You Lead, I’ll Follow

Technically I am part of the baby boomer generation.  I slid in under the wire in 1964.  I’m not sure who drew that line in the sand, but it has never really fit.  I was 5 years old when most boomers were attending Woodstock, protesting the Vietnam war or experiencing free love.  I missed out on all of the big trends of “my” generation and I’ve always felt kind of like their annoying kid sister who was too young to be part of their fun.  I’ve never felt any advantage to this position, till now.  

As I’ve been describing my blog to people I talk a lot about how the image and reality of midlife has changed.  Teenagers are still not dying to be in our shoes, but we are not seen as over-the-hill, dull or lifeless anymore.  Like every life-stage they have passed through, the boomer generation is responsible for recreating, rethinking, and updating this part of life.  

The generation that wanted to (and did) make huge, sweeping social changes in their 20’s was used to the power of their massive group think.  If they all felt vibrant, exciting, and far from half-dead in mid-life then that was how they would redefine it.  They threw expectations of how a middle-age man or woman should look out the window.  Rules about what age is too old to have long hair (on both sexes) or wear a short skirt (mostly women) were scratched in favor of their motto, “If it feels good, do it.”  They wrote the first chapters in the book on how to be a working mom, dating with kids, and finding yourself.

This blog wouldn’t exist without their new attitudes.  

I sometimes feel closer to Gen X; the more tech savvy, individualistic generation that loves to question authority.  But it’s clear to me that rampant individualism is the result of the group-think boomers tearing down the rules of society in advance of their Gen X kids. Questioning authority is a given for those who follow the radicals who questioned the Vietnam War and fought for civil rights.  

I see that my annoying-kid-sister position has its advantages.  I say to the (slightly) older boomers, you lead the way into the next phase, into retirement.  Show me how to do it in a whole new way.  I’ll follow.  


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