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Baby Boomers Shocked They’re Getting Old

aging

Michele Willens wonders, “When Did We Get So Old?

Yes, my generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has physical concerns: Friends are dying, joints are aching, and memories are failing. There are financial issues, with forced retirement and unemployment, children needing money and possibly a bed, and dependent parents. But for many of us, it is a psychological quandary that is causing the most unpleasantness: looking around and suddenly being the oldest.

Every generation gets old, but for those who were told we’d be forever young, it just seems more painful. “It’s a huge issue,” says Dr. Anna Fels, a psychiatrist in New York. “I see so many who are trying to adjust their lives to this new phase, which for some reason none of us really pictured ourselves going through.”

Why didn’t we? We knew that eventually more people around us would be younger rather than older. But it still rankles. The image of a room filled with younger people is the perfect symbol.

“It’s an important marker for this generation because it reminds them that they are now the ones closest to obsolescence, the ones the world can do without,” says Dr. Roger Gould, a psychiatrist and the author of “Transformations,” a book about age-related adult problems.

“I think the wake-up call for many was when Obama was elected,” says Joan Entmacher, vice president for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington. “Now, they were older than the president! Even pre-retirement, boomers realize they are no longer cutting edge.”

Misery loves company. We can take comfort in knowing there are around 77 million boomers, the largest generation in the United States population. Someone turns 50 every seven seconds.

My parents were born in 1943, at the tail end of whatever Generation preceded the Boomers. I was born in 1965, at the front end of what was eventually dubbed Generation X.  But,  aside from the narcissism, the Boomers aren’t unique in realizing they’re getting old and not liking it one damn bit.

The “Generation” concept never made much sense to me and makes less sense as I get older. Twenty years is a pretty wide swath, but in terms of physical age and formative experience. Those born in 1946 are pushing 70; those born in 1964 have either turned or are about to turn 50. That’s a chasm, not a cohort. Those born in 1946 grew up with Eisenhower and Elvis; prosperity and segregation. Those born in 1964 grew up with Ford and Elton; stagflation and malaise. Surely, I have more in common with someone born the year before me than I do with someone born when I was a high school sophomore?

All of us, regardless of which artificial “Generation” we’re part of, go through these milestones. Even when we’re relatively young, swimsuit models, star athletes, rock stars, and other aspirational figures start to be younger than us. In the blink of an eye, people who started school after we graduated high school are graduating high school–and we’re just turning 30.

Likewise, while I’m not a Boomer, I’m nonetheless rapidly approaching 50. Despite being reasonably successful and accomplished, I’ve been in the position of working for people younger than me. Indeed, the Marine colonel director of my school when I arrived a year ago, a 1984 graduate of the Naval Academy, will almost certainly be the last who’s older than me; his temporary successor was two years younger and his permanent one a year younger than me.

There has never been a president younger than I was at the time. But four (Teddy Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Obama) took office when they were younger than I am now.

That’s just life. And getting old, they say, beats the alternative.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Montanareddog says:

    I wonder if baby boomers will ever realise that even their navels are getting old?
    (I confess that I, too, am a technically a Boomer since
    I was born between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
    And the Beatles’ first LP
    thus before sexual intercourse began)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. MBunge says:

    All of us, regardless of which artificial “Generation” we’re part of, go through these milestones.

    The Boomers, though, were the first generation where “youth” changed from a stage of life to life itself.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. Kylopod says:

    Having been born in 1977 (right on Carter’s inauguration!), the weirdest thing I’ve discovered over the years is that I occupy a no-man’s land, generationally speaking. I’m usually too young for Gen-X, according to most definitions of the term. But I’m definitely too old to be considered Gen-Y or a millennial, which always begins at least in 1980. The geniuses who came up with these divisions never seemed to notice that certain years get shut out.

