Riddell: Super Zoomer Boomers
December 7, 2017
This week's Zoomer Boomer column is a bit different than previous ones. Where past columns have focused on my participation in an athletic endeavor and usually involved at least one humorous event or insight, this week's endeavor was not physically difficult, but was especially rewarding.
Due to my exposure in the sports' column and my column in the business section, I have had occasions to be invited to give talks to various groups of people. The invitation often comes with a suggestion or request, one that will play to the interests of the attendees. A while ago, following an invitation to speak, I asked what topic this particular group would be interested in hearing about? I was informed that "It really doesn't matter. We all read and enjoy your columns and we're just interested in hearing what you have to say. Our only request is that you talk loud." Interesting I may not be, but I could definitely do loud.
Following their invitation, I gave a requested talk to a group of Super Zoomer Boomers. They referred to themselves as adherents or specialists in Family and Consumer Sciences. We used to call this Home Economics, but for a variety of reasons the powers that be in this field have decided to use the Family and Consumer Sciences tag. As one of the senior specialists mentioned, "We used to refer to men without hair as being bald, but now we think of them as being folliclely challenged. But between you and me, I'm still a retired Home Ec teacher and a man without hair is still bald!" (This reminded me of a conversation I had one time with my barber in Chicago. This elderly fellow was an old school barber—he only used scissors in pursuit of his craft. As I was one of the aforementioned folliclely challenged, I suggested to him, given the obvious lack of hair, that he should give me a discount. Without missing a beat, he said he probably should charge me more. Seems he felt that what he was cutting was a bit harder to find!)
I knew then that this was going to be a lot of fun. What ensued was a two-way conversation between me and about thirty Super Zoomer Boomers. While some of these folks were dealing with inevitable physical limitations, all projected a keenness of wit and intellect underscored by an overt courtesy that made me the true beneficiary of the presentation. Questions that were asked and answers that were debated revealed a conscientious effort on the part of these seniors to stay engaged. From social support networks to informal book clubs to coffee cup debates, social interactions were seen as expected requirements. Traditional Zoomer Boomer pursuits were also discussed. One couple relayed to me that they had just taken up snow skiing and absolutely loved it! Another relayed how her thirty-minute walk removed all guilt from a chocolate croissant. A third confided that he didn't x-country ski as fast as he used to, but for some reason, he seemed to enjoy it more.
These Super Zoomer Boomers are active everyday and plan to stay that way. They just take it upon themselves to define active in their own terms. They personify the reality of thoughts as the beginning of all actions and actions as the key to a life well lived. We all might do well to heed their advice!
Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring award winning business and sports columns, and serving as vice president for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth.