Saturday, October 21, 2023

The 3 Goals of Senior Citizens

According to a recent study, here are the three biggest goals of senior citizens: 1) lose weight, 2) write a book, and 3) take a long trip.

To be honest, I heard this on the radio the other day, and I wasn’t really paying attention until the very end of the report. I definitely got those top three goals right (because, always on the alert for an interesting essay topic, I wrote them down with a pencil while driving — something I suppose I should not do, or at least not admit). 
When I heard that report on the radio, I thought to myself, “I’m a senior citizen, and those are not my top three goals.” 

We have to remember that there are multiple stages of senior citizenship. I suspect the survey was focused on seniors who have just recently retired. Those three goals sound like something a newly retired person might want to do: lose weight so a heart attack doesn’t cause your retirement to last only six months; write a book, because we all have an interesting story to tell but no time to sit down and write it out; and take a long trip, since you’re no longer constrained by the two-week maximum vacation rule of the corporate world.

For seniors like myself who still work, our goals are not major “bucket list” items. Instead, they are simpler and modest. For example, my three biggest goals are: 1) get a good night’s sleep, which is never guaranteed anymore these days. Goal #1 ties in with my second goal: 2) don’t nod off during the mid-afternoon sales meeting, because it prompts the 40-something whippersnappers to giggle, “Nighty-night, boomer.” And my final goal is: 3) refrain from making Beatles or Crosby, Stills and Nash references during the sales meeting, since it causes those same 40-somethings to roll their eyes and mutter, “OK, boomer.” Many of the recent hires at our firm don’t even know my name, thinking “Boomer” is on my birth certificate.
Another stage of senior citizenship are those folks who have been retired for a long time. If they’ve lived well into their 80s, they probably were not overweight, and at this point getting too skinny is often more of a concern. They’ve already taken their “bucket list” long trip (back when walking wasn’t so difficult), and if they ever wanted to write out a book-length manuscript, they’ve either done it by now or decided it was a silly goal in the first place.

People in this age range also have goals more simple and modest, such as: 1) don’t fall down, 2) don’t forget to take your pills, and 3) don’t forget to put on pants before going out to get the mail.

Once I finally retire, my goals surely will change — and don’t call me Shirley. (“Really, boomer? A corny ‘Airplane’ movie reference? That was 43 years ago! You old guys have got to stop!”)
I suppose my goals at that time will align more closely to the report I heard on the radio. Back during Covid I joyfully put on the “Quarantine 15,” and haven’t done anything since to drop those pounds. I do have a bunch of ideas that would make great novels, and maybe then I’ll finally have time to sit down and write. And it would be nice to go on a long trip without worrying about all the work piling up at the office.

On the other hand, by the time I can afford to retire, I’ll probably go straight to the don’t fall, don’t forget your pills, and don’t forget your pants stage of life. Either way I’ll be fine, as long as whippersnappers stop saying, “OK, boomer.” 

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