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Laura Gilbert: Life in your 60s resembles life in the ’60s

As the baby boomers grow into their 60s, one thing is becoming to become clear — they complain just as much as they did back in the 1960s!

The other day I attended a brainstorming event with a couple hundred baby boomers.Our gathering was one of seven stops on a multi-state tour led by a national community for civic engagement for individuals 50 and older.

The goal: collect grassroots recommendations to take back to Congress as they consider the Older Americans Act for reauthorization in 2011.Our recommendations were to fit within four pre-identified buckets: work, serve, learn and lead.

After several high-powered presentations, we broke into groups to complete our goals. I joined the “learn” group since my new business is all about helping adults who are contemplating a return to the classroom. I expected to gain insight and wisdom from this fine group of experts and leaders. I also expected to add my two cents to the communal pool of wisdom.

And then a funny thing happened.

It took about 5 minutes but suddenly it was déjà-vu.When have I been here before?  Who are these people?Why is this so familiar?Why do I feel the need to tease my hair? 

Then it hit me.

Junior high 1965. The high school kids “knew” everything and shared this opinion/knowledge repeatedly with increasing levels of volume. The facilitator was ignored. Frequent phrases included “We must have” “I want” and “Mandatory government action.” 

Verbal expressions were accompanied by familiar visual displays – gnashing of teeth, shaking fists, red face, leaning forward tiger-like.I squelched the instinct to hum “We shall overcome.” If these  60+-somethings could have risen from their chairs as easily as they did in 1965 I am certain foot stomping would have been heard. 

Huh … Do I really want to relive the 60s senior style?For the next 30 or (given my family history) 50 years?Eegads!Gazooks!No way Rocky!Hmmmm … no. 

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So today I’m looking at other ways to contribute to the aging of Americans.Does anyone have a cheap guitar for sale?

This post was written by Laura Gilbert, PhD on Back To School for Grownups.