We overwhelm in sheer numbers...

In my lifetime, things seemed a whole lot more real and simpler to me before Disco and the TV show "Dallas" came out in the late seventies. After that, the rapidity with which my generation went from counter-establishment cotton wearers to tacky consumerists in polyester, alienated me for decades. Now I'm rather dumbfounded by how my generation seems stuck in a time warp. It's easy to understand why the generations in front and back of us are overwhelmed by our ubiquity.

We can be very boring, in spite of the energy spent by so many into looking and acting young, to stay "relevant." It's a delusion. We don't accept age well, yet we don't age very well because aging gracefully is just not in the repertoire. It's "buy now, pay later" coming home in a very personal way.

There are so many of us, yet I wonder what happened to a lot of my generation. The strongest traits, optimism and enthusiasm for the future, seems to be fading. Many boomers seemed to have disappeared to me, blipped off the radar screen, slipping into lookalike, cookie cutter living oblivion. I think it's because so many didn't change after the age of thirtysomething, reliving their daily lives over and over again in some comfort zone I don't understand. I never could stand still and seem to relate better to people of all ages who don't either.

You're either "in" or you're "out" and I don't mean that in the fashion or sexual preference sense. Rather to me it infers that life is a continuum that you keep learning, growing, moving on and challenging yourself to other things, which changes you as you go along. A lot of boomers are "in" the sense of change and have kept growing and moving on but I don't sense we're the majority. Many boomers are unfortunately "out" now in this era of economic instability and social disruption and I wonder what's going to happen to them as the world moves on to a new way of living.


  1. I have no birthright to give my thought on baby boomers, having missed being included in their ranks by a yard or two, but I figured I'd yap about it anyway...

    I've never understood the idea of the Baby Boom Generation...I mean, obviously, I grasp the idea of people being born between certain times can be considered to be, I guess, age peers or something like that. What I never really understood is how someone could take a group of people born in an 18-year span and even imagine that they'd necessarily have anything more than their ages in common. Maybe it's the individualist in me but I honestly can't see how an awful lot of assumptions are made about that generation, or about any other one.

    I CAN see why the media has played it up so much (at least I think I can): I think they're under the assumption that if you can convince people from that age group that the age group in itself means something, then you can coerce an awful lot of them into the join-in, play-along situation that politics (and the media) love to see people buy into.

    I wonder how many people in the counterculture in the 1960s approached it from the viewpoint of trying to truly bring change, and how many signed on because their friends were doing it and besides it was a great way to piss Mom and Dad off. I'm not condemning anyone on either side of things-and I think it's a situation that follows through history over and over-but I think an awful lot of what may have seemed like substance was only style. Not to everyone, but to quite a few people. Probably the people who are "out" now.

    I will shut up now, but I have to add this: I think your post has forced me to change my description of what I do when I'm sitting or standing around in the woods staring for hours on end. I've always thought I was standing still but this weekend it hit me that it was more a case of absorption...anyway, it's NOT complacency. Or if it is, it's the most active complacency I know of.

    Thanks for the post, JR!

  2. I think the concept of boomers came into being because there were so many young people, fresh out of WWII, having babies and there was no real infrastructure to prepare both the US and the UK for an influx of a large amount of children with the same needs. On both sides of the Atlantic we got the best in education, health care, nutrition and to a degree parenting (thanks or no thanks to Dr Spock, depending on point of view) and so on simply because there were so many of us and everything had to be constructed around us. We were subsequently spoiled that way and hence the sense of both identity and entitlement. We were all told we were "special" and "could do anything we wanted" although that was an ideal and not the truth.

    The alienation I refer to is that although I was neither counter-culture nor anti-counter-culture, but rather my own hybrid version of myself, was teenage young and new to America, I didn't understand the "identity" thing much. I did catch very early on that it was never an anti-war movement but an anti-draft movement and the two were often confused. The bottom line is most boomers weren't anti-war on some high philosophical grounds, they just didn't want to have to go do it, especially a senseless one like Vietnam. The two things that stand out in my youth are the divisiveness of the anti-draft movement and racial conflict. Everything I needed to learn about Americans, conflict, politics and social/class differences I learned then and feel like in more than a few ways I'm living a repeat of that again. So yes, some things do happen over and over, the script and players just get modified.

    Not standing still and absorption are both in the same camp I'd say. You have to be able to absorb things, standing still, to learn and grow to move on to the next thing, until it's time to stand still, absorb and grow again.

    Thanks for commenting!