According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average woman is a 37 year old Catholic sales assistant, 161.8 cm tall (around 5 feet 4 inches) and weighs 71.1 kg. Essentially the figures are telling me that I’m on the wrong side of the average age and weight but not by much, well maybe a little bit, ok a lot! I’m also on the wrong side of the average height but not by much, really, I’m only a smidgeon smaller. At 37 I was a Teacher not a sales assistant so I’d fall into the above average category on the job front and although I was christened Catholic, I denounced my religiosity long ago, an above average intellectual decision.
Although I’m not above average on all counts, the statistic tells me that I am an “above average woman”, or as I like to be referred to as AAW! The journey to becoming an AAW has been through times of major lifestyle and cultural changes and as a result of these changes the AAWs have a rich and interesting story to tell and in my biased opinion AAWs of today are much more interesting than “below average women” or as I like to call them the BAWs.
AAWs are the baby boomers, the post war babies born into a fast changing world, especially for women. In 1961 the contraceptive pill became available and women won unprecedented control over their own fertility. This certainly helped the younger baby boomers going through their teenage years in the 70s – me being one. My group are the younger of the boomers, born in the early 60s and the ones I talk about here.
After the revolutionary 60s was the counterculture of the 70s bringing with it a big shift in the music industry in Australia. Aussie glam rock band Skyhooks challenged the norm with their flamboyant costumes and suggestive lyrics and many of their songs were banned from commercial radio. Pub rock music emerged with Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil and AC/DC along with international bands impacting the social mood of the day. Along with the music, the lives of the teenage baby boomer was changed by their willingness to experiment with sex and drugs – ah, those were the days!
Even with the more adventurous lifestyle the baby boomers still settled down and married in their twenties and had kids soon after. And now in the second decade of the 21st century the baby boomers are the AAWs and life will be taking on a whole other identity for them but in true style the AAWs will be up to the challenge as they took the challenge by the horns in the 70s as teenage baby boomers.
AAWs should be waving goodbye to their adult kids as they move out of home. For the AAWs whose adult kids don’t look like they’re moving out any time soon, my advice to you is move! Move to another suburb or downsize to an apartment. Either way your kids won’t want to move with you. If you move suburbs they’ll hate living away from their friends. If you downsize they’ll hate living in closer proximity to you and visa versa. Think of moving as a good spring clean – new place, new stuff, less people and less work to do and more time for you – happy days!
According to reports, baby boomers hold approximately 401 per cent of the nation’s wealth and worth an average of over $1 million per household2. Baby boomers are now enjoying a new era of unprecedented financial and personal freedom. But a word of warning, don’t tell your kids, they’ll want your money and they won’t pay it back – EVER!
With all this disposable money in your pocket you’ll have the luxury of spending it on important things: clothes, shoes, botox and all things that make you feel and look wonderful. And of course, more money means more holidays – long holidays and first class all the way. Gone are the days of setting off in the four wheel drive with the kids, dogs, boats, bikes and tents in tow for a 2 week beach side holiday at one of the Big Four Caravan Parks. This is what the BAWs are doing now, poor darlings. Hotels with fluffy white towels, a mini bar, room service and a beautifully laid out buffet breakfast is awaiting your arrival – what are you waiting for, go book it!
Another positive aspect of being an AAW is having grandchildren. It’s wonderful to have little babies around. It’s like getting a second chance to screw up. Only this time you can hand them back when things go belly up. You also get to impart your kid-rearing knowledge to your kids – the parents of your grandchildren. It’s the advice you were given from your parents and subsequently ignored as will your kids but when things don’t work out you get to say – “if you only followed my advice, this wouldn’t have happened” – again, happy days! Just don’t tell your kids you didn’t follow the same advice.
Of course there are some downsides to being an AAW. It takes several days to get over a big night on the booze. Two nights with the grandchildren leaves you in a vegetative state. You become forgetful and your eye sight goes as does your hearing. Although I suspect the hearing comes down to not listening as this was my recent experience. Getting up from ground level takes some energy, so does carrying 6 bottles of wine. You become less nimble on your feet finding yourself kissing the pavement more often, even when you’re not drunk and you look for the stairs in the pool because your weak arms couldn’t pull your fat arse out of the pool to save yourself.
Forgetfulness, blindness, deafness and falling over aside, being an AAW in the 21st century is pretty damn good. We have more independence, more friends, more money and better social lives than our mothers. And let’s not forget more access to cheaper beauty therapies. We have better homes, travel more and generally have better health. We’re used to experiencing big change like we did in the 70s and we’ll face the challenge again in the 2010s. AAWs are a group for the BAWs to notice and learn from because one day they’ll be AAWs. But one thing they’ll never be are baby boomers.
(1) HILDA Report, waves 1 to 6 (Volume 4) 2009. Data analysed by Mi9 to provide an estimated value for Australian Baby Boomers (aged 50 – 69)
(2) HILDA Report, waves 2, 6 & 10 (Volume 4) 2009. Data analysed by Mi9 to provide an estimated value for Australian Baby Boomers (aged 50 – 69)
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