Robert Samuelson [op-ed, Dec. 11] cites problems with the aging of the baby boomers. By his reckoning, one in three working-age Americans will soon be "mature," that is, aged 45 to 64. At 56, he sounded more like 96. He should focus on a more enjoyable and productive future.

I am 76, work three jobs and expect to do so for many more years. I feel sorry for anybody whose life and work so lack fulfillment that he or she contemplates early retirement.

The new reality is that we can all expect to hold several jobs in a lifetime, often two or more at the same time. Moreover, we'll need to condition ourselves to lifetime learning so that we'll be ready for the opportunities that enable us to serve our fellow citizens more productively.

Better economic programs could help all citizens create and enjoy this better world. For example, all citizens older than 40 should be allowed to deduct tuition and related expenses for any course at an accredited college. Citizens 55 and older should be reimbursed for the payroll tax paid on the first $10,000 of annual earnings. Income support for married couples with young children should be expanded, so that they can better prepare their children for fulfilling lives. Bonds to finance deficits should be offered first to employed workers to complement Social Security annuities.

Our lives are what we make them. Let's hear it for people, the stuff of life!

ALAN BIRD

Alexandria