Inspiring the Boomers Podcast
It was March 19, 2020, and I was driving home after spending the spring break vacation with my son and his family in Panama City Beach. It was a strange vacation. We were all aware of the rapid spread of the Corona virus, yet there was so little information. My son scolded me every time I touched my face. We didn’t know if we should mask to go pick up groceries or disinfect the groceries before we brought them into the condo.
On the drive home I felt the world shut down around me. I was working as the Center Director of a Sylvan Learning Center. At that time, they did not have an online option and there was no way they were going to stay open. When the owner called on March 23 to say my job was being terminated, I was not surprised.
Having spent most of my corporate career in the training and development field I was used to layoffs. Anytime there was a downturn in the economy, training was one of the areas that was cut. My previous layoff had been in 2017. That job was outsourced overseas and I was asked to train someone younger than me to do my work. I was 64, one year from Medicare, in a new community where I did not have much of a network. It was a scary time.
So, when Sylvan shut down, I knew how dark things could get. Instead, I asked myself how did I WANT to feel? The answer was: I wanted to feel powerful. I wanted to feel relevant. I wanted to feel that I mattered. I still had a lot to give, and I knew that there were going to be thousands of people over 55 who would be out of work because of the pandemic and would need to feel these things also. I also knew that the shutdown would hit older adults the hardest because their timeframe for making up lost earnings would be shorter. Plus, due to ageism, finding comparable work once the economy opened up could be much more difficult.
How did I go from those thoughts to my website/videocast/podcast, Hey, Boomer?
I believe that our thoughts control our feelings which control our actions. The power behind my thoughts made me feel relevant. I thought about things I had done in the past that also made me feel relevant. I had been president of my Rotary club for two terms. As president, I had to make many TV appearances to talk about our fundraisers. People told me I was a “natural” in front of the camera. I started thinking about how to reach thousands of people to help inspire them to believe they could live relevant meaningful lives.
Putting those ideas together and realizing that I was mostly housebound because of the pandemic, I decided to host a Facebook live event. I had never done anything like that before, so I asked a cousin who had some experience. She gave me some pointers. I invited a few friends to be guests on my new interview show and we were off. The title, “Hey, Boomer,” was a response to the Millennial taunt of “OK, Boomer.” We launched on April 13, 2020, just three weeks after my layoff, and have broadcast live almost every week since then. The show is now live on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube and available on all major podcast apps. In all I have completed 110 interviews and looking forward to the next 110.
I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. That is what I loved about teaching, whether it was in corporate America or with my KidzArt franchise. Now I realize I am continuing to live a life of making a difference. The goal of my show is to give strength to Boomers, showing that we are still a group that can make a difference just like we did in the 60s and 70s.
The awareness of ageism and the impact of a positive attitude about aging has gained a lot of attention in the past couple of years. My earliest shows were with friends of mine that were thriving in the third act of life. Some were retired, some still working, and all were active, engaged individuals over 55. Then I started to broaden my guest list to include retirement coaches, specialists in care for people with dementia, people pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities after retirement, and various adventures like swimming with sharks or cycling across the country.
My goal is to inspire and educate my listeners with the stories I share. Stella Fosse was a guest on Hey, Boomer talking about writing erotica for women over 50. I have had a sex therapist on the show and a dating coach. All my guests are living vibrant lives that show exactly why we Boomers should value ourselves and one another, and why society at large should value us.
Becca Levy, Ph.D., author of Breaking the Age Code has shown that a positive attitude about aging can add as much as 7 1/2 years to your life. It is the attitude that we try to portray on every show, that you are Never too Old to Set Another Goal or Dream a New Dream.