You're never too old for something new

By the year 2030, the almost 70 million U.S. adults in the Baby Boomer generation will be 65 years or older. A recent Chicago Tribune editorial by Darcy Evon and Thomas Kuczmarski eschewing ageism noted that the "movement to end ageism is being driven by the Baby Boomer generation."

As a member of that generation, my own lesson in fighting that battle comes from my 90-year-old father, who wakes up every morning excited to learn something new. He has never been one to let a number define him. This has never been more evident than in his recent foray into the world of journalism.

Like so many of us during the pandemic, my dad watched a lot of movies. Not only did he watch them, he went one step further, writing reviews of the movies and sending them to my sisters and me. Now these were not just your run of the mill "it was a good movie-thumbs up" reviews. There was an overview introduction followed by detailed critiques of individual categories, including storyline, acting, casting, music, sound, cinematography and directing.

He was not messing around - they were really good. My sisters and I teased him that he could be the next Rodger Ebert, that he had a future career as a movie critic. Emboldened by the positive feedback, the reviews kept coming. And when finally we were able to go back to the theaters, my dad was right there, ready to take on the new releases.

A few weeks ago, he joined some friends to see the new movie "Elvis". His review was one of his best - creative, detailed and upbeat. We, my sisters and I, suggested this effort deserved a larger audience. After some coaxing, he approached the staff of the publication in his community about including his reviews in their newsletter. To his delight, he got a "thumbs up." A few weeks later, "Pete's Picks" made its debut in "The Shores Weekly" along with a picture of my dad and his review of "Elvis."

Some highlights from his piece: "Acting - superb throughout ... Storyline - almost perfection ... Camera work - virtually flawless ... Music-authentic and balanced." You get it, he loved the movie. At 90 years old, he's officially a published movie critic.

As Evon and Kuczmarski wrote, if we are to win the fight against ageism, "let's imagine a world in which everyone's abilities are accepted at face value."

Grandma Moses began painting at the age of 78, Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at 65, and Colonel Sanders franchised his chicken restaurant at 62. So, whatever it is that you want to do, don't wait. To quote my dad's advice about seeing "Elvis", "Give it a shot - you will not regret it."

- Laura LaPlaca of Hinsdale is a guest columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].