Thursday, March 29, 2007

Middlescence

I watched a great PBS documentary last night called "The Boomer Generation: 1946-2046" It went through the decades of the Baby Boomer generation and all that they saw, experienced, fought for, won, and so much more. It discussed the age of women's liberation, the advent of computers, growing racial equality, the surge of credit cards and their result on finances, health care, Social Security, the death of retirement, and so much more.

One thing really struck me and made me reach for some paper to pen my thoughts. The 20th Century developed a new age-class called adolescence, the time between childhood and adulthood; something that was almost non-existent before the 1900's. The 21st Century is developing another age-class called Middlescence. The space between adulthood and old age. Our culture is finding the golden years, the 50's and 60's, to be much different than they were even 10 years ago. Most people are finding they are much more healthy at that age than their parents were. Many people are retiring early and starting new careers or new ambitions. And those that retire at the used-to-be-normal age are finding they still have a lot of life left in them. That is due largely to the fact that age expectancy is raising every day, producing a vast group of spry, youthful feeling 50 and 60-somethings.

This is evidenced by the birth of sports fantasy camps, mostly visited by that age group. Music stores across the country report a 250% increase in musical instrument sales to people over the half-century mark. The number of people going to college from that age group has doubled in the last ten years. There are more people over the age of 50 starting new businesses than under. Pretty amazing stuff, isn't it?

The downsides are obvious though. At the height of the baby boom, there was a baby born in this country every eight seconds. Now there's someone turning 60 every eight seconds. In 1950 there were 46 workers supporting every 1 person receiving a Social Security check; today there are only 3.4. Nursing homes are quadrupling their beds, and health care costs for those people are bankrupting their children. And worst of all, the "We" generation has turned into the "Me" generation and those are the people that are running our country. Many of them with no regard for the future generations but rather only what's good for them right now; and they're proud to say it.

No matter how you look at it, the "Boomer Generation" was and is a fascinating phenomenon. Those of us not a part of it could learn a lot from them, both the highs and the lows. Hopefully we can learn from their mistakes, build on their successes, and fill in the gaps in between. If you get a chance to catch it, I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone of any adult age. It raises a lot of great points that are sure to spark a ton of thought and conversation.

3 Comments:

Blogger 3rd string's finest said...

Hey again! Was that one a re-run? I saw a PBS special on the baby boomers too!.......I love PBS, I think it's great...........I think the baby boomer era is great subject matter for a psycological study of the human species. ( I realize i wrote that as if I was not, in fact, a member of the human species, but i am not erasing it........I won't)
Anyways, I'd love to stay and chat but it is 1920 and I have to be in the gym by 1930 or else my sexy bod goes away. It's kinda like a cinderella type deal with the exceptions of my "sexy bod" in place of cinderella and 1930 in place of midnight...........Post Script: my bod is not sexy, and spelling "body" without the "Y" is less than intelligent. It just sounds cool. lol

12:22 PM  
Blogger Lil' Kiddz said...

My dad is, in my opinion, one of the greatest stories teller I have ever known. I love, love, LOVE, (did I mention love?) to hear him tell stories of growing up. With parents who were born in the 1800's there is lots there he has to tell. Then he himself being the YOUNGEST of 10 being born in 1939, you can only imagine the stories I've heard. I've heard some of the same stories over and over and never, ever tire of hearing them. It's always struck me as funny, Sam, that your blog address is "wrongcentury", because I myself am always saying I was born in the wrong decade. Though it is not century, I have always felt as though I could relate to the 50's and 60's era. I love everything about that time and would have loved living through those years. It's crazy though because I feel like I did when I hear my dad talk about it. I love that kind of nostalgic feeling I get from him. I think instilled that in me. Sorry about going off on that rabbit trail...I'll be sure to watch for that, as I would love to see it.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for the post sam. I really enjoyed ready the comments of 3rd String and Lil Kidz, thanks.

9:34 AM  

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