    On another note, I really related to this XKCD about getting old:

    http://xkcd.com/1393/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    I was born in 1946. I guess I realized I was getting old when the tech bubble crashed and I lost my job and it became obvious I was never going to get another engineering job again. The point was driven home when it became obvious that no insurance company wanted to even talk to someone in their late 50’s about health insurance.
    I had been the oldest guy in the room for sometime and in fact my last boss was easily young enough to be my daughter. I guess I finally admitted my age a few months ago when I found it was much easier to get around if I used a cane and found that reading was much easier if I used a Kindle and increased the font size.
    Having to health insurance in my late 50’s and early 60’s took a toll since I had little preventative care in the years that led up to my Medicare eligibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. Mikey says:

    When I was a kid, we would drive places as a family and my parents would listen to the “oldies” station on the radio. Music from the 1950s, stuff they listened to when they were teenagers.

    Today the music I listened to as a teenager is further in my past than the “oldies” were for them.

    James, you and I are both Desert Storm vets. That was 23 years ago. The Y2K scare was almost 15 years ago. And the older we get the faster time seems to pass.

    I think if we were to somehow achieve immortality, eventually years would seem as months do now, and eventually as days…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    I’ve always been old so the prospect of being old doesn’t particularly bother me.

    The really frightening thing is that as the demographic goat of the Baby Boomers passes through the python of the total population, youth just isn’t as important from a marketing standpoint as it was 30, 40, or 50 years ago. The Baby Boomers will continue to be an important marketing demographic for decades to come. That’s reflected in TV advertising, merchandising, and new product development. Now that’s frightening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. Ron Beasley says:

    Another admission I guess is that I recently pre-paid my burial expenses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Lynn Eggers says:

    Not so much shocked as disconcerted… I actually had someone offer to help me across the street a few days ago, and the MD checks my balance at my annual exam. Plus, people say “good job,” as to a 2 year old, when I say I still go to the gym.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. ernieyeball says:

    Life’s a bitch and then you die…or you spend $13,000 on your teeth like I did last year and hope you live long enough to get your moneys worth.
    GLB
    January 3, 1948

    Time, Time, Time see what’s become of me…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taf8fYP9Y-A

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. michael reynolds says:

    I turned 60 in late July. Not the least bit surprised by the event – my math skills are weak, but even I know what comes after 59. I’m a bit surprised to find myself still alive, but not disappointed. Not at all worried about being the oldest guy in the room, after all, my readers tend to be 14 or 15, I’ve long since gotten used to it.

    One of the downsides of having a good imagination is that you can walk the thing forward and have a pretty good idea of what’s coming down the road. I’m enjoying undeserved good health, but at 60 you have to face the fact that sooner or later it’s heart attack, stroke, cancer or Alzheimer’s. Got morphine? Okay, then, death I can handle. It’s the long, slow slide into home base that’s the concern. Dead is no problem, but “feeble” worries me a bit.

    I’ve managed to escape one terrible fate: I never did grow up, and it’s too late now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  11. DC Loser says:

    I’m 54, and people I know my age or even younger are dying. Health issues pop up more often now. But at least I have a pension and a second career going for me, and I want to make sure I live long enough to get some of that Social Security money back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Slugger says:

    You’re just jealous!
    We invented sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. We danced at Woodstock and saw the moon landings live. We invented cybernetics and played PacMan. We saw Janis live on stage. We trekked in the Himalayas. We protested wars. We eradicated smallpox. We got a BJ in the Oval Office. Look at photos from our era; the women were beautiful and the guys were groovy. Who can compare with Dylan or Hendrix? We got busy after the invention of the birth control pill and before the HIV era.
    We’re old, we’re old? Of course, we are old; we have lived! What have you guys done other than participate in sky high rates of diabetes?
    Get off my lawn, you insipid little snot nose!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

  13. Scott says:

    I was born in 1954, therefore I’m 60 and a boomer. My wife, born in ’65 is a Gen Xer according to definition. I also have three kids, 17-25. I find that my social circle is much younger than I am because it is derived from the school age parents. Most boomers my age have their kids grown and they are grandparents themselves. I have nothing in common with them.

    I have found that having children at an older age is a kind of a fountain of youth. they keep you in touch with the pop culture and are fun besides. There are times where I wistfully think about adopting to keep that youth going.

