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The Meaning of Happiness

Baby Boomers and Other Elders

It's been going on for a long time, but since the oldest baby boomers started turning 65 last month, there has been a steady uptick in references to boomers as the definition of old – and it's got Crabby Old Lady's knickers in a big-time twist.

There are a zillion headlines about them every day:

”Boomers Severely Impacted by Financial Crash”

”Cities Adapt to Aging Boomers”

”Baby Boomers at Risk for Hepatitis C”

”Boomers Show Strain of Caregiving”

”Boomers Leading Gray Sex Revolution”

Just a damned minute here. Who thinks boomers have cornered the market in elder sex? Is Crabby to be ignored for risk of Hep C? Are those who are older than 65 not also caring for aged parents? Did the financial crash not steal more than third of Crabby's life savings?

It's bad enough that old people in general become invisible but now, people older than 65 are becoming non-existent.

It even happens here at Time Goes By which gets linked to on lists recommending blogs and websites for boomers - as if Crabby Old Lady, older by five years than the oldest boomer, is not welcome at her own blog.

Crabby won't embarrass you by naming names, but too many commenters on this blog reference “we baby boomers” or something similar when they obviously mean everyone who reads Time Goes By.

Crabby counts a lot a baby boomers among her friends and individually, they are lovely people. But collectively? Gawd, Crabby Old Lady is tired of their belief that they invented everything starting with the wheel.

Let us be clear: aging boomers are a subset of elders. There are 35 million who are older and Crabby intends to vigorously resist being ignored or subsumed into the boomer category.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: The Wooden Bench


I am one of those 35 million older than boomers, and I feel that AARP no longer cares about me either, so no more AART membership.

Oh, god! We didn't invent drugs, sex and rock and roll??
You've shattered my world.

I am among the "older Boomers", having been born in 1946. I have always identified with those who are older than I; they were the people I admired and wanted to be like -- they provided me with role models, teachers and mentors. Those who are now turning 70 (or 75) provide much more kinship and friendship than the younger Boomers, born in 1960-64, who are closer to my children's ages and are so very busy with their own lives. I just read a blog post (written by an otherwise lovely young woman) about Sunday drivers (otherwise known as old farts behind the wheel). I had that uncomfortable feeling that she might be writing about people my age! Love you, Crabby Old Lady!

I have a book, which I found interesting regarding how these groups get 'identified' and it's by their actions and impact on the generations before and after, ending up with this repeating itself at the end of each cycle. 'Generations' didn't place the first Boomers when the main media or others did but what the writers were saying is that it's the attitude of those people that makes them part of that group. For anyone who hasn't read it, it's interesting-- especially for writers who want to create characters in earlier periods as it can help you get the different ages showing how they see the world and what should be done differently. I think boomers are seen as big consumers by the advertisers; hence they have the potential to influence them more to buy what they encourage which might be 'eternal youth' but in each of these generations, people vary, some being more influenced by other generations more or less. Anyway that's the take of the book.

The Boomers have always got a lot of press, because there is so many us--by which I mean 'my' age cohort (born 1950). I know the young folks resent us. Blame us for everything from high unemployment to medicare funding problems. Personally, a young person with a capacious sense of superiority is what makes me crabby.

The thing I like about being a boomer is that whatever problem I'm having, or anticipating having, I know there are a huge bunch of folks experiencing the same thing or working on solving it.

Hey, I am older than dirt, and we did invent drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

Sigh! I'm with those elders who know darn well that in the end it's all about money & the media. Egads! How much stuff & such do any of us need. It makes me long for a funny cigarette! (just joking)Dee

The 35 million older than the Boomers do have a label courtesy of Tom Brokaw. We are the "Greatest Generation". And we are dying off, but not fast enough to be ignored.

We have the secure income, purchasing power and time to make our voices heard. Speak up you Greats.

Boomer, here, married to a child of The Greatest Generation, who is yet too old to be a Boomer. Which means he doesn't exist, according to the marketers and buzz-word mongers.

