The Broadway blockbuster “Pippin” featured a song entitled “No Time at All” sung by the lead character’s grandmother. A wonderful lyric from that number is “I believe if I refuse to grow old, I can stay young ‘till I die.” If this is not the mantra for the entire baby boomer generation, it should be.
No demographic since the Big Bang has ever spent so much time, energy and money warding off old age. We don’t even use the “O” word. Our grandparents were old; our parents were old; we are not old. We became “senior citizens” until that label got too descriptive. So we morphed into “active adults.” And that’s where it stood until I came across an ad for a medical company selling affordable health care to Seenagers.” Seenagers! The perfect hybrid adaptation of senior and teenager. After all, isn’t that exactly what we’ve been hoping for?
With a little boost from botox, hair implants, dental implants — implants I’d rather not think about — we can once again enjoy our teenage years. It does require some attention to detail. Like spending grueling hours pedaling through spinning class while shoe-horned into thigh-crunching spandex biking shorts. And walking. We walk. We walk for miles and miles on the beach, along bike trails, through neighborhoods and back roads. Walking in a relentless drive to maintain that slender adolescent figure. Our parents, the old people, never did that. They didn’t walk unless they had to. We’re so smart.
Romance? We seenagers haven’t lost that lust, that excitement, that anxiety of the dating experience (if we’re single, of course). We’re no different than our grandchildren in that department. Sure, our abilities may be compromised but we manage with all types of pills, lotions, pumps and potions. Have you ever heard the legend of “The Villages”? It’s an active adult enclave in Florida but somehow the size of Australia. Infamous for its rampant promiscuity and venereal disease, it might better be billed Hanky-Panky City. Of course, that’s just legend, and legends never really let truth get in the way of a good story.
In sports, seenagers take a back seat to no one. We simply make the necessary adjustments. We trade in our baseball bat for a golf club. A frisbee for a bocce ball. The 100-meter backstroke for water aerobics. We still play tennis; we just cut down the size of the court and call it pickleball. That’s tennis without moving.
We’re keeping pace socially. With the welcome exemption of a mosh pit, a sold-out doo-op concert has all the energy of a more youthful rock extravaganza. It’s as if “American Bandstand” never died; the place is packed with jitterbuggers and free-wheeling dancers steppin’ out in the aisles. They don’t need some karaoke machine to help with the lyrics; “Rock-N-Roll is Here to Stay” says it all. And we’ll toss down shots as hard as any millennial. Only ours are more likely a concoction of apple cider vinegar and kyolic garlic than Jose Cuervos.
High schoolers are bombarded with tests, SATs, PAARCs, midterms, finals. Things haven’t changed; we’re still taking tests. Only now they’re called screenings, procedures and examinations, and the results are more permanent. You don’t get to take an eye exam over if you flunk the first time; you’re immediately penciled in for cataract or laser surgery. Bomb on a hearing test and your options are limited; either get a hearing aid or go through life hearing only what you want. Where we once pulled all-nighters studying for a final, now we burn the midnight oil prepping for a colonoscopy.
We’re excited to be seenagers. All the attributes of youth but without the phoney ID’s; able to stroll past bouncers with a simple smile. Teenagers without acne. Teenagers with no curfew (I’ve got friends who have been known to stay out past 11). Teenagers with no allowance and their own pad. Pads in communities with names like Renaissance, Celebrate, Leisure Village, Leisure World, Leisure Woods. Promises of all the leisure time we need to feel 17 again. It takes time, lots of time, to keep up with all the extra-curricular activities. While high school offers pep club, chess club, future teachers of America guilds and debate teams, today’s “advanced youth” (Did I just invent another name?) sign up for everything from bourbon tastings to dance parties to cigar clubs.
We’ve succeeded where Ponce de Leon failed. He searched for the Fountain of Youth. We brought it home with us. It’s our youthful attitude that keeps the party going. We’re physically invigorated, emotionally energized, mentally … What was I talking about?