    BTW, my older brother was at Woodstock and is now retired. Talk about jarring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. ernieyeball says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot (heh).
    Got my Real Estate Tax Bill for 2014 in the mail. Since I turned 66 in Jan. I qualify for the Old Farts Homestead Exemption.
    In the Total Due box it says $0.00 NO TAX.
    2-4-6-8 How we gonna screw the state? Get old. That’s how.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: Randall Munroe, xkcd’s creator, was born after I graduated high school. Timeghost, indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Mark says:

    Of course, even “their” musicians aren’t of their generation. Dylan, Lennon, McCartney, Jagger, Richards, Hendrix, all WWII babies.

    They may no longer have their youths, but the Boomers can at least rest easy knowing that, between their parents and their children, they have long been and will long be the most disliked recent generation of Americans. No “Greatest Generation”-style tributes are forthcoming and none are merited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    “Hope I die before I’m old.” Nope, only happened to one of them. Face it, no one wants to fade away but watching old rockers try and hang on is just sad. Like Michael says above, feeble is the worry, let’s have some grace on the journey and do the best we can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. sam says:

    Heh. I tell kids every now and then (I’m 73) that they’re gonna have this experience: One day they’ll hit 50 and they’ll say to themselves, How the hell did this happen? When you’re 50, your memories of when you were 25 or so are still fresh in the mind. One of those memories is of you thinking to yourself that “old” people (= > 40) are some kind of alien species (right??). And lo, now you is they. Suck it up. Punks.

    (One thing, though, and this does sadden me. I was born in 1941, and I was able, at a small remove, to enjoy all the great films and music of America from the 30s on. When I mention some this music or some of those movies to my nieces and nephews, I get a blank stare. I feel sorry for them. They have missed and will miss so much.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. ernieyeball says:

    They have missed and will miss so much.

    Yeah. Well I missed the resurrection of Jesus. I sure would have liked to been there to see that!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    There are people wandering the earth now for whom old age will be an option. The Baby Boomers may be the last generation to “grow old” in the ways we are used to thinking about it. Baby Boomers themselves may be able to hang on long enough for rejuvenation, but it requires meticulous care of self in the present. Boomers will end up being prophetic, just not mostly for themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. michael reynolds says:

    Death is as necessary as the end of a book. We are each a story, and stories have beginnings, middles and ends.

    It’s one of the things that makes the promise of eternal life so absurd. Neither pleasure nor pain can endure without the tick-tock of an approaching finale.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. Ron Beasley says:

    @James in Silverdale, WA: Science fiction writers have been talking about the end of aging and living for centuries but it comes with a downside – your brain fills up with experiences that eventually have trouble keeping straight which eventually leads to insanity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Kylopod says:

    Call me crazy, but I think scientists will crack the secret of aging in this century. It won’t mean “living forever,” but it could mean vastly longer lifespans than anything we’re used to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. al-Ameda says:

    Ich bin ein Boomer, and I’ve never obsessed about my age, or had the somewhat obligatory mid life crisis – frankly I’ve been too busy for that.
    More seriously, as I’ve transitioned into my sixties I’ve worked at organizations where I’ve been one of the older group of employees and it has been invigorating to work with young professional people, I like the energy they bring, and it has definitely forced me to compete, to show that I can perform at a high level. Being around younger people has definitely made a positive difference in my life.

    I’ll never get buck those yester years, but I’m doing my best to see that I enjoy this chapter of my life, that I do not become that person who speaks only of “the good old days” and one who bemoans the new generation, their style and way of doing things.
    Accept the changes and adapt, you will feel younger (or maybe young at heart

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. JKB says:

    @Kylopod:

    Unless they figure out how to slow aging between 25 and 40 to extend life, it seems something of a waste. Dying may be bad, but living a long downslide is markedly worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. JKB says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Your experience with job and insurance is why I laugh when people throw out the raising the retirement age to save social security. It hardly helps the problem when so many are tossed out of a job 10 to 15 years before making the current retirement age.

    PJ O’Rourke makes a good observation in this interview. He points out that boomers occupied a lucky time being born (at least the first half of them) in a time of peace and prosperity. They also arrived just as the first world was transitioning from a demographics controlled by mortality to one controlled by fertility.

    Alan Macfarlane explains the shift in demographics this way. Basically one away from more children as assets in the family production to one of fewer children with more investment in education as they are more a non-productive good that impinges on the parents’ wealth and avoidance of poverty since the children will most likely move away for their own production. The Boomers got the parental attitude of the old way with the demographic and societal pressures of the new way.

