Thanksgiving Day 2005
A Laptop For Every Elder

When Will the Boomers Grow Up?

A few days ago my cyberfriend, Melinda Applegate, asked in an email, “Why is it that so many 30-somethings can’t stand us [baby boomers]?” In taking a stab at an answer, I wrote back, in part:

"It's not just 30-somethings, Melinda - even I don't like boomers. I'm five years older than the oldest ones and have never had much in common with them. But I've had to live with boomer zeitgeist all my adult life.

“What no one likes is that boomers have controlled the culture for 50 years - their interests always become the country's interests with few other choices. But the boomers themselves didn't cause it - the media, manufacturers, advertisers, marketers and retailers did.”

Then I ran across a story by Chauncey Mabe, writing at, who places the blame on boomers themselves:

“…there are so damned many of us - we constitute such a huge market of consumers - we can force the world to take notice as we matriculate each passage of life.

“It's starting to get unseemly.

“Are you as sick as I am at the spectacle of mature men of substance in line at Starbucks, dressed like pre-teen boys in shorts and T-shirt?”

Mr. Mabe, who at age 50 is smack in the middle of the baby boom, goes on to suggest that it is time for aging rock stars like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones to make way for such younger bands as the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat the World:

“No, none of these will equal the Beatles”, writes Mabe, “but this is their day. For pity's sake, don't be a hog. Let them have it.”

Which reminded me of a recent post from Tamar at In and Out of Confidence:

“Yesterday I went with a friend to see Pride and Prejudice. As we were setting out I joked that I will probably come out of the movie feeling depressed because I am no longer as young or beautiful as the lead actor. My friend, who is a young woman not quite thirty, burst out, ‘Oh Tamar! You've had your chance. Be fair. Let someone else have it now ...’"

In the end, Tamar, another boomer, and Mr. Mabe reached the same conclusion:

Tamar: “It is true, so true. Indeed, I have had my chance, and now it is time for me to be an elder and leave the young and beautiful for someone else.”

Chauncey Mabe: “The Bible, for example, though regrettably composed prior to 1946, is full of good stuff. Consider the death of Abraham in Genesis 25, where he is said to be ‘an old man, full of years.’ I like that. Somehow, it beats ‘an old man, with an iPod, in short pants.’"


Those are some pretty ageist sentiments on Mr. Mabe's part, if you ask me. I don't care if he's in the same age group. Artists make art. Performers perform. They shouldn't be asked to leave the scene to "make room" for someone else any more than an older worker should have to retire when they still have something to offer. If their stuff stays popular it might just be because it's stood the test of time.

Should BB King leave the stage? He's pushing 80. Maybe he even turned 80 by now. Should he move over for someone else? And about Pete Seeger, mentioned in the article - he hasn't left the stage. He's in his mid-eighties and still performs when he can. And you know what? When he's on the bill, he does overshadow the younger peformers sharing it with him. Is that wrong of him?

Happy Thanksgiving, Ronni from snowy Buffalo. Thanks for the link. I want to say that since my young friend said that to me I have been feeling at peace - a calm within - so happy and relieved to becoming an elder and letting go ... just letting go. We can still be creative, inspiring, young at heart ... but just moving on to who we are right here right now.

"The Boomers" are fine by me--just too darned many of them! (But world population growth has been a nearly-life-long concern of mine.) It has always filled my heart with gladness to see progress made by younger people--be they 10 years or 60 years younger moi.

Although I find it unseemly that older men sport shorts and shirtlessness, I try to recall how I rejected other people's opinions on my style of dress when I was younger. I wanted others to mind their own business, then, and I wish that I might mind my own business, now.

Well, in terms of sheer numbers, there are more Gen Xers than boomers, and even more Millenials coming up. (according to Strauss and Howe's Generations).

But the boomer "idealist" generation will dominate the ideas of the near future, at least. And beware them as they age - they are slated to become a bunch of "Aging moralists" - as we already see with the Christian Right. The fun part is going to be the younger boomers like me coming up, with our Progressive agenda. Watch out when we get going - things may just change pretty quickly around here!

Oh, and we've got the older Gen Xers onboard already, and have been raising the Millenial Civics. Gonnna get fun soon.....

age doesn't bother me. i look my age and am quite being a greying boomer. I look back on the 60s and 70s with a touch of pride and affection not just because i was young then but because music and literature really flourished then. and liberal was not a dirty word.

It's been a strange trip growing up in an invisible and largely irrelevant generation. Being at the older end of the so-called Generation X, I wasn't even part of its brief "slacker" heydey.

I'm nearing 40 and my beef with the boomer generation has always been the way they keep changing the rules once they have theirs.

