Monday, March 8, 2010


Last Thursday evening, I tuned in to Tom Brokaw's two-hour special titled "Boomer$!".  A fellow Baby Boomer had told me about the program several days before, so I made sure that it was scheduled on my DVR (in case I fell asleep), and then I settled in to watch.

It's odd to realize at some point that there are so many people younger than you, but eventually, it happens to all of us.  I am very fortunate to have many close friends who are still in their twenties and thirties, and they energize me without even knowing it.  Yet, after this program was finished, I felt as if I had added at least five years to my elapsed time on Earth, regardless of the median age of my friends.  The upside of this was that I actually stayed awake for the entire program.

What Brokaw was trying to say was that this particular generation had withstood, and in some cases, acted as a catalyst for, significant social and economic change, while at the same time refusing to admit that it was indeed aging as a group.  Perhaps that is true; after all, there has historically existed a certain optimism among Boomers, due in large part to the ups and downs we have experienced in relation to the world in which we now live.  Regardless of what people say, as a generation, we recall that the Sixties, often glorified in historical perspective, were often quite scary times.  By comparison, we currently have no Cold War, no Berlin Wall, and no 20% home mortgages.  Overall, many good things have happened, and we never had to experience the Great Depression, as did our parents and grandparents.

However, the world has indeed turned upside down in recent years.  Despite the plethora of communication alternatives, people are often out of touch with one another.  Sound bites have taken the place of meaningful dialogue on TV, and for all intents and purposes, FM radio has gone to hell in a handbasket.  The economy...who knows?  But it's not all doom and gloom.  Many of us in the Boomer generation do seem to dwell on the past or get stuck in the Seventies, but just as many of us are actually much more connected with modern times that you might imagine.  Sure, I'll listen to Neil Young and Grand Funk Railroad, but I'll also download Crystal Method and Midival Punditz.  I don't know how many Apple products I've purchased, but Steve Jobs owes me some kind of kickback, of that I'm certain.  And I no longer wear polyester shirts, unless they're easy care Calvin Klein with a tailored look and a natural fiber feel.

There are some days when I think I'm going to go nuts if I hear the phrase "aging Baby Boomers" one more time.  For heaven's sake, we're all aging. Yes, there are a lot of Boomers out there, but just remember:
  • We didn't all go to Woodstock.
  • We weren't all hippies.
  • We are typically very social.
  • We miss the space program.
  • We are striving to live life as well as our parents did. 
That about sums it up.  No, you don't typically see posts like this from me, but Tom Brokaw made me realize that I'm actually rather proud to be a Boomer.