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Never Talk About Aging to GLBT Baby Boomers!

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

It's true. When we started this project, we were told the one way to guarantee it a certain death would be to mention aging or retirement. After all, the gay community in general has always had an obsession with youth, and boomers, gay or straight, have no intention of ever retiring.

So, what did we do?

We launched On the Gay Horizon --- an online community dedicated entirely to aging and retirement issues for gay baby boomers!

What's Your Image of Retirement?

Perhaps we do focus on youth. I'm not so sure we focus any harder than our straight counterparts, though.

When boomers speak of not wanting to retire, I believe they are reacting to that mental image we all have. You know the one...

A formal parlor full of elderly women, all with blue-tinted hair, clutching identical purses in their laps, watching two or three old men, trousers pulled up to their arm pits, pace the floor while they all wait for the Sunshine Van to take them on this week's outing to the mall. And, there's always one motorized menace, racing back and forth asking everyone if they've seen George the cat. Of course, there isn't a cat. There never was a cat.

What's not to look forward to?

A Whole New World of Possibilities

None of us wants to end up riding the Sunshine Van. Even if they would let us --- which they probably wouldn't. And, I'm pretty sure none of us wants to dress like that!

That was our parents' idea of retirement. Not ours. We face a world bursting with possibilities. Like the new gay communities. When we were doing the research for the Top Gay Retirement (or Not) Communities, the hardest part was trying to figure out which one I wanted to end up in! That's incredible! I never dreamed I would have such a choice! But, it's not the only one.

I compare getting ready for the next part of the journey to going on vacation. Unless you are extremely wealthy, it's best to do a little planning ahead of time. Otherwise, you pretty much have to take whatever you get. For this journey, I don't want to settle. I want to aim for what I want. And that will take some planning.

I find myself excited about this part of my life! Perhaps because I know we're trailblazing here. We're the first GLBT generation to be in the position to choose. Our dreams have brought us this far, so what do you say we have some fun and start imagining the possibilities ahead?

Location... Location...Location

Let's start with the most basic question of all --- location. Where do you want to be? Consider these options:

• Stay exactly where you are
• Remain in your current area but change your living arrangements --- for example, buy a smaller house or condo
• Move somewhere totally different
• Move into a GLBT community
• Go on the road --- sell the house and buy an RV

These are some basic options. Which you choose will initiate a whole new set of choices and decisions. Start here. Think about how you want to spend the next part of your journey. We'll be providing more information, checklists, guides to help you choose where might be best for you.

Until then....imagine the possibilities.


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It's official -  I'm a boomer!

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

And that's got me thinking about things.  Mostly, I'm thinking about how to live the remainder of my life.  What are my core matters?  I've thought about it so much that I've named my company CoreMatters. 

At the heart --- the core-of everything we do --- is alignment.  Aligning our actions with our goals.  Our words with our deeds.  Our politics with our choices.  Our path with our destination. 

And alignment needs balance.  So, it seems to me that one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to create balance:

  • physical balance as we move through space and time,
  • intellectual balance as we wade though the reams of information we face each day, and
  • spiritual balance as we answer questions about our own existence.

Finding balance and living our lives is a journey, like that of a stream adapting to always changing amounts of rainfall.  So in this newsletter space, let's explore these elements in ways meaningful to you. Ask me questions, leave me comments, and let's see not where we end up, but simply where we go.

Today, we'll work on creating physical balance by using our core.

What is "our core"?

It's the lower half of our trunk or torso. If you stand up, feet together, and put your hands flat around your waist and tummy, you'll feel it.  Press there and you'll feel the layers of muscles, your lower ribs, your hip bones. Imagine your spine as an axis running up the center. This is the area which moves us through the world. You cannot sit or stand up, walk, run, crawl, lift, row, bike, board, blade, ski, swim or even lean forward to kiss someone without engaging your core. All movement of your body fires from here.  If you practice T'ai Chi, you know this is the area of dantien, where your chi resides.

What makes our core so important?

First, it houses some pretty special organs --- digestive and reproductive. Second, it contains the body's largest muscles --- the glutes (butt muscles), the psoas which wrap around from the lower spine (T12/L1) on your back side to the front of your thigh.  It also contains your abs, including rectus abdominus, transverse abdominals, obliques, and the necessary tendons and ligaments to make it all work. And most importantly, it contains our pelvis, the platform which supports this load including your eight pound head.

Start paying attention to this core. From now on, before you bend over to pull clothes from the dryer, before you shake out a rug, before you pick up your groceries, a pet, or a child, before you lift a leg to bend over and get sideways into a car seat, think about your core. Squeeze your ab muscles (navel to spine) before you make any of those moves-and hold that squeeze through the entire motion. The trick will be to use only your abs, not your glutes or anything else.

What's in it for you?

You will be using large muscles to move and support you (instead of your tiny lower back or arm or shoulder muscles); and therefore you will be protecting your precious back.

Do you need to specially train these lower ab muscles in a gym at great expense? NO!! You need only to use them in the movements you make every day. This is functional training at its simplest and best.

Of course, if you do train these muscles with a professional instructor, your strength will increase more rapidly. But don't think you need to.

Simply think about and use your core all day long. Before you get out of a chair, squeeze those abs. Before you sit down in a chair, squeeze your abs. When you're sitting at a traffic stop in your car, squeeze your abs.

Oh, and don't forget to breathe.

Try it for a few days. And let me know how it feels.

[Editor's Note: Ann-Marie Giglio, besides being a professional writer and the co-publisher of On the Gay Horizon, is the owner of a fitness studio focused on improving quality of life through the mind/body connection. She is a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor, AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor and SCW certified Pilates reformer instructor.]


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