    Putting it simply, in an embedded peasant economy, when the unit of production and consumption is the family household, it is sensible to have as large a family as possible, to work the land and to protect against risk in sickness and old age. To increase reproduction is to increase production. Yet as Jack Caldwell and others have shown, when the individual becomes integrated into the market, when wealth flows down the generations, when the cost of education and leaving for an independent economic existence on an open market occurs, children become a burden rather than an asset.23 In other words, capitalistic relations combined with individualism knocks away the basis of high fertility, and if this is combined with a political and legal security so that one does not have to protect oneself with a layer of cousin, the sensible strategy is to have a few children and to educate them well.

    A low-pressure demography means that a society avoids the situation where extra resources are automatically absorbed by population expansion. As Malthus argued, the only force strong enough to stand against the biological desire to mate and have children, was the even stronger social desire to live comfortably and avoid poverty. This is exactly what seems to have happened in England from at least the late medieval period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Stonetools says:

    Getting old is tough, but consider the alternative!
    Recently, a guy saw me on the street and hailed me saying “How you doing, OT.”( Old Timer for those who don’t understand the modern lingo. ). I was somewhat mortified, but I’m getting used to this.
    I’m losing my hair (sob). Michael, does it get any better?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. JKB says:

    @Stonetools: How you doing, OT.”

    The appropriate response is “Worse, I’m older and not near as innocent as I used to be”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    20 years ago I got up from lunch along with 3 other guys ranging from the mid 30s, to mid 40s. All 4 of us let out a groan as our joints creaked and protested. The lone cub in our group looked at us and said, “I’ve gotta get another job.” I was 35 and already an old man. A few years ago I showed up on a curbs and gutters job and they paired me with a guy who looked about my age. About 10 am I found out he was 35 and almost 20 years my junior. At 11 oclock the temps hit 100 and the concrete showed up at 11:30 and by 1pm I was done. My whole body just flat out rebelled and I had to give up and go home.

    That was the first time I could no longer deny the truth and surrendered to the advancing years. It wasn’t the last time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Guarneri says:

    “…..Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

    So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again.
    The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

    Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over,
    Thought I’d something more to say……………”

    “All that you touch
    All that you see
    All that you taste
    All you feel.
    All that you love
    All that you hate
    All you distrust
    All you save.
    All that you give
    All that you deal
    All that you buy,
    beg, borrow or steal.
    All you create
    All you destroy
    All that you do
    All that you say.
    All that you eat
    And everyone you meet
    All that you slight
    And everyone you fight.
    All that is now
    All that is gone
    All that’s to come
    and everything under the sun is in tune
    but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I never did grow up, and it’s too late now.

    I was once a grown up. It svcked. You didn’t miss nothing Michael.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. Ron Beasley says:

    When I lost my job at 56 I sold my condo and became the caregiver for my aging parents. My father died about a year latter but my mother died about 12 years later. My mother was pretty healthy for the first 10 years but my responsibilities slowly increased until I was doing all of the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Her final 2 years I became a 24/7 caregiver and the final 4 months she was in home hospice. It became too much for me and I had to take $14,000 out of my retirement to hire a caregiver to come in and give me a hand 5 hours a day. The home hospice was paid for by medicare and was a wonderful service with a nurse and a cleaning aide coming in twice a week. They supplied me with all of the supplies I needed and there was someone on call 24/7.
    I grew to understand the aging process during that period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. wr says:

    @James Joyner: I’m teaching a TV writing class at Pepperdine this semester, and every one of my students was born after I started working in the TV biz. And these are graduate students.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Maria Chace says:

    I have only a minor quibble, but it’s one that’s stuck with me for many years whenever this topic appears.

    Michele Willens (and a number of demographers) crisply defines her generation as having been born between 1946 and 1964.

    Now I understand perfectly well that in order for us to have these arguments over “our generation”, we need to find some way to measure and divide time up into chunks so that we can fit ourselves within a particular chunk.

    But as James himself notes in his post, and as several other commenters states indirectly, there is no uniformly acceptable way in which to divide up the eternal continuity of hours, days, and years into these generational chunks.

