11 Feb Boomer Generation: Truly Blessed
I am a class onto myself. Look me up, you’ll find “baby boomer” definitions most everywhere. The term is loosely applied to all those, such as myself who were born post World War II. You’re probably part of the boomer generation too if you were born a decade or so after 1945. The New York Post called the baby boom the “biggest, boomiest boom ever known in history.” I am one of 76 million American baby boomers. As of 2006, most of us became “aging baby boomers”, i.e., we turned 60 … yes, the big 6-0. The statistics on us are endless, so is the literature. We are considered a truly blessed, special segment of the world’s population; just be careful about what you read and what conclusion you come to about our boomer generation.
A lot of people write about us; and it isn’t always positive. But, you have to understand we grew up during a unique historical time. There was a sense of prosperity and hope for the future. In the cultural context we, the boomer generation are often thought of as people who felt a sense of entitlement or a sense of a right to prosperity. You can’t deny the fact that the 25 odd years or so leading up to 9/11 were years of relative peace and prosperity. So, yes, in that sense we were truly blessed to grow up in such a time. However, today, there is much debate about the legacy that we, the boomer generation have left behind.
Statistics show that the baby boomers were the wealthiest generation in all of history. Our collective spending power was a reported $2 trillion annually. We’re generally associated with privilege because we were the ‘healthiest and the wealthiest’. I suppose we were lucky to be born at the right time. But we all grew up with hope and fear in our hearts. There was an expectation for the world to improve in the future, because after World War II, we truly reasoned that things could never worsen. The boomer generation heard stories of what their parents had been through, and indeed what the world had gone through in order to give the baby boomers generation a chance to live a life of advantage.
We had it good, there’s no denying that, especially if you’re speaking relatively. But that’s not to say that the whole boomer generation should be labeled as a generation different and superior to others, or one insisting on maintaining entitled detachment. Rock and roll was our music (The Beatles or the Rolling Stones anyone?) and it set us apart, but these days who doesn’t identify with rock and roll? We remember JFK’s assassination, the walk on the moon and the Vietnam War. We were blessed, I suppose, in the sense that we grew up in a time of true change and revolution; the birth control pill, sexual freedom, the civil rights movement, social consciousness as well as respect for differences, and mass educational advantages coupled with individual freedom beyond what any other generation had ever experienced. While history will evaluate our legacy, the boomer generation should not be counted out. We changed the world! We are not done yet.
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