Tis the season of broken promises. The flip of the calendar page to a new year always holds such promise as we resolve to change this or that behavior -- lose weight, exercise more, wash that man right out of our hair. You get the idea. But most of the time, our resolve melts away faster than the snow on the ground in New York City. And what we are left with is muddy brown slush and a pantry full of Jenny Craig dinners.
We would like to propose a more realistic list of resolutions for 2014. Here is our list of five resolutions no boomer should ever make.
1) I won't wear reading glasses.
Since our arms don't appear to grow longer with age -- clearly an evolutionary oversight -- it just keeps getting harder and harder for most of us to read. Do you know what percentage of the population eventually succumbs to needing reading glasses? Try 100 percent. And yet, there are hold-outs among us, resisters of the inevitable. Now nobody is suggesting that anyone should resort to wearing one of those librarian-like reading glass ropes around your neck to stop you from putting your glasses down and forgetting where they are, but surely it's time to go for the glasses. Don't put it off another year.
2) I won't get a hearing test because there is nothing wrong with my hearing.
There is nothing wrong with your hearing but you need the TV volume turned up high and every time someone says "Did you take out the garbage?" you ask "What's wrong in the garage?" There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness. Don't fight the inevitable because when you do, every relationship in your life suffers.
3) I will retire this year.
While you may like to, and while there may be a couple of generations measuring your office for new drapes, the truth is that mid-lifers are likely to stay working longer. The reason why is simple: We can't afford to retire. The recession blew a whole through our retirement funds and while housing values have ticked back up, we are still shoveling out from our debts. On top of that, many of our adult children are still unsettled, which is a euphemism for unemployed and living in their childhood bedrooms. So don't be making any rash promises to the Harley in the carport that the two of you will be hitting the lonesome highway any time soon. According to a survey by TD Ameritrade, the average Baby Boomer is a half-million dollars short on retirement savings. And 74 percent of Boomers surveyed say they will need to rely "heavily" on Social Security in retirement; the average Social Security check is a whopping $1,230 a month. Just rent "Easy Rider" a few more times.
4) I will have amazing sex three times a week, just like I did when I was in my 20s.
We actually don't know anyone over 50 who says this, but for the one guy out there who puts lifts in his shoes and faithfully glues on a hair piece each morning and thinks this thought in his head, we want to say: No, no you won't. Given the technological and pharmaceutical advances of the past few decades, it shouldn't come as a surprise that many older adults are still sexually vigorous, or as one news outlet quipped, sexually viagarous. The discussion isn't a whether they are or not -- they most certainly are according to a large Indiana University study -- but a how often and how good. Weigh in, readers, you know you want to.
5) I will skip my mammogram/colonoscopy/pap smear/prostate exam because I just don't have time/don't want to pay the co-pay/find those tests to be so unpleasant.
We hear you on all of the above but don't do it.