    No matter what calendrical system you choose, no matter what epochal events you claim as bracketing the start and end of our generational divides, it is never crisp.

    Someone born in 1945 isn’t going to be measurably different than one born in 1946. The same goes for someone born in 1965 in distinction to 1964. And that blurred edge extends downwards to ’44 and ’43 and so on, just as it extends upwards to ’66 and ’67.

    It’s this blur that is caused by the continuous passage of time, and our sequential births within it, that makes it difficult to predicate a meaningful argument on the basis of a generation as being rooted to a particular set of years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Kylopod says:

    @JKB:

    Unless they figure out how to slow aging between 25 and 40 to extend life, it seems something of a waste. Dying may be bad, but living a long downslide is markedly worse.

    That’s a matter of opinion. When my grandfather passed away at age 95, he had come to accept his imminent death, but he clearly would have preferred to live longer if he’d had a choice. (And he had Parkinson’s!) I doubt he was unique.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Ben says:

    I was born in 1979, so I am in that chunk that is not claimed by either Gen X or Gen Y/Millenial. In mindset and culture, I definitely associate and share more with Gen Xers. But the dividing lines are amorphous and there is significant overlap at the edges.

    As for aging/growing old, I turned 35 this year and even though that means I’ve haven’t technically rounded the bend yet (since life expectancies for my age cohort is well north of 80), I certainly feel like I’m already on the back 9. My early 20s seem a distant memory at this point, and I feel at least 10 years older than I am.

    Watching my grandparents and parents age, I always thought that the time when you worked a regular job stretched from your 20s until your early 60s, at which point you got to retire. Retirement is what old people did, and that was a major dividing line between middle-aged and elderly. Well, I can do the math well enough to know that unless a life-altering windfall comes about, I will never be able to afford to retire. Which means I have another solid 40+ years of working left, or however long it will be until I die. The fact that there won’t be that major dividing line between middle-age and elderly makes me uneasy. And that is probably why I feel like I’m already on the downslope, even at the tender age of 35.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. Kylopod says:

    @Ben:

    But the dividing lines are amorphous and there is significant overlap at the edges.

    Indeed. Take Nirvana. They’re often considered a Gen-X phenomenon, yet I know many millennials who clearly remember them, and Cobain’s suicide, and who identify the music as “theirs.” And when we get into the whole question of whether people like you and me constitute Gen-X, it gets even cloudier.

    My early 20s seem a distant memory at this point, and I feel at least 10 years older than I am.

    I think of 30s as the adolescence of young adulthood. Just like a teen is not exactly a kid and not exactly a grownup, when you’re in your 30s you’re not exactly “young” anymore, and not exactly middle-aged either. Also, the way you’re perceived often has a lot to do with how you look. Like many 30-somethings I’m fairly young looking (despite a rapidly receding hairline), so I still get called “young man” a lot and I was even carded once last year in a liquor store, at age 36. (I was wearing a baseball cap, but still….) But it’s disconcerting to see so many people my age or even a little younger who look distinctly middle-aged. When I was watching the movie Fargo a couple of years ago, it came as a shock to realize that John Carrol Lynch, playing Marge’s husband, was only 32 when he did the film. He looks about 50.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ron Beasley: You have my sympathies. I had to take care of my Alzheimered father for 3 of the last 4 months of my mother’s life. I had 4 brother’s and sisters to help and still I felt very alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. Grewgills says:

    I’ve never kept particularly good track of my age or when my birthdays hit since I turned 21 more than a few years ago. I figure what I lack in youth I make up for in immaturity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @Ben: Ben, my current experience tells me that you’re in, or near, your prime. I work with a cohort of people your age (+/- 3 years) and they are sharp and on the rise. You’re not on the downside at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Ben says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Ben, my current experience tells me that you’re in, or near, your prime. I work with a cohort of people your age (+/- 3 years) and they are sharp and on the rise. You’re not on the downside at all.

