There are days when it’s pretty sweet being a Baby Boomer. Often it’s when you realize you’re now old enough that you get to decide for yourself how you’ll spend your time and effort – where you’ll work and what kind of work you’ll do or not work, if that’s an option; if there’s any studying to be done, what interests you and where you’ll focus your attention; who you’ll spend time with and what recreation you enjoy and want to pursue. Or none of the above. If you’re lucky, that’s an option too.
Sometimes the sweetness happens when we’re enjoying one or more of the countless lifestyle conveniences, entertainments or technologies created by or for the Baby Boomer Generation, most of which all of us take for granted no matter what our age … like computers and the internet, credit cards, the Golden Arches. Some are targeted directly at the huge demographic of 50 to 67 year olds – Not Your Daughters Jeans, Spanx. Every anti-aging product you can imagine and some you can’t. From the cream to eliminate lines and wrinkles you can snatch off the shelf at the corner Walgreens, to the priceless serum made from hummingbird tears available only in Luxembourg during months ending in the letter “r”. Okay, I made that last one up, but some of these products are nearly unobtainium.
Let’s see … something for the guys … hello! Viagra!
Some days the reminders cause us to blush and duck our heads. Maybe you’ve done this – as you walk the grocery aisles you catch yourself singing along to the golden oldies playing on the sound system and realize you know ALL the lyrics and can insert the drum or guitar flourishes in exactly the right places. Maybe your hips do a discreet little boogie … This has happened to me so often I don’t even bother to look around anymore to see who might be watching me with their fingers poised on the 9-1-1 speed dial on their smart phone.
But this is not a stroll down memory lane. Nor are Baby Boomers the only generation that is now accustomed to having access to all the technologies and consumer goods and services that have grown out of the vast expansion of our society in the past 60 years. It is true, though, that as the “pig passing through the python”, as the nearly 80 million of us is sometimes referred to, we will continue to be the leading edge that drives research, development, investment and public policy to address the needs and desires of an immense – and aging – segment of our society.
So I learned something recently when I hit a pretty big stumbling block health-wise. I figure it’s probably because we’ve grown accustomed to constant advancements and developments in lifestyle, technology, medical science and the like, that it’s a shock or even humbling when we’re told, no, the ailment or the injury that is a function of getting older – a condition that a person in their 20s, 30s, 40s is blissfully unaware of – cannot be fixed with a pill or a quick in-and-out arthroscopic procedure, or maybe even at all. Sometimes these things just require patience.
Are you kidding me? That’s another thing about BBs … not used to waiting. We are lousy at it.
Sometimes we learn that we need to adjust to a new reality. Oh dear. Maybe this is another phase of our maturing: to recognize that there are some things we can’t change and to accept them* or put them aside. And there’s a sweetness in that as well.
How do you see it? What are some of the good things BBs have brought to the table?
Have BBs influenced society in negative ways? What makes you nostalgic for the “good old days”? Are you looking forward to big advancements in years to come, and what do you think they’ll be?
*Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.