So, lounging in my mail box was the latest edition of the AARP Bulletin. There, on page 24, the blaring headline “The Boomers Turn 70”. This I needed?
OK, so yes, the first wave of our generation is turning 70. 70. Let that sink in. The Biblical threescore years and ten! I have a bunch of friends who have crossed, will cross or are a year or so away of crossing this boundary. For most of us, we still think of ourselves as maybe 45. (Our legs, knees etc may have another idea).
The article is quite good in reminding us of the unique position of Boomers, of how this generation has influenced society and how it is continuing to do so. In fact, as you read the piece, you are struck by how much has changed in our world since we were younger. Some of the personal stories reflect that change and others reflect the fact that there is still so much to do. There are warning signs as well, signs that many of us understand. One of them remains money. “More than 4 out of 10 of those reaching 70 this year risk running out of money in retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute”. This reality is an ever present concern especialy as we get older and may need care (it is estimated that 70% of us will at some point). Again, the economics of our aging is a major social justice issue for society.
The article also points out something that many of us know first hand. We will keep on working, some out of necessity, some out of sheer desire to do so.
“Surveys tell us those turning 70 this year, and over the next several years, are much more inclined to stay on the job than previous generations”. And as for retirement, well, we all know people who have left full time work to pursue other passions, from volunteering, to business start ups to travel. What is also present in the piece is the reality that age is a number and that how one chooses to look at life and time is really a better gauge of how we age. The gift of time that we have been given will allow many of us to pursue dreams and that same gift will offer all of us the chance to seek a sense of meaning for our own soul and self. Into our future we go, full steam ahead, for as one person said: “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring”.
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.