By Troy Rampy, Editor, The Wellness Blog™
“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”
– John Lennon
Something is happening that I never thought I would witness. The time of the Boomers may be passing.
The “pig moving through the python” is beginning to dissipate. If not in size, at least in influence and impact. It appears we’re starting to enter the lower entrails of the python. And beyond that … well, you know.
So how did it come to this? In truth, it’s been slow. In bits and pieces. But it’s been relentless and seemingly irrefutable. Or has it?
First of course, there was the music. As my 19-year-old asked me a few years ago, “Dad, did you ever think Rock ‘n Roll would be a thing of the past?”
What? A thing of the past? How and when did THAT happen?
“Ah yes, but it did, Dad.”
And what, pray tell, replaced Rock?
“Oh so many things: Alternative, Hip Hop, Indie … more.”
Much of the Rock they play is older stuff with some wimpy Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow thrown in for good measure. But not a lot of formative, move-you-to-your-roots new stuff. More Pop than Rock. Oh my.
Then, there are the films. Remember when plot and character development used to be important? Unfortunately, many of today’s films consist mostly of CG effects and shock-value sequences.
It’s all Star Wars gone amuck. While the former was a bona fide classic, I’m just not moved by the “graphic novel” versions of comic books and bozo comedies that provide much of our current film fare.
And then, of course, there’s the technology. We Boomers can’t, or won’t, or don’t want to keep up with all the changes. Frankly, we’ve already seen too many.
So let’s take a deeper look. Starting on January 1st, 2011 Baby Boomers began to hit retirement age. From now on, every single day more than 10,000 Boomers will reach age 65. That’s going to keep happening for the next 19 years.
Sobering, isn’t it?
There were approximately 80,000,000 Boomers born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964. We’ve had two former U.S. presidents who were born in the first year of the Boomer onslaught (Bill and George II). Barack was born in its second-to-last year.
It is estimated that the Boomer generation will hold a plurality in Congress only until 2015, and the White House perhaps until 2021. Boomers also may have a majority in the Supreme Court from 2010 to 2030. But that’s not very much influence for a demographic that’s used to being the trend setter.
As a further sign of the times, Steve Jobs, visionary, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, died today. It was a huge loss. To say that Jobs was a protean shape-shifter of our culture is not hyperbole. He was the epitome of the Boomer’s predisposition toward thinking out of the box in ways that make a social contribution and/or alter our awareness.
A few more Boomer examples who fit that description and readily come to mind are: Bill Gates; Jeff Bezos; Oprah Winfrey; Al Gore; Ken Wilber; Elizabeth Warren; Jon Stewart; and even Robin Williams.
I think it’s significant that Boomers Dave Letterman and Jay Leno are nearing the end of their reign as the kings of late night television. Research shows that this is where we Americans turn in times of national crisis.
The patter on late night television is apparently the means via which we bond as a nation. It’s where contemporary culture is parsed: headline by headline; joke by joke; guest by guest. It’s our collective village fire when we are faced with serious conflict and/or catastrophe. And the position of host for those two pivotal programs soon will pass to the next generation.
So are the Boomers fading in terms of influence? And if so … so what? What’s the big deal? Remember, the only constant in the universe is change.
Well, yeah. But the problem is, this is MY generation. WE are the ones who were going to make a difference and change the world. WE were going to usher in a new world paradigm.
And you know what? We did! We actually did. And we are continuing to change paradigms: from business models to concepts like evolutionary spirituality. From technology to parenting. From styles of communication to lifestyles. And so much more in almost every field of human endeavor.
It’s just that it hasn’t been as much, or as idealistic, or as complete as we all had hoped.
But we did do our part. Just as the so-called “Greatest Generation” made a difference, so too did, and are, we.
The times they may be a-changin’ … again. But we Boomers certainly are not yet done. And who knows, perhaps our finest hour is still ahead.
In fact, I’d keep a look-out for just that. Long live the Boomers …