All in the mind ... baby boomer Bruce Lloyd, of Dapto. Photo: Jacky Ghossein
IT COULD be the daily Pilates on his bedroom floor that keeps Bob Carr bright-eyed. Or maybe it's the organic oats with goat's yoghurt he downs each morning - topped with antioxidant-rich blueberries, of course.
In September, Senator Carr joined the first baby boomers to reach 65 - a cohort of Peter Pans that experts say are shunning lawn bowls, beige leather shoes and their mortality.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm the ''grey wave'' has arrived. Almost 250,000 people were aged 65 last June - an 18 per cent jump on the previous year, or an extra 37,500 people.
There are now more 65-year-olds in Australia than at any point in history. After leading the sexual revolution, battling the gender wars and living through the threat of nuclear holocaust, baby boomers still see themselves as pioneers, the social commentator Hugh Mackay said.
''They are more socially engaged, more politically active, more inquisitive … they expect to continue changing the social landscape,'' he said.
''They also think of themselves as the youngest generation in history - they don't easily give up the blue denim. There is no sign of them facing their mortality, quite the reverse. They'll be expecting to live well into their 80s or even their 90s due to better health and nutrition.''
Senator Carr, a late entrant into Federal Parliament last year when he became the Foreign Affairs Minister, describes with zeal his conversion to a protein-rich diet of salmon, kangaroo, organic steak and unsalted almonds.
He swears by his daily exercise regimen, and says ''it is possible at 65 to have a stronger abdomen and lower back than you had in your 20s … I did it through Pilates and through weight training''.
With advanced years also comes ''profound intellectual curiosity''. ''I couldn't go back to being as plain ignorant as I was [when I was younger]. Now there is virtually nothing about ancient civilisations or endangered species or world literature that I wouldn't want to master,'' he said.
Bruce Lloyd, of Dapto, who turned 65 in May, retired from the Port Kembla steelworks five years ago. ''I certainly don't feel old. It's only when I look in the mirror or bend down and pick something up that I realise I'm not 25 any more,'' he said.
See how your area compares with A Snapshot of Our Growing Country, a new online data tool developed by Fairfax Media. http://tinyurl.com/snapshotSMH