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Sixty-Something: Every New Year - Getting Older But Acting Younger

T.J. Clemente

As the New Year rolls in we all technically become a year older legally somewhere. Age is just a number but sooner or later those numbers add up to thresholds of life stages. The new game is extending life stages with such phrases, as sixty is the new forty, etc. These days the number of sixty-somethings who say they feel younger has grown. But there is a silver lining, which is the idea of "getting older but acting younger."

The holidays are wonderful for reflecting on days of past. When you are sixty-something you have quite a few. I for one seem to remember only the best times, blocking out the holidays that for whatever reason became a version of family feud. Instead I remember the family decorating the tree, the opening of presents and the chaos that followed. I suppose we all have that bicycle memory be it when we received one or bought our children their first ones or in my case both occurred. We all took a short but wonderful first ride together later on Christmas day - very bundled up.

The trend on the East End is one of older people frequenting younger hip places. Who am I to judge why people do this? I do it because I love live music, I love good energy, and I still am not ready to learn the card game Bridge, (although my mom played at a championship level at my age) so I still go out to hear live music.

I have noticed through the decades when I went skiing everyone around seemed to be my age. The same is true when I play tennis. At the NYAC when I reached the finals of a tennis tournament in 1984, (only to lose to my older brother Elia) the draw had 64 men in it. I believe there were less than a handful over 45 that year. This year that same tournament was played with a draw of less than 30 with hardly anyone under 45!

Now statistics show my baby boomer generation has the highest medium numbers in this country's population and that may account for some of these observations. Another factor is a shift of what the newer generations do with their free time. However what startled me were the facts laid out by Professor Gideon Rose at a lecture on Foreign Affairs at The Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton. Dr. Rose was a former Clinton NSA adviser. He stated that 65 percent of India's population was under the age of 30. He explained how that will affect the 21st century in ways of growth and prosperity.

I still love going to East End beaches to swim. I just took my sailboat out of Gardiner's Bay onto land for the winter on December 21. At 65-years-old I am not a potted plant. I play some tennis and golf and still hike perhaps 20 miles every week with my wife Cindi. I do this not to stay young but because I love these activities. I joke how when I was in my 30's I thought I was sort of old to be riding a street bicycle on 30-mile rides. Now in my mid-sixties every other rider is around my age. Younger folks seem to skateboard and truthfully I just don't see many sixty-something folks skateboarding.

However my last examples of folks getting older but acting younger revolves around music. When I was younger and went to weddings the bulk of the dancing was a combination of Waltz's, Cha Cha Cha's, and perhaps a Tango with a few modern songs highlighted by "Let's Twist Again!" Not so now! Everybody is dancing like we did at our 8th grade dance, weaving bopping and roving about. Also many times the folks paying the music are 50-60 something years old. They don't play Lawrence Welk music but straight teen rock dance tunes of the last five decades. I must add I still remember my dad tearing up the dance floor at every party he attended to Jim Croce's "Leroy Brown." A quiet dignified World War II Air Force type of guy would just become someone else during that song. I suppose we all have a song or two that transforms us into some high-energy realm.

It's as simple as this, you are not as old as you feel, you are your in fact your age, but feeling younger as you grow older is so much better than feeling older than you are.

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