Roxanne Tellier: Will You Still Need Me? Will You Still Feed Me? When I’m 64.

Roxanne DBAWISTick tock, Tick tock. Time is marching on for everyone, but oh so very visibly for the Baby Boomers. And most particularly for those of us who chose careers that put us in the public’s eye. If you are lucky enough to stay on the right side of the grass, you are going to get old, and if you have a scrap book full of photos, you are going to have proof positive that aging in our society is not for the weak of heart or stomach.

bettedaviseyesAs Bette Davis and her eponymous eyes told us, “Old age is no place for sissies.

Weren’t we all gods and goddesses when we were young? My friends and the people I admired certainly were. Born in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, these musicians grew up in times very different from the next few generations. Arguably, the quality of the food was better, truly organic, but future generations benefitted from fluoride in the water, medical improvements, and improvements to the food available. (I’m not talking GMO ‘improvements’ here, just better agricultural health and safety standards.)

macca and nancyOur heroes, the people we admired, those who shaped rock and roll, and trained the media to expect fireworks and scandals, are now hitting their golden years. Some, like Sir Paul McCartney, 71, have chosen to continue to celebrate life, touring and recording whilst enjoying his cher tourrecent marriage. The amazing Cher, Goddess of Pop, continues her reign spanning 50 years of hit songs, still touring at 67. The Rolling Stones – add up the ages of Mick (70,) Keith (nearly 70,) Charlie (72,) and Ron Wood (66,) and the total is nearly 280 – racked rascal scooterup yet another fortune during their latest “Farewell” tour. Mock their aged faces if you will, but they are all still kicking ass and taking names, at an age when the average North American is swigging Geritol, wearing mom jeans, and taking the occasional ride on a mobility scooter or golf cart.

cat lady jocelynOthers have fallen by the wayside, emerging periodically to shake a fist at the antics of “these kids today.” It’s all in the genes and the attitude. And maybe the odd nip and tuck, some odder than others. Why is it that everyone who has a lot of facial plastic surgery always seems to end up looking like Cat Lady Jocelyn Wildenstein?

Our society, gaga with love for youth and beauty, is more than happy to post horrible, non-Photo Shopped photos of our idols, now stricken with that incurable disease, “age.” The engine of the world runs on youthful ignorance and exuberance, not 39 year old gaythe wisdom of those who’ve already made choices based on time, trial and error. Or so the self-appointed gurus of the advertising world would like you to believe.

Casting aside the dubious distinction of being venerated as a tribal elder, the fact is that marketing is doing a very poor job of understanding, respecting or reaching today’s Boomers, that bulge in the belly of society’s snake. Born between the years of 1946 and 1964, we are the largest and most talked about generation of people in bulging snakehistory, and still constitute about 26% of the population. We were the Silly Putty that shaped the way music, art, literature, and politics evolved.

Even in our senior years, we continue to have an impact. Despite advertising that salivates over a younger demographic, Boomers watch 174 hours of television a month, 63% more than Millennials, the 18-to-34 year-old generation. The kids may be dumping Facebook for greener pastures, but more than half of us are addicted to the site. More than 40% of Apple Inc. products are bought by Boomers.

old age and treachery

Whether we are well off or eking out a living, we’re not averse to spending on what we want. We buy more cars, travel more, and shower money on our pets, which we treat like treasured members of the family. Recently, Amazon.com Inc introduced a website specifically for people over 50. And they are enjoying a good profit from this group of consumers, who want everything from vitamins to cosmetics and anti-aging creams, to books and entertainment media. We are the “no one” that the entertainment business thinks is not buying CDs or books or enjoying films.

The music business refused to give up their outmoded thinking, preferring to keep an iron fist on distribution and profits, and believing that they understood the buying public. They were spectacularly wrong. As is anyone who continues to believe that the over 50’s are cheap and stuck in their ways. Yet only 15% of advertising dollars are spent marketing to people with the time and money to indulge in whatever strikes their fancy. We’re looking for new experiences and ways to enjoy sex toys booksurfing the ‘net, plucking goodies from what we find on eBay, Etsy or Amazon, which are then sent safely and conveniently right to our doors. They want to sell us assisted living devices, while we’re on Shopbot, comparing the merits of the newest sex toys.

Some of us are incredibly healthy, like Olga Kotelko (94), perhaps the most famously fit senior citizen of recent years; she holds every track and field record for her Masters Competition age group of the National Senior Games. Mitch Seavey, 53, recently became the oldest person to ever win the Iditarod, while Kim Lumsdon became the oldest woman to make it across the lake at the age of 49 in 2006. Three days later, Colleen Shields, 54, took away that distinction.

But some of us are falling prey to diseases, both mental and physical. It’s hard to be optimistic when you’re “tired of waking up tired,” and have to deal with the aches and pains of an aging body. We may worry maurice chevalierthat we won’t make it to our next birthday without yet another medical setback. We can’t all be lumped into any formal demographic; we’re all aging differently, largely based on how well we took care of ourselves in our youth, and what we have to look forward to in our daily lives. Good genes are a plus, but our mental outlook and daily regimen decides how we’ll spend those years remaining to us.

woo hoo what a rideI’m torn. I would dearly love to be a healthy old lady, but struggle to find the willpower to curb my vices. Part of me wants a comfortable old age, while the rocker in me yearns for excitement and a little more of what I fancy.

I do know this, however. Those who’ve never stopped dreaming, who can laugh at themselves and the foibles of others, and who refuse to become rigid in their thinking, are the people others want to secret of geniusbe around. We all choose, every morning, despite what’s gone before, and what ills or joys await us during the coming hours, the attitude we’ll bring to our day. Choose love, wide-eyed wonder and acceptance, and you’ll only grow old chronologically.

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

One Response to “Roxanne Tellier: Will You Still Need Me? Will You Still Feed Me? When I’m 64.”

  1. Age ain’t shit. It’s the fear of age that cripples us.

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