I am a baby-boomer. There are more of us in the world than any of the rest of you generations X, Y, Z, Me, You, Millenial, whatever.
We were a progressive generation that changed the world. We created the sexual revolution, we fuelled the American Civil Rights movement, we invented rock festivals. Hell, we invented rock (actually we didn’t, it was Black blues groups in the 40’s who did that, but we take all the credit).
We created the sixties and seventies.
We had the summer of love.
We tried all kinds of soft drugs, and a few hard ones, and praised their ability to change our spiritual perspectives.
With or without drugs, we opened our minds to Asian philosophies and spiritual practices, and discovered that without them, we probably really couldn’t have quantum physics.
We discovered ecology (it was always there, just most people hadn’t noticed before)
Above all, we were free, free, free.
So What Happened?
Today, we have become smug, arrogant, complacent, and conservative.
The individual freedom we all thirsted for so much has become selfishness and egoism. We disdain community values while preaching them to others.
We criticise our children and grandchildren, claiming they have a smug sense of entitlement which, in fact, is our own even smugger notion of our own supposedly superior positions.
Instead of changing the world, we want to send it back to the stone age.
We want to close the doors, circle the wagons, seek refuge behind an “identity” we would have disdained when we were 20, and shut others out. Tough luck if they die on the open sea trying to escape wars that we instigated and let others fight.
We vote for ultra-conservative, even extreme right-wing leaders who promise things they know they cannot and will never deliver, but whose bombastic simplicity reassures us.
We are the epitome of “do what I say, not as I do,” and then we decry the cynicism of younger generations.
We think we were the last people to invent anything of worth.
“We are old, Father William…”
I weep for my generation.
Author’s note: Nothing in this post is proven, it’s all opinion. My own. I would love for someone to prove me wrong.
2 thoughts on “Talking About My Generation”
When we were young, we were naive. Now we are old, we are afraid.
Just like every other generation.
But because there are so many of us, our naivete reshaped society when we were young and our fear reshapes it again now we are old.
Under normal conditions, the naivete of the young and the fear of the old balance society between liberality and caution. But we have thrown off that balance with gleeful self-congratulation. Twice.
We will not live long enough to see things come back into balance.
Mark, I fear you’ve nailed it. Wish it weren’t so, but there you have it. The wheel turns, in the end it’s quite mundane, isn’t it?