality are the many, many, many fucking Baby Boomers suffering from dementia. But that is a whole ‘nother blog.
As a professional in the field of Psychology and Gerontology, I am tasked with the responsibility of working to find solutions to the challenges that face all of us as we age, not just the Baby Boomers. The way this particular situation plays out will set the stage for future generations.
We watch our government leaders; parents, co-workers and friends attempt to navigate the social, psychological, economic, spiritual and biological aspects of aging. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? What are YOU doing? Just asking, because using denial as anxiety management is about as useful as asking a toddler to cooperate at fucking bedtime.
How can we know what to do when we are faced with an unprecedented social and economic crisis? We plan and we act. We retire denial as the old and ineffective way and hire reality as our roadmap to our destination. I’ve retired it completely as I navigate the system of getting my momma squared away, and I miss denial. I miss ignoring reality.
This reality should terrify you! If it doesn’t, denial is strong in you, Padawan. The dark side is real.
There is no quick solution to the problems that face our nation as the population ages, but there are fantastic opportunities for continuous progress if we are unrelenting in our pursuit of a strategy that embraces our humanity, not our politics. As Abraham Lincoln said so long ago, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” One some level, I agree with Abe, whose many memorable and wise quotable bites of wisdom have guided our country through troubled times.
We are now facing troubled times. Each day counts. Stop blaming, stop whining and stop pointing fingers. Start thinking, start helping, start planning, and working for your future and the future of the people you love.
And stop being mean about Ben Affleck playing Batman. Thankyouverymuchtheend.