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Baby boomers like to think they will live forever. But is 60 the new 40? We’re getting old and senile fast but we need to keep our sense of humor
By Ray Hanania
I was reading the lament of another journalist who insisted that although life is easier and healthier in our generation compared to our parents, 60 is not the new 40.
Maybe. But the truth is that I am 62 and I may look 62. But I don’t feel 62. When I think of my father, who died at the age of 69 of emphysema – he smoked two packs of Camel filterless cigarettes a day for 60 of those 69 years – I don’t recall him being as energetic as I feel today.
But my dad, George, was one tough Palestinian American. We both served in the military and we both love this country, too.
I go to the health club almost every morning around 6 am and workout on the treadmill walking and running three miles and then doing some weight exercises for the arms.
I clear my brain by never missing a chance to admire the hot looking women. It was easier to enjoy the “eye candy” when I was at LifeTime Fitness. But LifeTime Fitness didn’t treat me so well, so I left and signed up with Palos Fitness. LifeTime is for a younger set. The medium age at Palos Fitness is much higher, more my generation. So instead of enjoying “eye candy” views, I spend a lot of time avoiding a lot of “eye prunes.”
I spend a lot of time on my computer, not just writing but reading. Maybe I’ve gotten lazy, because I listen to a lot of audio books in my car going to and from work.
I prefer non-fiction. One of my favorites is about other baby boomers, like “Life” by Rolling Stones drug king, Keith Richards. Now, I’m listening to “Blood Cold,” the story of Robert Blake’s crazy life with Bonnie Lee Bakely, who he was accused of murdering. He was acquitted, but convicted in a civil case (ala O.J. Simpson).
Knowing what I know about Bakely, I probably would have killed her, too.
The other day, I actually sat down on the couch and watched, from start to finish, the last movie that Humphrey Bogart made before his death, “The Harder They Fall.” The story of a longtime newspaper columnist who lost his job when his newspaper folded, and he had to take a job working for a racketeer (Rod Steiger) who rigged, with Bogart’s help, professional boxing matches.
What a great movie.
I don’t recall my dad ever waxing longingly about any movies he watched. And, I don’t remember my dad reading any books, although he was a pretty smart dude who worked hard.
I can’t wait until the new Jurassic Park movie comes out, or the new Star Wars film. I’ll be front row for both. Of course, I do go to see practically every new movie that is made. My dad loved Jack Paar, Mitch Miller and Ed Sullivan.
Truth be told, I miss Johnny Carson. He had class that today’s talk show hosts just lack.
Is 60 the new 40? Will we baby boomers live forever like we think, or hope?
I know one thing. I pay more attention to the foods I eat, although for a long time I was addicted – and I mean addicted – to Diet Coke. It was a 40-year love affair and 10 cans of Diet Coke a day, which I only gave up recently when a news report claimed the dietary ingredient was the cause of my growing gut.
Is Diet Coke my generation’s cigarettes? Or do baby boomers just love to make excuses?
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and media consultant. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This post has already been read 96 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com