Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Boomers R Us
You are on my mind lately. I'm trying to write a speech about you/us. I'm not technically a boomer. I'm three years ahead of that curve, but I identify with the zeitgeist because who wants to be associated with hamburger casseroles and green stamps.
The desire to write a speech about the boomers was a direct result of mounting demographics. The first group of boomers turned 65 this year. We're 18% of the population. We've invaded social security and medicare and we are taking the lion's share of entitlements before the next generation even turns 40.
But what have we left on the table? What was our contribution to the world?
We were once the golden generation, advancing the American dream by leaps and bounds. We created a mythology that still prevails in clothes, music, literature, finance. We were the most educated, the most socially hip, the most literate, the most able to advance the cause of good government and social causes. We were the best and the brightest, the most entitled and the most betrayed when Vietnam became up close and personal.
Then we lost our way. We were deceived by Vietnam. It was a brutal war, and we lost too many lives, and it lasted way too long, and it took us years to recover our lives and our economy and our reputation. And some of us never did. We outed post dramatic stress disorder.
Boomers had guts and fortitude and stamina and we roared back by working hard and living good lives. Yet, there were some who were lead astray by America's materialism and forgot the message of the American dream. Peace and love turned into greed is good. What happened to the best and the brightest? We may have amassed great fortunes but some forgot spirit of generosity and fair play. And some forgot how to run a government who serves the people.
So what's up with us now? Some of us have even been dealt another blow. Some of us lost a lot of money in the market during the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression. Some of our retirement is seriously compromised. The possibility that we can retire wild, free, and happy might not happen in a timely manner. The Pew Research Center tells us that we are a seriously depressed generation. No wonder. We had it all but when the going got tough, our mythology started to implode and our star quality began to fade. After some serious decades of success, all those victories appear pretty hollow.
So what I want to say to the boomers in my speech is to take a journey back to the beginning - the that was then part of your life - and see where we are in the present and where we might be going in the future. Got any ideas about what that future would look like?
I love the idea of giving back, getting involved in the green movement, health and care-taking, ecology, teaching in disenfranchised neighbors, tutoring youth, the Peace Corps, Global volunteers, soup kitchens, meals on wheels, helping seniors manage technology. Get off the couch and get involved whatever needs fixing in our communities. We've got so many useful skills and and so much personal power that can change little corners of our world.
Boomers, this is the most exiting time in our lives. We possess more positive potential for growth and transformation at this very moment in our lives that we ever thought possible. This time around we can create another peaceful revolution but one that is deeper and more profound.
Remember Timothy Leary? Tune In, Turn On....
but don't drop out. Maybe we could re-arrange our lives to be more productive and useful at the same time.
Well, we'll figure it out.