What? Me Blooming?

February 1, 2023

I recently turned 66. While not quite as upsetting as turning 60, (and I am looking forward to my first Social Security check), it still brought me up short. You see, since my late forties I’ve been fine being “middle aged.” I’m OK with the no-makeup look (only because I apply it so poorly: foundation always puddles up in my “laugh lines,” which then wonderfully laser-focuses attention on the wrinkles.) Now, I do color my hair, but it’s become a race against the salon appointments, as the grays re-appear earlier and earlier each month. 

By and large, I’ve been comfortable in midlife. I’ve felt safely nestled, halfway between the exhilarating incline of youth and the sad decline of old age. “Midlife” implied that I was still right in the thick of it, in the midst of doing great and important things in this world. Besides, if I did happen to croak, I was certain that my legions of mourners would say, weepily, “She was MUCH too young to go!”

This morning, I decided I wasn’t quite depressed enough, so I did a little math in my head. To my horror, I learned that 66 X 2 = 132!! In other words, by even the most generous calculation, I am well past the middle of my earthly span.

So what do I call myself now?

Turns out there are several popular choices. I am considered a “senior,” (I guess my “graduation day” is...death?) an “elder,” (this implies great wisdom, which, uh, no) and a “sexagenarian” (this, sadly, doesn’t refer to sex appeal, at all). I am not a “cougar,” because I am not dilly-dallying with a thirty-something paramour—in fact, my husband is eight years older than me (so maybe HE’s the cougar). I refuse to be called a “crone.” Even though I know many women who embrace the term, to me it just evokes those horrid witches in Macbeth.

Which leaves me with “boomer.” That doesn’t really work for me either, although I know I am indeed a product of the Baby Boom years. Boomer was a quarterback for the Bengals, right? Boomer is an Army explosion specialist. Boomer is your dog. I do not want to be on the receiving end of a Gen-X’s dismissive “OK, boomer!” I want to be the one doing the dismissing, darn it!

I’ve been experimenting with alternatives to describe my still-vibrant age and stage, and I came up with: “bloomer.” This clever play on “boomer” can mean “late bloomer.” I dream of being called this when accepting my Nobel Prize for Literature: “Elise is a bloomer, not publishing her first international best-seller until age 66!” “Bloomer” can also refer to a tasty fried onion at Outback Steakhouse, but that’s not relevant here. Here's my favorite image: a “bloomer” is like a flower on an old bush you’d thought was dormant, peeking through the snow—resilient, hopeful, and, yes, even beautiful.

There we go. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off.

To Bloomingdales, where else?


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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