Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maturity Bites



"Welcome to the gross personal story years." Shoebox, courtesy of my friend Mary

Today is Donald Trump's birthday. Why do I care? I don't. Why do I even know? Because today is my birthday too. And it's something of a milestone. (But The Donald is older.)

I was a little freaked out about this birthday until my sister set me straight -- "It's a day in a week in a year in a lifetime. BFD what the number is." Of course she's right. Age really is just a number, especially for Baby Boomers.

Many of us are reaching milestones these days, but no matter what our age, Boomers are 'younger' than any preceding generation. Think of it like this: we're the first generation in history who will go to our graves in jeans.

On my part and yours, let's hope that's not for a long time.

But with people living well--and I do mean well--into their 80's, 90's and beyond, the stereotypes of aging and old age have changed radically. So has the concept of "Senior Citizen."

When we Baby Boomers were young, people in their 50's or 60's truly were Seniors -- they thought so themselves. Those who managed somehow to live into their 70's and 80's were Really Old People.

Our parents grew up following a pattern established through generations. They were allowed to sow some wild oats until their early 20's. Then they were supposed to become Adults. Immediately.

They had to change their attitudes, behavior, expectations, dreams, lifestyles and hairstyles--not to mention self-image--virtually overnight.

It's like there was a manual. Get engaged, get married, get a job, buy a home, have children, work hard, save for retirement. Oh, and radically alter the dress code -- ties and jackets for the men, skirts, high heels and white gloves for the women.

They lived that way out of habit and comfort, and maybe inertia, encouraged by their parents, our culture and the government. They expected to grow old that way. And they certainly expected we would do the same.

Bottom line, throughout history, mature adults were told to Act Your Age. The Baby Boomers made that concept obsolete. Some of us might be mature but none of us will ever really be old.

The Baby Boomer Revolution of the 1960's and 70's created a huge divide between parents and kids. We had a name for it: The Generation Gap.

We had other phrases too: Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll. Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out. Make Love, Not War. Even if we don't live that way any more, we still think that way. So we don't have the same Gap with our children.

We had one other phrase in the 60's: Don't trust anyone over 30. Boy, has that one come back to bite us in the ass now.

Make no mistake, it was a unique, groundbreaking Revolution. We reinvented the wheel. And changed the world.

Yes we make mistakes. Yes many of us have not lived up to the promise we represented. But many of us have. And continue the fight.

No generation before or since has opened as many doors to as many people, ideas, possibilities and hope as the Baby Boomers. I'm proud to be one of them.

Actually, I'm now One of Us. Happy Birthday to Me.

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2 Comments:

Blogger triLcat said...

Happy Birthday!

11:53 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Happy Birthday!
I wish your joie de vivre was true for all boomers. I still meet people who are within five years of my age (55) that make me feel that I'm in a totally different generation. They are old in the way my parents were old!
Casey Dawes
Wise Woman Shining

9:53 AM  

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