    Perhaps. All I said is that it felt like I was on the downslope, because all I can see in front of me is another 45 or so years of working until death, which can certainly feel like gazing into the abyss. And I know that there’s no carrot of retirement dangling there for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Stonetools:
    Hair loss is the best part. I was liberated the day I decided to follow in the footsteps of Saint Bruce of Willis and shave it off. As Blue Oyster Cult should have sung: Don’t fear the razor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. Ron Beasley says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Alone is the word to describe it. I had a brother and sister but they were over 2,000 miles away. I did have support from some wonderful neighbors but I still felt alone and isolated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Ron Beasley: The perception of being alone does play a major part in it. My mother-in-law lived in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities for the last five years of her life. My wife is an only child and we got minimal help from my family in dealing with any crises. When my mother had a stroke and started her six-and-a-half slide into death, my ability to sympathize with what my sister was going through was limited. I did visit Mom often, but did very little other than that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ron Beasley: One of the 4 lives in MSP. I counted her as among the help I had because whenever I began to feel a little overwhelmed with trying to cover all the bases of taking care of both Pop and Ma, I could always count on Sue to make the time to listen to me. May not have been much, but it helped more than she could know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Eric Florack says:

    to the subject, I offer something I wrote on father’s day a few years ago. Much of it has to do with the recognition of growing older, and so on.
    http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com/2010/06/fathers-day-4/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Well said, Eric.

    They tell me “Happy Father’s Day!” and mean it, and other than “thank you” (and a hug) I find myself unsure how to respond.

    Hits home, as I find myself trying ever harder to just ignore it all. It is hard for me to accept my sons doing something “just for you, Pop”, because I have spent so much of their lives trying to do things for them, to prepare them for the trials a tribulations that will be theirs, and feeling like I never quite measured up. And now, when I know the best thing I can do for them is to stay out of the way, I sometimes feel I am messing even that up.

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  48. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My son is 17. On, like, two occasions recently, he’s just gratuitously offered to help with different tasks. We assume he’s up to something.

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: He is, he is… And no good will come of it.

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  50. Eric Florack says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: thanks.
    As I said in the lead-in, its one of the more personal posts I’ve written over the years. It does fit rather well with James’ topic, I thought.

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  51. I’m still 37, so after this thread, I’m claiming the “only young person reading OTB” title.

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  52. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon: http://youtu.be/xKWYLtJLW5o

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  53. JKB says:

    Here ya go, this’ll put some creak in your old bones.

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  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

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  55. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Kylopod: I’m not sure that it is so much that it is a no-man’s land as it is that because generations are 20 years “wide” (if you will), being born near then end of a generational range will give you experiences that cross over the divide of the two adjacent generations. One of my students who wrote about Generations X and Y a few years ago made observations about the Boomers that are only true of Boomers who had been born late in the generation. And some of the features of the 60s–which actually started in about 1965 or 66–involve the oldest of the baby boomers and the youngest of the “silent” generation (into which James parents were born at the tail end). Interesting stuff. And, as you note, it shows that generations are not so monolithic as we might like to believe. According to the US Census, you’re an X-er, even though you don’t think so.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: When I talked about being in a no-man’s land, I wasn’t referring per se to the fuzzy boundaries between one generation category and the next. What I was referring to was the fact that people born in the late ’70s have been excluded, in practice, from most definitions of both Gen-X and Gen-Y. It isn’t an intentional practice but something that’s just happened. It’s like we’ve been forgotten. It’s a weird phenomenon, and I don’t think there’s really any equivalent at the Boomer/Gen-X boundary; if anything, the problem there is too much overlap. A person born in 1965 will be claimed by both Boomers and Gen-Xers, whereas a person born in 1977 (like me) is usually claimed by no one.

    There isn’t one consistent definition of Gen-X, and I’m aware there are examples that encompass the late ’70s and even occasionally the early ’80s. But ever since I began hearing the term, in practice it nearly always referred to people older than me.

    Likewise, Gen-Y or millennials almost always starts in 1980 or later. It’s a neat dividing line, partly because it literally was the start of a decade, and also because it coincided with events that came to be seen as decade-defining (the election of Ronald Reagan, the birth of MTV, among other things).

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  57. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Born: 1960
    Generation identity: “Tweener”

    That would be those of us at the far end of the baby boom, but before Gen X kicked in.