That's a bummer for both the Old Man and me, Dudes. Up until recently--for almost 36 years--we'd thought this marriage had been working out pretty well.

I'm guilty as charged, COL, for perpetrating that "We Boomers" travesty. Lesson absorbed. I blame Don Draper.

Greatest Generation? How about Depression Babies or Tough Times Kids? We're the ones who were born during the Depression and grew up during WW II knowing how to scrimp and save and make-do. These are things my kids learned from me and are better equipped to survive during tough times like we're having now and not whine or complain about it because we thought that was just the way things were and you made the best of it.
The generations who were never taught these things are the ones who were most surprised and caught short when things got tough again.

I seem to recall that you and I discussed this once long ago. I'm one of the oldest Boomers (born in '47) and I'll be 64 in April but I've never felt like a Boomer and I know others who feel the same. We aren't special -- we're just the result of what happened when our daddies came home from the war: they got married and made babies -- lots of them. And it was people like like you who were the 'regulars' on Bandstand as well as the performers who led Rock and Roll like Elvis. And we were still raised the old-fashioned way -- no Dr. Spock at our house!!! Then again my parents were country folks firmly rooted in their upbringing. I think there's an arrogance among some Boomers that is unmerited. Mage is spot on that your generation DID invent sex, drugs and rock and roll!!!!! My generation just ran with your lead. Isn't that special? No it is not. It is arrogance and I don't like it.
I identify more with your group more than my own and I'm guessing that I'm not alone.

Miki--as a boomer, the best thing I learned from my parents was how to live frugally. So handy at present.

And Kay, I know the boomers didn't invent Rock and Roll. I was singing Elvis songs by the time I was seven and my very favorite music is Doo Wop, but I was too young to invent it (even had I been so blessed talent wise.)

Born in '42 I'm in the small demographic born during the war, not the "Greatest" not a "Boomer." A little to young for Bill Haley and the Comets, too old to get out and scream for the Beatles. I am going to drop my AARP membership as they don't address my needs any longer and I did drop my Sunset subscription after months of empty profiles of 50ish celebrities, heart clogging recipes, and reviews of pricey spas. I wrote to them and complained and I think others may have too as they dropped the profiles and took the travel articles down a notch. I guess there's hope.

I joined a small gym and at first there were not many my age but now I see quite a few more gray haired people there, especially women. And the owner goes out of his way to be welcoming, smart guy. We bring our friends.

At 67, I'm too old to be a boomer, but my son, who will 47 this year, qualifies. ?!

This Boomer (so they say) has always been bemused by generational labels. I think this is in part because, though my parents had me as a first child in 1947, they themselves were born in the first decade of the 20th century, were adults by the time of the Great Depression, and had a lot of attitudes and social mores from an earlier era. When I turned up, I was expected to absorb these and I was acutely aware that my age peers lived in families with quite different habits and values. I early on figured out I shouldn't assign moral weight to these differences. Guess that comes from living on the cusp in more ways than one. But I often felt out of sync.

When it because common to refer to my age cohort as Boomers, I adopted the construct and sometimes find it useful in discussions, but I can't say I believe it means much except as a convenience to marketers. Those of us so lumped together have quite a mix of early experiences that color our responses to the world. And, of course, there are simply lots of us.

Sorry if I've ever written here as if I thought Boomers=elders. How odd that seems, since we're really just getting there.

I was born in California, the summer of 1944. I remember going to kindergarten and first grade in Utah, at old run-down schools and reading ancient text books.

But in 1952 we moved back home to California, where, from then on, every school I ever attended was spanking new and still smelled of paint and putty. This continued right through college, and was due to the effect of all those new kids coming up behind me.

The Baby Boom was a boon for me, since I profited at every step by the Boomers' presence: marketing and advertising were customized to young people, and by the time the Sixties arrived, the Boomers were Madison Avenue's darlings, but I took no comfort in that. The Armed Forces loved them too, and a lot of them died in VietNam (since I was already a father, I was not draftable.)

