Lessons Being Learned By An Aging Boomer Generation: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The post war “Baby Boomers” are about 72 million strong. They are children of the “Greatest Generation”, the generation who survived the Depression and saved the world during WWII. Boomers are, as a group: the best educated, the most prosperous; the healthiest; most mortgaged (homes, cars, credit cards); most addicted (drugs, alcohol, shopping); most divorced; parented the fewest number of children; and, they are the generation who believed that they would never grow old and always be cool!
And yet, despite the “culture of youth” and the need to be “cool”, age has finally started to catch up with the Boomers. Each day, yet another member of the tribe turns 65(+) and each day the illusion of being “masters of the universe” is slowly, surely slipping away. Listed below, in no particular order of importance, are a few of the lessons life is bestowing on our aging Boomer’s population. (By the way, full disclosure requires me to point out that I’m a “super-senior Boomer”, and painfully I’ve been forced to learn and absorb many of these lessons!)
- Life as a cumulative injury disease. The longer you are in the game, the more you get injured.
- Age does matter! The new 70 is the old 60, but you’re still 60! And that ain’t young!
- You like food, but not all food likes you.
- You have retained the appetites of your youth, but you no longer have the energy or the ability to handle them.
- You really love your kids, but don’t understand them any more than your folks understood you.
- You worry less and less about what people think of you.
- You need 8 hours of sleep, and 10 would be even better!
- You are both confused and fascinated by modern technology.
- You accept the fact that there are some “unforgettable” people in your life, and that there are too many “forgettable” people in your life.
- You forgive old loves, old friends, old partners. They didn’t know any better at the time and neither did you.
- You finally accept the fact that what was charming in your 30s, 40s, and 50s is really boorish and childish behavior.
- We accept the fact that we are really not all that special and that we are all more alike than we sometimes want to admit.
- You buy a home security system and turn it on every night without fail.
- You feel comfortable saying no to people you don’t want to be with.
- Traveling, you finally admit, is fun, but a chore.
- You still wear jeans, but you probably shouldn’t.
- It gets easier to admit that you don’t really like: , , , (fill in the blank.)
- You still exercise but you don’t worry about that extra 10 pounds anymore
Besides all of these, if you are lucky, you also learn to:
- Accept your losses and walk away from the pain.
- See beyond unimportant parochial particulars.
- Let go of some of self-serving egoism.
- Transcend pointless power struggles.
- No longer fear failure.
- No longer always have to worry about self-aggrandizement.
- Be open to the possibility/reality of change.
- Be non-threatened by the needs of others.
- Be open to different life lessons.
- Overcome fears of irrelevance.
- Let go of our fear of failure.
- Let go of the tyranny of “the dream”, the tyranny of “false expectations”.
- Pack away illusion, false hopes, excessive desires.
- Understand that we are not in this alone.
Finally, if you’re lucky, you’ve learned that it’s okay to be tired and that it’s okay to just be you. So, my fellow Boomers, stop denying it! In the words of a very, very old song: “Live, laugh, love, and be happy!”