By Charlotte London
It seems as though only last week we were celebrating Christmas and already it is February. Soon it will be spring and we will be looking forward to all levels of graduations.
I remember reading in one of the brochures from my undergraduate alma mater, Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, that they were about to confer a degree on Nola Ochs. There is nothing unusual about that, except that Nola, as she preferred to be called, was 95 years old and was graduating alongside her 21 year old granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs.
As one of millions of Baby Boomers, the generation that we thought would never grow old, I am reflecting on our times. We did big things in big ways. Everything about our generation was big.
As of Jan. 1, 2011, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. In fact, on that day, today, and every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers (almost 4 million people) will reach the age of 65 and many have retired.
Whitney Houston asked the question in song, "Where do broken hearts go? Do they find their way home?" The looming question for us is, "Where do retired and retiring Baby Boomers go? And what or where is "home"? We have all heard the jokes about the golden years and many of us have laughed hysterically at the apparent contradictions between the promise and reality of those years — losses, illnesses, financial woes and, sometimes, general pain and suffering. But wait, it may be that we are missing something; we were also the "me" generation.
As we followed nature’s course into our marriages and parenting we continued to do big things. Our children changed the world, brought us the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter and other technologies we could only fictionalize in books. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. We are all on a journey, and sometimes some of us lose our way, and often the only way forward is to retrace our steps.
Melvin Johnson, an ordinary American gave us a simple advice "You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else."
Some things never change. We all still live in communities which will always need our service. Right now, the Richmond Hill Lions Club, which serves the community, is looking for a child who is blind to send to the Georgia Lion’s Camp for the Blind. If you have or know of such a child, please contact the RHLC.
As of her 100th birthday in November 2011, Nola Ochs was an M.A. student at FHSU and a graduate teaching assistant. Melvin Johnson founded Lions Club International, which is now celebrating its 100th anniversary. LCI has a current membership of 1.4 million members, in 46,000 local clubs in over 200 countries. We are still big, and in seeking, can find ourselves in community service to others.
London, Ph.D., is a resident of Richmond Hill.