So, the way I see it, a large number of them suffered by their demographic, just as a lot of them profited from it, simply because there have been so many of them.

Happily, I am not among those who immediately followed it, but alas, my children are. Their lot is going to get tougher as they come along 'behind.'

And I too have dumped AARP since they are clearly a politically conservative COMPANY, who actually recommended I buy Enron (ooooh, such a GOOD opportunity!) and then went on to support the massive public giveaway to the drug manufacturers. To hell with them. Someone ought to take that role back from them.

Housing, transportation and medical needs are all being addressed now to accommodate the elders of our future, and it will also benefit many of us who are old now.
There may be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Hear, hear, Ronni! May I raise my voice for fellow members of The Silent Generation?! I was born in 1937 so I'm definitely not a Boomer and not quite a member of The Greatest Generation, or the Beat Generation, either. Whatever, I'm not exactly silent!

I'm glad others have noticed the increasing slant of AARP towards the Boomers. Guess it's not too surprising--that's where the money is, even though many Boomers may not be as wealthy in retirement as they anticipated. I agree that some of the housing, transportation and medical accommodations in the pipeline for the Boomers could benefit the rest of us, too

Phew, I'm glad I'm (slightly) too old to be a boomer. Wouldn't want Crabby Old Lady getting on my case.

every day I read something eerie about what the boomers will face. It may make them wish they could die./

It's forgotten about elders going thru wars, depression, no S S I way back then.
But we did survive, and so will the boomers

I saw a new term the other day: Alpha Boomer, meaning people who now are between 50 and 64. The term seems to have originated with a New York Post writer, as Google wasn't able to find any other source.

Labels labels labels - don't you just hate them - I avoid telling people my age, how many children/grandchildren I have, what my career was etc in an effort not to be labelled and popped into a box - certainly doesn't please bureaucracy or marketing companies - they don't deal with real people - just the boxes with labels.
Let's hear it for real people of all ages.

I'm in that "boomer" age group and I have hated the categorization since its inception. I have never fit into its stereotypes of SUV's, expensive homes and leftover money to boot. The media so long ago ceased to identify citizens as individuals - we have been generalized to the nth degree. I am particularly tired of AARP's characterizations of "boomers".
We are all aging, period. Ignore the media, Ronnie. I try to.

Yes, I too hate these labels. I, as a supposed baby boomer born in 1959, have almost nothing in common with my oldest sister, also a baby boomer born in 1947. I HATE generalizations whether people are talking about baby boomers, Gen X'ers republicans, or democrats.

Born in '46 and never fit that label, either. Also, I've always dis-liked labels of any sort. I have always "judged" people at face value, once I got to know them a bit better. My husband was born in '36 and we both had always talked of how we felt we belonged in the era of the 1800's as we hated the mentalities we 'mostly' encountered. So, no boomer attitude here. Just 'me'.

Oh yeah, also, I remember when Elvis came on board, when I was 11 and I didn't go all crazy over him. I thought he was good is all. And same when the Beatles came to America when I was a Junior in High School. Just another good bunch of singers, in my view.

Weren't the Boomers once described as the "Me generation"?
That says it all

Personally I'm glad, at age 71 that I can just be an old person and not an old "Boomer."

From what I've seen, the "me" generation came after the oldest boomers.......and is still growing.

Thank you for the late night chuckle. I'm in that late group of boomers, but to be honest I really don't think much about the age thing until I see articles like this. No doubt it'll catch up with me at some point.

Labels are interesting things. I've been "a victim" since January 8th. It's not how I define myself, nor how I choose to look at myself, nor how I want others to see me, but there it is, in print, on tv, in people's mouths and in their eyes.

I've decided to care as little as I can about how I am defined. I'm just trying to get through this life, with a little dignity and a lot of love. At 2-weeks-shy-of-59 I have always believed that I was young at the right time (all that sex and drugs and rock and roll...) but I have to say that today feels pretty damn good, too.

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