The Big Boom Theory – Baby Boomers Explode Paradigms
A guest post from the audacious and extraordinary Isabel Alexander
I’m not a physicist but I enjoyed high school chemistry. However, I was more intrigued by biology, and specifically, anatomy. Ultimately my independent research and extra-curricular experimentation proved another theory: that hormones + heat – caution = pregnancy.
BOOM! I was a teen mother and that set off a Big Bang reaction that rocked my personal universe.
Coincidentally, chemistry ultimately became the science that altered my trajectory. The careless, scared girl who left home at age sixteen with $75 in her pocket and a babe in her belly went on to found and build an 8-figure chemical business.
At age 65, I published the story of my self-discovery through experimentation, evolution, and expansion in my book, Who Am I Now – Feminine Wisdom, Unmasked, Uncensored.
My story is not finished, and, like the mysteries of the Universe, space, and time, I continue to discover new frontiers. I marvel at the possibilities for adventure, expansion, and creation. But I have learned that, just as in the creation of our universe, I have to blow some big shit up.
To go where this Baby Boomer has never gone before, I must blow up my own limiting beliefs, societal and cultural norms, marginalizing “isms,” and engrained paradigms that, like gravity, try to limit my trajectory.
I love the theme song of the popular TV series The Big Bang Theory, written and performed by a brilliant Canadian musical group, Bare Naked Ladies. Their upbeat and cheeky lyrics explain the expansion of the Universe much better than my high school physics teacher.
(No apology extended if that song is now on auto play in your head. And if not, here’s a link to a YouTube video that includes the full lyrics. Karaoke time!)
According to Wikipedia, “The Big Bang is not an explosion of matter moving outward to fill an empty universe. Instead, space itself expands with time everywhere and increases the physical distances between comoving points. In other words, the Big Bang is not an explosion in space, but rather an expansion of space.”
In just that way, moving into a new stage of life can feel like an explosion of the life we’ve known, but it’s really an expansion into a larger life.
All through adulthood I conducted myself and made my plans based on who I was attached to, whether that was a company or a partner. That linked identity was quite comfortable for many years. I knew exactly what my place was in the world. It was easy; I had a business card that said precisely who I was.
The time came when I had to stop and look in the mirror; look deeply into my own eyes, and ask the big question: Who Am I Now?
I looked outward for answers, too. How fortunate is our generation to have the Internet and resources like Wikipedia to provide information on scientific topics and major developments, such as planetary history, human evolution and pretty much anything else under the sun.
And if reading Wikipedia pages is not groovy enough, we can tune in to reruns of the ultra-popular Big Bang Theory. It was a sad day for me when that series came to an end, but BAZINGA! YouTube and other media platforms provide us the opportunity to watch and rewatch programs “to infinity and beyond.”
Traveling down a different black hole (pun intended) . . . How often do you discover that song lyrics have new relevance (and in my case, I’ve been blissfully singing the wrong words for decades)?
For example, Bare Naked Ladies wrote and recorded The Big Bang Theory theme in 2007 and today as Covid 19 still reverberates in our lives, I was startled to read this verse:
Meanwhile on planet earth, the vibrations are getting stronger, and the roar is getting louder every day as Baby Boomer women reject inherited stereotypes.
We’re blowing up paradigms and writing new and individualized theses. We are saying NO to obsolescence, irrelevance, and complacency.
In my thirties and forties, my Baby Boomer lifestyle complied with all the standard expectations. Then, as for many of us, in my late fifties and early sixties I started to fade from everybody else’s radar screens. Companies anxiously walk us to the door to get rid of us before we die in the traces, or cost too much on the health care plan, at our ripe old age. It can feel like we’ve turned into reruns.
Let’s turn off that show and look at the reality of today. My circumstances as a serial entrepreneur and a business owner led me to sell my company in 2009 and start a whole new phase. I wrote a book called, Who Am I Now?: Feminine Wisdom – Unmasked and Uncensored. It talks about that lifetime journey of getting to age 65.
But the unwritten sequel is the journey I am on now: to appreciate everything that I am and have been, in preparation for today and for what I choose to do next. That is only part of the conversation I’d like to continue with you, and with guests on my new show. I’ve launched a podcast called Lift as You Climb to look at the questions and issues we Boomer women face, moving into this new phase of life.
Episode 33 of the Lift As You Climb podcast asks “What Is Your Expiry Date?” Are you letting someone else set your “Best By Date?”
As Stella Fosse opined in “Influencers In The Elder Ecosystem,” we are a renewable, sustainable force to be reckoned with. We are powerful older women with the freedom and responsibility to expand our horizons and create new opportunities and space for others.
Over the past ten years, I’ve talked with other women and found out that there was absolutely no reason for me to suffer from the identity crisis I was having, because I was not alone. There are millions of Baby Boomers who are at this juncture, who are saying, “Okay… What now?” Because we certainly didn’t think this far ahead. There was just some false belief that we were going to go off a cliff when we reached a certain point.
There’s far too much life to be lived yet. I’m now 67. I expect that I will live another 25, 35, 45 more years. What will I do to fill that time? What will I do to make sure that I have enough money to live the way that I want to live, and to be able to do the things I want to do? And most importantly, what do I want to do? These are the conversations that I would like to have with you.
And with the women I have come to know, who are out there busting up those stereotypes and paradigms. Women who are transforming themselves, starring in their lives, doing things they never thought they would do. I don’t know about you, but certainly for me and many of my friends, we fell into our careers, or were directed and pushed or obligated. Or it just got too hard to leave that predictable income.
On the day that you are set free from that sense of obligation, that sense of being typecast in your role; on the day you can say I get to decide how I want to show up in the world now, based on this evolutionary journey of five, six, seven decades that we have lived on this planet; on that day you and I and every Boomer woman who is privileged to reach that point is truly free.
So please, I’d like to hear from you. What are you thinking about your encore? What you want to do next in life? How are you getting through the process of deciding what that’s going to be like? How will you expand into all this new space?
I am delighted to be on this journey with you. I will be even happier to give you a standing ovation for figuring out your encore and starring in it.
Communities of women like my Facebook group, Renegades Reinventing – Women Redefining Retirement for Influence and Impact, are catalysts for exploding paradigms that are archaic and harmful.
About the author, Isabel Alexander Farm girl evolved to mission specialist helping women write a new script and star in their own lives. Podcaster, author, speaker, entrepreneur, lifelong learner, and mangler of song lyrics. Founder of the Lift As You Climb Movement. Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact. You can reach Isabel at: Isabel@TheEncoreCatalyst.com