Why are people in the seventies and eighties coming to my classes? I mentioned in a previous blog that when I began my career as a Licensed Massage Therapist I was constantly battling the impression that massage was simply a form of pampering. It was to be enjoyed only by the rich and the indulgent. Early on in my practice, I knew right down to my bones that it wasn’t true. Time after time I saw and felt how I helped people. As my career evolved, I looked for ways to keep my clients from hurting, to strengthen their core, and again, I had to campaign hard to get them to accept my message. But God bless me, many of them did, and they stayed with me on my journey, adding different elements of my services to their appointments with me.
I now take it for granted somewhat that the Baby Boomer generation, the tail end of which I was born into, will for the most part, be receptive to my message. What thrills me no end is when my older clients, people my Mom’s age, actually embrace my message. Those that don’t certainly show their age much more than those who do. The men and women who get regular exercise, even if it’s just long walks, are more alert, more active and more social. The people who resist this idea, who spend their days playing cards, eating fatty foods, and not exercising, have trouble. Their cognition is lower, they get depressed more easily, and they have trouble moving around.
When I was preparing to write this post, I was curious as to what to call people in the generation preceding mine, so I looked it up on the internet. They are commonly known as the silent generation. Their population numbers are low, they were born between the Great depression, WWII and the Korean War, and yet they produced so much of what was to become the seed of the most celebrated generation in history.
The Silent Generation was smaller than the WWI generation before them and the Baby Boom Generation afterwards due to the lower birthrate of the 1930s and ’40s. As a result, members of the Silent Generation were uniquely poised to take advantage of economic opportunities, thanks to the reduced competition. Many of them went on to harness the scientific and technological advances of the Second World War, developing innovative inventions which laid the groundwork for even more technological progress in the late 20th century. The Silent Generation had a tendency to be better educated than the WWI generation because of not having their schooling interrupted by the Depression and the war.”
Wikipedia went on to list the names of so many famous people that I recognized, including people like Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and George Carlin. Hardly people one would call silent. More likely one would call them innovators and creators of a fertile new reality that would foster the movements of the Beatnik and Hippy Generations. Too often we look at people in a certain phase of their lives and only see what is front of us. Look at a young person and all we see is someone who is young and fresh. Look at an old person, and all we see is wrinkles and a creaky back. I have learned through the years to always ask people about their lives, and when I do, I learn so much.
That “old” person has had two or three distinguished careers, and grandchildren with good jobs. That young person has gone out and campaigned for their chosen candidate, worked hard at getting the right schooling, and doing whatever it takes to earn a living in this harsh economic environment. It’s this kind of people who take my classes. Not just rich, or poor, but people who have a desire to learn, to be as healthy as possible, they don’t deny their age, while they also fight not to accept diminished capacity as simply something they must put up with because they are getting older.
I guess that is why they came now instead of earlier. Earlier, they were busy trying to bring up the Baby Boomers and taking care of their parents, The Greatest Generation. Then they took the time to stop fighting the notion that they could creat their own healthier style of living, and embraced it. That’s why they come.