It's not all doom and gloom as Baby Boomers mature

I sipped a tall glass of Florida orange juice as I watched the brilliant sunset from my Arizona window. The tranquility was jolted by the evening newspaper headline; "The Boomers are coming."

It looks like we will have to read about those born from 1946 to 1965 for as long as we are still alive.

I am stuck between the "Greatest Generation" that led us through the Great Depression and fought to victory in WWII and this overstocked generation of Baby Boomers that followed WWII.

My generation gets no credit for our small numbers that were born during the Depression. On the one hand, our small numbers have kept Social Security solvent while the Baby Boomers have grown to retirement. On the other hand, no one has noted that we produced those babies prior to birth control.

My attention was returned to the window provided by my television screen as the Orange Bowl was about to begin.

That was no Boomer leading the Penn State football team onto the field. Coach Joe Paterno, 79, was the general in charge of those talented and oversized grandsons of Baby Boomers.

Some old geezers refuse to get out of the way of the stampede of those Boomers now sitting in the stands and heading for retirement.

Another old geezer, Bobby Bowden, 76, led the Florida State Seminoles onto the other end of the Orange Bowl field.

These living legends have won more games than any previous coaches and have set a high standard for Boomers following them.

Like others that came ahead of those born between 1946 and 1965, Paterno and Bowden were reluctant to leave the stage at the Orange Bowl. The game went into three overtimes.

I thought I could read Paterno's lips as he instructed his young field goal kicker in the second overtime, "Miss that kick, son. Bobby and I are enjoying this and are not yet ready to see it end."

Paterno and Bowden are examples of how individuals are living longer and remaining productive in each generation. Baby Boomers can expect to live a healthy and productive life for 10 to 20 years longer than their parents.

That is a good thing.

Forget all the doomsayers that predict disaster as the irreplaceable Boomers move past 65. Few will actually retire at that age to sit and watch sunsets in Arizona.

Times change and creative Americans find good ways to change and adapt to new times.

Retirees from the greatest generation from WW II came to Kingman 30 to 40 years ago and bought 25-foot lots from Mr. Butler with small down payments and easy monthly payments. Single-wide trailers were added and the lifestyle fit the limited Social Security retirement income.

Today, Boomers are selling houses in California for 20 to 100 times what they paid for them, buying a house in Kingman for cash with half the money and investing the remainder.

How can the media make such doom and gloom out of this era of prosperity, long life and good health?

I have difficulty describing the rush of Baby Boomers in statistics and generalities. I see them as sons and daughters.

That includes eight men and women, counting the extras added with new marriages that have come with a longer life span.

Two are already retired after 30 years of work and a good retirement plan that kicked in near a 50th birthday ahead of Social Security.

One changed careers after success in a booming computer era that went bust. He did collect some valuable stock and has gone from owning a flight school to enrolling in law school.

Another made a midlife change after raising four children as a single mother and has completed law school.

Two daughters were more traditional mothers and housewives.

Another son builds houses in the Midwest. He and his wife are experiencing an empty nest as the children have moved on to their own lives.

A medical consulting business led a daughter to a hectic career that includes worldwide testing of a new drug for diabetics. Her husband retired from 30 years of marketing candy to join the business.

Not even my magic window can find any kind of common pattern among the eight Baby Boomers my wife and I know best.

Guess I will have to leave it to the media pundits and statisticians with crystal balls to predict the future from 2006 to 2031.

The number of people over 65 will increase from 36 million in 2006 to 72 million in 2031.

The number of women in the over 65 population is expected to outnumber men 21 million to 15 million. Men will probably like that better than women will.

The percentage predicted as poor and near poor is estimated under 7 percent.

My window to the past indicates poor was a lot worse when the first Social Security checks were written in the 1940s than it will be in 2031.

Sorry, I just cannot get excited or feel bad about the dire projections of those Baby Boomers getting older.

Getting older, in my opinion, is better than the alternative.

I am happy those eight Boomers my wife and I know best are still here and likely to live longer and healthier lives than their parents.

That is the kind of good news that makes me smile when I look out my window.