For New Year’s, this baby boomer is learning to play defense

One thing that pleases us a lot here at BoomerCafé is hearing how baby boomers feel about being….well, baby boomers. Hillary Rettig of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is one of them. Author of a new book, “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block,” she writes for BoomerCafé about self-realization, namely, how she’s learning to play defense!

Typically, when people make New Year’s resolutions, they play offense: “This year, I want a new job.” “I want a new lover.” “I want to move to another city.”

Not me! As a boomer (and late bloomer) who only in the last ten years got it together professionally and romantically, I’m happy and grateful to be exactly where I am.

Author Hillary Rettig.

Author Hillary Rettig.

No, my resolutions are more about defense.

Some time between the ages of 50 and 55, I started thinking more concretely of my own aging and mortality. They were not just something that happened to other people — or to me — in some unimaginably distant future. They became imminent, breathing presences… and they seemed to be steadily drawing ever closer.

If you infer from this that I’ve had an incredibly lucky life, going this long without such serious thoughts, you’d be right. Many people develop an intimate acquaintance with loss and death far earlier than age 55. Oh, sure, I’ve had my losses: I mourn my late father, my late dogs, and even in the midst of my current happiness, my first, failed marriage. But compared to the much vaster losses many around me have endured, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

My main worry now is that I’ll get hit by a bus, either literally or metaphorically. I have so much I want to get done, and life remains so fascinating. And I want to be there for my partner Jan, a wonderful man who has endured his own losses.

[Hillary Rettig’s book, The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block, is available at]

Because of my luck, I haven’t had to give much thought to my body and its needs. But that’s changing. Like many boomers, every day I awaken with aches and pains, and every few months I seem to acquire some annoying (and secretly frightening) new physical deficit.

It would be easy to panic, and perhaps even to give up.

Defense seems a lot harder than offense, especially if you were raised an aggressive and ambitious New Yorker.

Unless you’re grateful, as I am, to have so much to defend.

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