We get the disco party thing figured out just in time for baggy clothes, babies and commitment to come into style.

We turn old enough to drink, then the boomers raise the drinking age on us. (I was legal at 19 but not at 20.)

We graduate high school only to find that high school isn't good enough any more. We need to go to college just to get entry level work as secretaries and data entry clerks.

We start college just as tuitions skyrocket, trapping us in loan debt the likes of which most of the boomers never had.

We finally get stablized in our careers only to find that the boomers have created a housing bubble. We find ourselves paying inflated prices for homes an hour or more from our jobs while the boomers are making out pretty on property they bought a decade or two ago.

And now the boomers are starting to retire and the political talk is about how they'll have to cut benefits and raise retirement ages for those of us in my generation. That's if we get any social security at all. I'll be working into my seventies for fewer benefits so that boomers can become snowbirds and hit the golf courses in their sixties.

It's not easy living in the shadow of the boomer generation. All we ever hear is that their songs were better than ours, their education was better than ours, their culture was more fun and more relevant than ours, etc, etc.

But I think we might get the last laugh. The way I figure it, the boomers will make sure that all kinds of sweet retirement deals and great eldercare options get put into place. And then they'll die before they can dismantle them for my generation.

Sorry my first post on your blog sounds so bitter. I'm actually a pretty positive person most of the time. And boomer music really *is* better than ours. You part me from my Doors, Stones and Eagles music at your peril. I have quite a fondness for Elvis, too. :-)

I think the big dirty secret of us older X-ers, born in the 60's, old enough to remember Watergate and Vietnam, is that really, deep down, we all wanted to be boomers.

Please don't tell! ;-)

I'm squeezed into a generation before the Boomers, but in the tail end of the so-called "Greatest Generation."

I've enjoyed some benefits from both groups, but glad I missed out on some of the Boomer experimentation.

I'm really appreciative of any influence the Boomers, by virtue of their numbers, can bring to correcting some of the shortcomings left over from previous generations.

I hope a social moralistic part of their life philosopy motivates them to make sure the generations coming after them are provided for, too. I hope they have matured past the egocentric attitudes attributed to them by some.

Rest assured, Ann, that some of my generation (though we're fewer in number now) will be doing what we can to make our voices heard, our votes counted to ensure your welfare. At least I know I will, if for no other reason than my adult children deserve as much, too.

As for the music of the generations ... viva a wide variety from all genres. I'm partial, too -- there's a lot of great jazz around for several generations!

Lordy, yes. Let's act our age. Here I am on the cusp of 50 hanging out at the coffee house listening to my iPod. What could I be thinking?

Grow up?
Be The Best You Can Be.
I am a baby boomer and in my late 50.
I still feel young, I listen to music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I have friends from 21 to 75.
I still love to learn and study and was in college until 2001; and probably will go back and finish it one day.

Will we ever grow up?
Maturity is not depending entirely to age, is it?

As long as we are caring, productive members of the global citizens of the world.

Peace & Love,

just remember one fact! Just blink your eyes and you will be where I am NOW!

As well as that they're stealing our songs (just listen to the latest rap stuff) full of stolen samples from 60's/70's songs.
it's not that hard to open up and speak!

Act my age? I still have a guitar (one I dreamed of owning when I was a Kid, Hee haw hee haw) and I still get the neighbours ringing the cops when I crank my amp up to 10.
It's not a matter of growing up (as our parents used to say during the 50's) It's a matter of just being who we are and we won't be told to quieten' down by some generation X copper.
My idea of growing up was selling my collection of guitars and amps and buying a house with the proceeds,. Just kept the best of the crop.

What a crack up! The authenticative test, took me 3 goes to get it right.
Funny thang was it got a little clearer each time. Saved me getting up to put on my reading glasses.

Grow up? What does that mean? Is that what you really want, gen-X? I'm grateful for the boomers. I'm between the generations at 42 not quite a boomer not quite a gen-X, and thank God the boomers have redefined what it means to grow older. I have no plans on “moving over” for anybody. I’m gonna shake it til I break it, and in the immortal words of Bon Jovi, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Life is to be lived fully not according to some stereotypic idea of what you should be doing at 30, 40, 50 or whatever. Younger people who want older to move over are likely jealous! That’s what I wrote J-E-A-L-O-U-S. All I can say is, don’t hate! The Stones, McCartney, et al. the elder rockers are still on the stage because the f*cking earned it! They’ve stood the test of time. Don’t worry about Death Cab for Cutie (They are fantastic, I love those guys, big ups!) they too will earn their place in rock history, and if I have anything to do about it, they’ll be touring 30 years from now rocking the generations!

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