When We Get Older, We Just Get “More So”

I once heard an elderly Yankee explain the effect of personality on age in a rather unique way. She said when we get older, we just get “more so”.

Wise? Lucky you. You have something to look forward to when you’re in your eighties. Funny? Invite me to your next dinner party. I’ll bring a dessert. Ornery? Count me out, unless you want me to kick your non-bodacious heinie. Stubborn? This can go either way. If you’re focused on the positive, I’m with you. If it’s going to be a “bitch and brawl” fest, fuhgedaboudit!

Think about it. Who were you as a child? Who are you now? Can you see where you are headed?

So very often, we forget that personality grows with us. Children have their own little quirks and traits, sometimes endearing, sometimes irritating. Perseverance often shows up in childhood in the kid who stays out until dark, shooting those baskets and perfecting the three-point shot, or the budding genius who builds a model of the next rocket ship to the moon with a couple of sets of Legos. A future artist will spend hours alone and scrunch up countless sheets of paper in the quest for one really decent drawing. From the persnickety to the pesky, from the superhero to the snarky among us, our personalities emerge in our youth and drag us through adulthood.

Ever meet a lawyer who didn’t like to argue? That’s a kid who spoke up in school and offered up opposing points of view to the teacher who never yielded to any form of dissent.

Ever meet a chef who wasn’t organized and focused on detail? That’s the kid who figured out that cooking is all about science, math, and formulas, but when you add really fresh ingredients and artistic inspiration, you get a masterpiece.

Ever meet a teacher who didn’t start out life being bossy with peers? (Mea culpa.) Same kid everyone relied on to solve problems, settle conflicts, and fix what was broken — as adults, we don’t want to do all the work, so we give you the tools to do it yourself.

Ever meet a nerd who suddenly turned into a handsome prince and became instantly cool? Me neither. We only begin to appreciate nerds when we mature and after they’ve had a style makeover.

Which is why you should never put stock in the high school football player or the National Merit scholar without a full examination of the personality traits. That same kid who quarterbacked your high school team may have given you his best back in the Sixties or Seventies. That was it. He’s got nothing now. And the National Merit scholar? Well, I’ve known quite a few of them and I learned one thing. A high school award does not a lifetime achievement make. When you rest on your laurels and accept your life as a fait accompli, you limit yourself. Bodacious baby boomers never live in the past because we’re too busy pursuing what is good in life. When we look back on high school, those are never the best years of our lives. They’re just a starting point for a lifelong journey.

Which brings us to the most important personality traits of a bodacious baby boomer:

Inquisitive — The world is your oyster and you love the sea, seafood, shell-collecting, and pearls; you want to enjoy every bite of the chunk of life you bit off.

Adventurous — The grass can look greener on the other side of the fence, but you’re smart enough to know that sometimes what’s in your backyard playground can be better — you’re from the “if I build it, they will come….” school and bodacious enough to believe in yourself.

Curious — How do things work and why do they work that way — knowledge is power and power is bodacious, baby!

Passionate — If all your senses and faculties aren’t engaged, you’re in neutral — life is always better when you shift your transmission into gear and get going.

Humorous — Laughter is the foundation of all good living — it feels good, is contagious in a positive way, and connects us to what really matters. I say let’s par-tay!

Creative — Back our bodacious bums into a corner and watch us figure out how to escape — we’ll outhink, outflank, and outmaneuver the jerks, doofuses, and bullies of the world because we can think inside AND outside the box.

Compassionate — It’s hard to be bodacious and not be connected to other people — we may not tolerate fools and idiots well, but we enjoy people because we understand that love and smarts actually make the world go round.

Are you really a bodacious baby boomer? Chances are you showed signs of being bodacious as a child. Did you have secret passions, known only to your dolls or pet frog? Did you ever thirst for knowledge, even as you were told to mind your own beeswax? Did you have trouble keeping your school clothes from getting dirty because you couldn’t stop yourself from poking your nose under that rock at the bus stop? I don’t think it’s ever possible to suddenly become bodacious. You have to be born with that bodacious gene, even if you’ve repressed it through your life.

You know you’re a bodacious baby boomer if you’re old enough to remember the song, “High Hopes”, and appreciate that little ant’s chutzpah in moving that rubber tree plant.

Bodaciousness is a drive that directs you to appreciate the best in life, be it people, food, experiences, or learning. You can’t be bodacious and be boring. Bodacious people are full of life. There’s a little voice inside us all that says, “Things can always get better. Why are you settling for less? Get your bodacious fanny moving and make it happen!”

That means we bodacious baby boomers have something to look forward to in life, because we expect to just get “more so” as we get older. I say, “Bring it on!”

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