By Sharon Sultan Cutler
President of monthly e-zine and business resource directory for Boomers to Seniors:
So I live in this active adult community. The snowbirds have flown away to what they hope will be better weather. They are already reporting to me via e-mail that the North and South are tied for a warm, humid, unpredictable summer. Somehow, that makes me feel slightly better as the perspiration of 98-degree weather falls from my face and neck!
Every morning at 9 A.M., I stare down my block of identical-looking ranch houses, and there is no one to be seen. I figure the men and women must be out working already. Then I remember that I am one of the 15 or so percent of active adult residents in this community who work for a living.
Actually, everyone works here. It just depends on your definition of working.
Several women I know are already an hour into water aerobics. They range from their early 50's to about 85. The few times this 57 year young woman tried to keep up with the regulars (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, same time, same pool), I was huffing and puffing. Therefore, I gave that up. Rather than being a loser, I would rather be a quitter.
Other people in the community have already finished their 6 AM or 7 AM walks. I notice the men walk with the men; the women with other women; and some even walk with their dogs. I presume same sex people seem to have much more to say to each other early in the day.
The fitness center is busy most of the day. Very few people talk as they go through their routines, or as some call it---"the circuit." I do go in there sometimes to observe how physically fit and active many people are. However, most of the time I work myself into a sweat when I watch the television infomercials on the latest fitness equipment. It can be pretty grueling being an observer!
What I am finding is that age does not have to get in the way of our activities, our thinking and our attitudes. Most of us think of ourselves as 10-20 years younger than we really are. People I know are fulfilling their dreams after many years of working or parenting. Now that should make front page newspaper headlines!
Even though I do not ask my neighbors how young or old they are (at least not right away), I love people-watching. Our tennis courts are booked days ahead; if it's Sunday, it must be Bocce; and many of the men have already left for golf or fishing by the time "The Today Show" comes on..
Many people are returning to school after 40, 50 or 60 years. Now that they are older and wiser, education is the "in" thing. Universities and colleges are catering to them with active adult learning centers. People are going to Summer Camps or Elder Hostels. Organizations are almost required by law to have expert speakers talking about every subject under the Florida sun.
Yes, we do have some things to be concerned about. They include health (hopefully good health) and quality medical care; economic concerns, family relationships (who's not talking to who); and most seriously, world affairs and terrorism. People are reevaluating what is important to them personally. Many of us are learning not to sweat the small stuff.
We talk about people who have their glasses half-full or half-empty. The half-full glass means hope, possibilities and future to me; the half-empty glass implies negativity and stagnation.
Personally, today I would like all of us to have a full plate---abundantly filled with all the good things we deserve.