One of my adult children (you know who you are) made a pithy assessment of my generation that included flattering terms like self-absorbed and which conjured an image of a swarm of locusts marauding across the decades, leaving scant remains for any unfortunate enough to follow.
We Baby Boomers are the progeny of the Greatest Generation. Millions of GIs returned from World War II to rejoin the rest of the population who had suffered stateside. Everyone had sacrificed in some way, yet had been spared the devastation to the homeland that had leveled Europe and much of Asia and Northern Africa. With a wealth of resources undiminished by monstrous armaments and armies, and the rest of the world simply trying to get back on its feet, America and her families entered a new era of previously unimagined prosperity. Children born from 1946-1964– oh, let’s get off on the right foot, I mean of course mainly middle class white children, especially male– grew up believing this was all for us. And, frankly, all about us. Blessed with innate historical insight and impeccable timing, vast numbers of us chose the optimal window for our birth, catching a totally awesome ride on an economic and cultural wave, complete with Beach Boys soundtrack.
Now, after childhoods and careers spent basking in the benefits of Me Generation membership, what encore is most fitting for retirement? Something self-actualizing, perhaps? Get political and lobby to preserve Social Security, Medicare and pension funds? Move someplace warm and pursue an “active lifestyle”?
None of those struck a chord and I must say I drifted a bit during my first three years of self-unemployment. There was plenty to do, but no driving purpose or long-term theme. Finally, this past fall, several things converged to provide them.
Realization dawned that creative impulses I had presumed long dormant, or at least decrepit, were merely suppressed and starting to rattle their cages. I took a couple of photography classes, and the rattling grew louder.
I’ve wanted to write, really write, for longer than I care to admit. A book for children, at least my grandchildren should no one else be interested. And something like a blog. Very like a blog. This blog, in fact.
Oh, and the election. That wasn’t good. Do you know the worst thing about it? Strike that. We all know the worst thing about it. The second worst thing about it was the two main candidates were BOTH, you got it, Baby Boomers. Talk about generational guilt!
All of this was percolating between November and the Inauguration in January. I began the book in early January and it was like finding you have another arm you didn’t realize was there. It feels so natural and overdue to put it to use. Then, I heard Trump speak after being sworn in and somewhere within me a small dam broke. Downstream my normal reticence got swept away. My reluctance to put my opinion out there seemed so petty relative to the ominous threat emanating from the White House.
My first step was to make Facebook posts, but it was clearly not the most appropriate format for the type of writing I have in mind– and heart. So the “maybe someday” website/blog became a now priority. (When it goes live, I will include a few of the Facebook pieces with original post dates for sake of continuity.)
In the first months of Trump, much of the focus may be unavoidably political. But, over time, the range of posts should reflect any and all topics that relate to the central theme: In my remaining time as a human on earth, what things do I need to know, understand, see, hear, say, and do that might help improve conditions for our kids and their kids? Care to join me?