The news shocked me to the inner core. USA Today reported Jack Bauer would no long save our world from destruction.
You recognize him as the star of the intriguing TV show 24. For eight seasons, plus a half season recently aired, Bauer stops multiple catastrophes. Each season featured one hour in a 24 hour period; making each season 24 episodes.
Without Jack we would have been vaporized by nuclear bombs, succombed to terrifying viruses, numbed by nerve gas, and crippled by biological weapons. We need Jack Bauer.
But Jack has called it quits. He’s finished rescuing us from our own real life misery as we slump into our recliners. Why? Why would tough guy Jack, who has withstood incredible torture methods from various bad guys, refuse to save us? He got old. Here’s the USA Today quote from actor Keifer Sutherland who plays Bauer:
“My bones are creaking. What am I going to do, Jack Bauer in a walker? So, yeah, this is it. For me, it’s done.”
This statement strikes a raw nerve deep inside. My reply to Bauer? “YES, that’s exactly what you should do. Keep fighting evil even if you need a walker.”
I get it. This is just a TV show. Sutherland is an actor playing a character. But the reality remains: his attitude reflects a popular misconception about life after 50. He reinforces the belief that the day will come when we are too old to make a difference in our world. Or, at the mininum, he makes older folk feel justified in deciding to coast into the grave.
Every hackle on the back of my neck is fully erect. I am hackled beyond hackled. Getting old does not mean quitting or coasting. It only means adjusting!
Here’s what I mean by adjusting.
Sutherland could continue to play Jack Bauer on 24 but in the role of a mature senior official. It’s a rare opportunity to remind aging Baby Boomers that getting older does not mean quitting. Instead, it means adjusting to a different role which utilizes maturity and the accumulated wealth of knowledge and collected experiences.
You do not need a strong young body to make our world a better place. It’s true. As the years roll along the body will falter. But the trade off is the accumulated maturity and wisdom.
Never forget: more good can be accomplished through wise maturity than forceful strength.
So Jack. Go ahead and wimp out. Quit. Sit in your easy chair and spend the millions you made while teaching us only the young and strong can make a difference. You may have called it quits but the bad guys still plague our world. We will now need to fight evil on our own.
But here’s the good news. Aging Baby Boomers are now entering into a phase where we can make a significant difference in our world. By working less hours we have more time to fight evil. Our wisdom continues to grow. This is our time to make a difference. To quit and coast now would border on the tragic.
Goodbye Jack. Enjoy the nursing home. I’m headed to the front lines.
And the battle rages on.