When I walked into the gym one day last month, the last thing I expected was to see that I was the Member of the Month for March. I had been going to the gym nearly every day and working with a personal trainer to regain the use of my left leg. Jennifer was terrific, and although I have never worked so hard in my life and felt like stopping some days, I learned that I had more steel in my spine than I thought.
I am thankful to be seen as an inspiration at this time in my life. Sometimes as older people in a culture that appears geared toward the young and ageism abounds, we are rendered invisible and often of little value. But, as the oldest generation, we have knowledge and wisdom from surviving the horrors that accompany being among the living. We know that hardships can be overcome, that sicknesses are sometimes healed, that if we patiently endure, situations will change, and that light can shine in the darkest of times.
We are more than conquerors through our faith in God. We have worked to better the world for future generations of our families and other families, even though some of us may remember little about the 1960s and 70s because we also partied hard. We protested until civil rights were granted and women were recognized as vital in the workplace and not just in the bedrooms and kitchens of homes. It wasn’t always easy to get up and go to work when we were exhausted or sick, but the people of the Greatest Generation, our parents, teachers, and mentors, taught us how to persevere.
I am grateful for the recognition, particularly because this has been a time of wondering if reaching my “three scores and ten” left me valuable to anyone. When I retired, I didn’t realize how much our jobs define who we are and our sense of worth to people around us. And it astounds me that the young people whom I admire and who have helped me in this newest physical escapade would think that all that talking while exercising (when I wasn’t crying Uncle!) found nuggets of wisdom from me. To give is more blessed than to receive.
We, the Baby Boomers, don’t have to do big things, like find the fountain of youth or end all wars, to be seen as needed and valuable. We just have to leave our homes and venture out to try new things and new places. We don’t know who needs us or is listening to what we say, especially when we talk of surviving the impossible or overcoming what we thought was inevitable. It sounds to us like we are just talking too much, and maybe no one wants to hear. But our knowledge and wisdom are needed today in this terribly divisive and hate-filled world. We are the voters and the donors. Let senior power be felt. We know how to protest until change comes. We are still vital to the health of nations, families, religious institutions, and each other.
Thanks to the people at the gym for their kind words. See you on the treadmill later, and please don’t hog the leg press!
Congratulations, Regina, on your being the member of the month of March at your gym! It says much to not quit despite the challenges and bring sunshine to those you are around. Yes, Baby Boomers have much to give others. Here is to not giving up! \o/
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Congrats on being member of the month!!!
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