Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 29, 2013

SINGER: The baby boomers: An endangered species?

Niagara Gazette — Are baby boomers (and/or yuppies) an endangered species? I guess actuarially that’s the case, but I’m thinking more in the short run. I don’t have a good feeling in my bones about this, while hoping against hope that they — me included — can safely guide millions of personal skiffs into port; but I’m not so sure it will happen. Plenty of people will want to put us out on the equivalent of ice floes? If there’s something to this dire feeling concerning our horizons, how did it all become possible?

We hear plenty these days of a “stuck in the middle” boomer quandary and of some beneath them, too (late thirties or forties) – i.e., as a kind of sandwich generation taking care of both needy parents and children. However, problems facing the numerous, yet vulnerable boomer contingent go well beyond that.

First off, baby boomers lived the best of it all in the ‘50s and early ‘60s, arguably one of the cushiest epochs to grow up in throughout all of human history. Then during the late ‘60s and Me Decade of the ‘70s, many thumbed noses (in varying degrees) at age-old conventions of different kinds. That included a basic questioning of elders, now frequently perceived as stodgy — a generation that had gone through the Depression and World War II, but didn’t seem cool enough with current trends. (Think of new stimulants versus martinis, or Meathead versus Archie Bunker ... )

The “youth” revolution? That was certainly us. But there’s a hidden price to having been part of a youth revolt — the fact that we were a generation that was somehow not supposed to turn gray and get old ourselves! Yet that’s exactly what is ironically, jeeringly happening now. Deriding Archie Bunkers or Nixons is no longer an option — most in that generation are gone, and the rest (thankfully) are holding on for dear life.

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