I spent Saturday night at a rock concert. I was invited by my friend Kathy to see the band “Queen” perform at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The tickets were part of a birthday gift from her husband Benoit when she turned 70 in April. She is a friend of Brian May, one of the founders of the band, who is still considered one of the best guitarists performing today. Kathy never misses an opportunity to see them perform and instructed me (a rock concert novice) on what to expect, how to behave, what to wear, when to sit, stand, clap, etc. etc. etc. There is an art and skill to being the perfect Queen fan, and she has it mastered.
I was prepared for Brian’s artistry, but not for his boundless energy as he performed song after song, changing guitar after guitar ruling the stage and mesmerizing the sold-out audience of devotees. His distinguishable mass of curly hair may be “arctic blond” (as my friend calls it) but even the most seasoned musicians could not compare to his command of the venue during the 2 ½ hour performance of some of the bands most well-known and iconic hits – Bohemian Rhapsody, Under Pressure, We Are The Champions, and We Will Rock You. He’s still rockin’ hard in his 60s.
Hanging out with Kathy that night made me think, being 70 is not what it used to be. When I was a teenager 70 was old. Like really old. You know, when all physical activity would begin and end with liniment oil, Ben-gay and a heating pad. That old. Things have definitely changed. As someone who is edging closer and closer to 50, I have a hard time keeping up with the women in my life who have celebrated the big 7-0 this year. Kathy can clearly out-exercise and out-rock me any day. My mother-in-law Marva, who also turned 70 in April, can out-style me with her designer shoe collection (yes, she’s still wearing 6-inch heels to church every week), and my mother Cheryl can out-politic me as she travels up and down the state of California representing the people of the 47th assembly district (by the way she didn’t celebrate her 70th birthday in February, instead she celebrated the 30th anniversary of her 40th birthday). I admire these ladies not just for their wisdom, but also for their outlook on life and aging. Women like them are no longer just aging gracefully, they are teaching us how to maintain a youthful spirit as they rock, strut, serve, and truly enjoy the journey of life.
I recently had a conversation with David Collins, an international developer of active adult communities, who shared his thoughts on the upside of aging and the longevity revolution. Every single day 10,000 boomers turn 65, he told me, and that will continue for the next 17 years. People are living longer and healthier lives, volunteering and pursuing philanthropic endeavors more than ever, and providing skills, talent, and expertise in second and third careers. With the continuing advances in technology and medical research and an average life expectancy that has increased by 35 years since the beginning of the last century from 41 in 1900 to over 80 now, 70 is just not what it used to be…and that’s good news for all of us.
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