Top 25 Songs for Aging Baby Boomers

Sixties albumby Jan Simpson Benvenuti

Recently, one of my hip brothers turned 69. Still handsome and fun-loving, his long history of being the life of the party is undiminished by age. He remains a hilarious story-teller, a talent inherited genetically and nurtured around the dinner table by my father, the youngest son of Scots-Irish immigrants. While the health benefits of positivity are espoused by researchers and clinicians alike, it remains the default in my family ethos, an ethos not fueled by alcohol consumption but the sheer joy of being alive and navigating life together.

Over the years as the youngest sibling – MUCH younger, I might add – I’ve observed my parents and now my siblings navigate health challenges with grace and laughter. In my family, humor matters. It is the glue that binds us, that helps us confront challenges with joy and celebrate successes with humility.

Yet this year, I struggled to find an appropriate birthday card for my brother who is transitioning toward elderhood. A snarky one about age would not do; he has a sensitive soul. Photos of half-naked women seemed inappropriate and ones with elderly men wouldn’t resonate for someone who remains eternally 35 in spirit.

Then, I found it at Hallmark: TOP 25 FAVORITE SONGS.

Here they are. If you don’t get the references, lucky you. If you do, enjoy the laughs along with us.

#25 Let’s Get Physicals
#24 Ain’t No Burrito Mild Enough
#23 I Wear My Bifocals at Night
#22 A Hard Day’s Nap
#21 Who Left the Milk Out
#20 The Long and Winding Nose Hair
#19 I Can’t See Clearly Now
#18 I Just Died in Your Arms (Call 911)
#17 Moany, Moany
#16 Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on the Bathroom Door
#15 I’m Bringing Saggy Back
#14 To All the Girls I’ve Disappointed Before
#13 I Want a New Drug Plan
#12 Hey, You, Get Off My Bumper
#11 Rock Me Gently, Dammit
#10 1-900 Is the Loneliest Number
#9 Achy Breaky Hip
#8 It’s Only Muzak (But I Like It)
#7 Groovy Kind of Love Handles
#6 I’ve Had the BM of My Life
#5 The Sound of Silent (But Deadly)
#4 Stair-Lift to Heaven
#3 Baby Got Backache
#2 Y.M.C. eh?
#1 Waking Up is Hard to Do.

Positive Attitude Extends Life

by Nancy Shohet West

One day after taking my two children to visit an elderly neighbor, I asked them to imagine what it must be like to be his age.
“Frustrating,” said my son. “He can’t walk fast or ride a bike or do sports. So he’s probably not having much fun.”
“Lonely,” said my daughter. “He doesn’t have any children in his house.”
Well, it’s possible they were both right. But it’s also possible they were both wrong – or that even if they correctly identified the man’s circumstances – limited mobility, solitary household – they miscalculated his feelings about it.

Stanford University professor Laura Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center of Longevity, notes that for many adults, contentment and pleasure in life actually increase as they age.

The possible reasons for this are manifold. As my children surmised, elderly people face circumstances that may look to the rest of us like obstacles: increasing levels of physical disability, a decrease in energy, less human interaction than younger people often have in their lives. But as today’s population ages, many members are also reporting some surprising “up sides” to the experience. Some who attacked the career climb with a vengeance in their earlier adulthood are finally finding the time for hobbies, interests and intellectual enrichment. Seniors who opt to sell family homes and downsize often enjoy freedom from home maintenance and yard work. And while having close family for support would certainly be considered a benefit in most circumstances, older people find it enormously liberating to be done with all the anxieties and uncertainties that accompany parenting.

Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, a psychologist and researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill, makes a compelling case for “positivity” in her book of the same name (published in 2009 by Three Rivers Press). “Your mild and fleeting pleasant states are far more potent than you think,” Fredrickson writes. “We know now that they alter your mind and body in ways that can literally help you create your best life.”

This positivity can be a particularly potent factor in the aging process. According to Fredrickson’s research, “Scientists have shown that people over seventy attend to and savor positivity more than do those with fewer years and wrinkles. This may be the wisdom of old age: a focus on positivity can make late life fulfilling, despite the inevitable aches, pains, and memory loss.” Indeed, looked at in this light, positivity may be relevant not only to those seniors who actively prefer the circumstances they find themselves in during their later years but to any senior who has weathered life’s bumps and tapped into his or her own fundamental stores of resilience.

Through the use of a test that poses simple questions asking subjects to look over the previous 24 hours and rank themselves in categories regarding emotions such as fear, anxiety, humiliation, self-consciousness, optimism, wonder, gratitude and love, Fredrickson discovered that experiencing positive emotions versus negative emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity.

Can you increase your positivity? Absolutely. You can find out your own positivity ratio, or simply understand more about what it measures, at www.Positivityratio.com. Once you understand the basic premise, it will be easy to identify thought patterns, behaviors, and other practices you can alter or expand upon to make your positivity ratio closer to where you’d like it to be.

Is your parents’ or older loved one’s  positivity ratio higher than yours?

©Circle of Life Partners™