I didn’t watch the Super Bowl but I did watch the halftime show. And the Boss blew me away.
Watching him reminded me of a statistic that blew me away when I heard it the other day in a speech: 2/3 of ALL the people who have ever reached age 65, are alive right now.
That sure got my attention. What a snapshot of the staggering shift in the population of the planet.
Way more of us are getting older. And what we consider “older” is changing, too. In 1900 the average lifespan was 47 years. Today it’s 78. With a bullet.
Which brings me back to Bruce. The hero of halftime. Boss of the Boomers.
Two weeks ago, he rocked for Barack. Tonight once again, he rocked the world.
The world was different when Bruce Springsteen and I were kids. No one could have imagined a 59-year old man as a rock star—unless they had rocks in their head. We assumed when we reached age 59, any rocking would take place in a rocking chair.
There were understood rules. You started off in school learning the 3 R’s–Reading, ‘Riting,’Rithmetic. You knew what to do and when to do it–get an education, get a job, get married, have a family. When you got somewhere near 60, you’d be ready for a new set of 3 R’s: Relax, Recede, Retire.
Somebody forgot to tell Bruce Springsteen that part.
He’s about as far as you can get from retiring. And the rest of our generation is no different–rewriting the rule book on retirement and refusing to go quietly into the sunset. While Bruce rocks onstage, his fellow boomers do the same–whatever that means in their own lives. Instead of winding down, many are starting up—in schools, new jobs, new careers.
So thanks, Bruce Springsteen. For providing a performance that was Super in every sense. For proving we can all push the envelope of age. For rocking the rules of what it means to grow older.