Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.
Let’s be honest, for those of us born between the years 1947 and 1964 being tagged as the Baby Boom generation has its drawbacks. Think about it, an entire cohort identified by the fact that our parents decided to celebrate the end of war by having sex. A lot of it, if you do you numbers. What kind of banner is that to be raised under? Adding insult to injury, Tom Brokaw decides to give those same parents the title, "The Greatest Generation." Check please.
On the other hand, one would think that with the bar being as low as giving us credit for simply arriving en masse, that the only way to go was up. We’ve had our glories, to be sure. And, while the list of accomplishments in all areas of society and culture by Boomers could go on for pages, many of them bare the stain of what many find to be the leading identifier with our group; the desperate need to feel special.
No matter what we went through, it was as if it had never happened to anyone before. So, the whole nation, and world for that matter, had to suffer through our teenage angst, our young adult angst, our adult angst, our middle age angst and now, you guessed it, our elder angst. As hippies gave way to yuppies, who are giving way to “grumpies,” it’s clear that this generation does not intend to “go quietly into that good night.”
Maybe there’s still hope. Perhaps, our generation can, once again, buck the trend and start a revolution. If not revolution, than a revelation that the aging process itself should not be missed; that there’s something very special here too. It’s not too late to leave our mark; a literal hyphen after our current tag; Baby Boomer- The Generation that Finally Came to Terms with the Fact that Growing Older Leads to Death Despite Our Vain Attempts to Beat Back Nature. Wieldy, for sure, but it’s a start.
We could aim a little lower and strive to bring back dignity and grace to aging. This doesn’t mean just letting ourselves go in the traditional sense of not caring what we look like anymore and doing whatever feels right, regardless and what others think. I thinking more along the lines of letting go of the conditioned response to life that puts us in a state of resistance; that habitual tightening, as if life was about to punch us in the gut. We can become the SOFT Generation: Seeing Openings for Transformation. This would work! No one loves a good acronym like we Boomers. Add a slogan, and we’re right back to “Hell No We Won’t Go,” “Make Love Not War,” and “Impeach Nixon (God, I miss Tricky Dick!)
I tossed the slogan idea around a room of graying urban professionals (Guppies) and here is what we came up with:
Hell yes, we are blessed!
All the way, we’re going gray!
Youth, I Grew Out of It!
Impeach Nixon! (Hard to let go of the good ones.)
It’s not too late, fellow Boomers. We can still put together a new movement. Not a protest; more like a post-test. Let’s gather our collective wisdom gained in the only way that really counts, making mistakes, and “Take it to the streets! Right after a good nap.