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Not the Latest or the Greatest Generation
In speaking with other members of the Baby Boom® Generation (“Whining And Complaining Since 1946”) I hear one theme repeated over and over again:
“Nobody told me it was going to be this tough.”
“It,” in this case, refers to life as an adult in 21st Century America. And “tough” refers to the fact that being a so-called grown-up isn’t nearly as much fun as we all thought it was going to be, especially now that we’re on the back nine, age-wise.
I admit I’ve had the same thought myself. When I was on the other side of (here’s one that’ll date you) the Generation Gap, adulthood looked like The Promised Land to me. It represented freedom -- freedom from the oppressive yoke of the educational system, the stern and unblinking eye of parents, the draconian laws that said you had to be 21 before you could drink (legally).
And, of course, once I got over the gap, I discovered that that adulthood was no Big Rock Candy Mountain. Instead you yoked yourself to a job, you submitted to the observation of a significant other, and you found out that drinking legally wasn’t all that different from the drinking you’d already been doing for five years. And worst, you found out that freedom is one of those concepts they’re still working on. Freedom? Sorry, kid. Instead you get a mortgage, credit card bills, a car payment, taxes ...
I, for one, was not adequately prepared. At least, that’s the excuse I’m going with. The truth is, I would have been, had I been paying attention.
Let’s take aches and pains. Now that I think about it, the adults of my kidhood were always talking about how much they hurt, and where – backs, heads, shoulders, stomachs being the main locations. Being a kid, I figured that was just how they communicated with each other, and turned my attention back to Quick Draw McGraw, not to give it another the day I reached a certain age and suddenly, every joint in my body seemed to need lubrication. Then came the pain – back, head, shoulder and stomach.
I had no right to be surprised. Annoyed, yes, but not surprised.
Oh, and work. I cannot remember a single adult in that time who enjoyed work. Well, I don’t enjoy work either, which is why I don’t do it. Instead, I write. It’s indoors and there’s no heavy lifting. Of course, there’s not much money in it, but there was never enough money when the parents talked, either.
By now you should be getting the picture. When we Baby Boomers® start honking about how tough it is to be us, we conveniently forget that we were warned – if not in so many words, at least by example. We ignored it, for the most part. And now that we how things are turning out, we are, to say the least, dismayed to find that we are turning into that which we vowed never to become: Our parents.
It’s a tough realization, but it does have an upside. When we realize it’s no fun to be a 21st Century so-called adult, we Boomers® can do something we’ve done for problems great and small, as long as any of us can remember:
Blame our folks.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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