Saturday, May 31, 2014
Here are the top reasons why I, and the rest of the back half of the Boomers (born 1955-1964), are not really Baby Boomers at all:
1. Our parents- My parents were too young to be active participants in WWII. The true boomers were the result of several years of marriage and child-bearing being postponed due to that war. My parents were children during WWII. For them, there was no postponement. They married and had families in the time span that was appropriate for their generation.
2. JFK - His assassination, and those of his brother Robert and Martin Luther King, Jr., were formative and defining moments for Boomers. I was 6 years old when Kennedy died. I barely remember it and my younger siblings don't remember it at all.
3. Rock- Most of us weren't even listening to rock when the Beatles broke up. Joplin, Hendrix and Woodstock may have been the Boomer's musical influences but ours were Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. I personally had a thing for John Denver but maybe that was just me.
4. Vietnam- Boomers fought in or protested the Vietnam War. No one I knew in high school participated. By the time we were old enough both the draft and the war were over.
5. Politics- For all the Boomer's faults, they really did believe they could change the world. When the true boomers went to college and started flexing their new political muscles, college campuses exploded. My generation was in middle and elementary school watching from afar and wondering what all the fuss was about. Which leads to the next reason; Watergate
6. Watergate- We came of age in a post-Watergate world. In fact, Nixon resigned the presidency the same month I left for college. We were and are much less confident in our power to change much of anything and our subsequent experiences since then have only reinforced that view.
7. It's the Economy, Stupid- The other "boom" following WWII was the economic one. The Boomer parents were the main beneficiary of that particular boom but their children inherited it. Yes, their large numbers made the competition for jobs and opportunities intense. But by the time my generation came along the economy was tougher (18% interest and up for a home loan!) plus the older Boomers had gotten there first, were already established in careers and the pickings were slim. Not complaining, just saying.
Now, I'm sure my "Generation Y" and "Millennial" kids are shaking their heads as they read this. I'm sure they see little distinction between Boomers and my "as-yet-unnamed" generation. We probably all just look old to them. And while the Boomers and those of us who came immediately after them may have breathed the same cultural "air" we were molded by very different times. To lump us together is at best inaccurate. So stop!