    (So you are not alone in your generational dysplasia, you folks between Gen X and Gen Y)

    While Baby Boomers often crow about accomplishments, Tweeners see it from the end of the figurative parade: The crowd is leaving, the speeches are long over, the streets are filled with used confetti and trash, and the next parade wont be for a LONG time.

    Oh, and YOU, my fellow Tweeners, are the ones that get to clean up the mess.

    Good times, eh?

    I grew up when baby boomers decided to get cheap and cut all the taxes that made their life better.

    Since their statistical bulge was ending, schools were always closing, budgets were always cut, and jobs were hard(er) to find.

    Factories shut down, and unions were vilified in the pursuit of spending LESS of their money (no matter the cost in quality of life for those at the lower end of the economic scale).

    Their pursuit of a better life left the urban cores of their parents abandoned.

    Their useless momentary wants created monstrous landfills that will be problems for future generations.

    On the other hand, their selfish self-centered pursuit of never ending youth has made them the guinea pig for my and future generations. They submit to the scalpel readily, and have resulted in great improvements in replacement parts (knees, hips, etc).

    I’ll look forward to that… when I’m “old”.

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  58. ernieyeball says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Their useless momentary wants created monstrous landfills that will be problems for future generations.

    You poor sap!
    What were you expecting? Utopia?
    Go live with the Amish and quit whining!

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  59. rodney dill says:

    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.

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  60. Eric Florack says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: someones got issues.

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  61. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Eric Florack:

    someones got issues.

    Nope. Just a realist.

    It’s what has allowed this immigrant’s kid to be a success. (hence my moniker)

    When you look at the world as it is (and not with preconceptions) you can do very well.

    @ernieyeball:

    What were you expecting? Utopia?

    Well… actually: yes!

    And why shouldn’t we all?

    We all create our own reality. Our choices are what surrounds us.

    The boomers were selling the idea of changing the world in the 60’s, and instead they elected Nixon. They then followed that up with a period of corporate greed, and now we have massive income inequity.

    Go figure. Saps.

    Instead of the Amish, I chose Brazil during the US economic downturn. WAY more fun!

    Now, back in the USA, I’ve left the rust belt, moved to the west, and snowboard as much as I can.

    I wish you luck in finding your Utopia.

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  62. ernieyeball says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I chose Brazil during the US economic downturn. WAY more fun! Now, back in the USA, I’ve left the rust belt, moved to the west, and snowboard as much as I can.

    Well Boo Hoo Hoo. I see it now. The country was so screwed up by the time you were born a guy just can’t have a good time any more. I weep for you.

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  63. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @ernieyeball:

    The country was so screwed up by the time you were born a guy just can’t have a good time any more. I weep for you.

    Ernie… I have to admit, given a choice, I would be an Eisenhower Republican. In a heartbeat.

    Now, if Eisenhower ran today, he would not even be a RINO. Hell, he would be to the left of Obama.

    But yes, growing up when I did, I saw that the baby boomers decided that money was more important than country or culture. ( Hell, you were just bragging that you have no more real estate taxes to pay… as if that is something good. It just shifts the burden to someone else to pay for all that is surrounding you.)

    Corporations abandoned the people of the USA. Once established that corporations did not value people, I chose a path independent of them.

    But cry no tears for me, old timer.

    While I was employed in Brazil by an US company, I paid both Brazilian and US taxes.

    And, today I gladly pay my federal taxes, knowing that in doing so, I will end up paying to take care of old coots like you.

    And, I’m good with that.

    I have to be. Like I said, it’s part of being at the end of that huge statistical bulge.

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  64. Eric Florack says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: To say the least, Im unconvinced.
    So many people are ready be blame conservatives for Nixon. Trouble was, he wasnt conservative. he was a liberal. (who else but a big government liberl could come up with big government wage and price controls? Who else but a liberal could embrace Communist China? Lots of other examples but you get the picture.

    Irony was, his big government was still smaller and less damaging than Johnson. so, GOP rank and helped elect him (see what compromise of principle gets ya?)

    and corporations? forced out of the people business by unions, who placed the people in a role advasarial to corporations. (what the hell did they expect?)

    The country has been tiled left for decades. as Reagan said… “I didnt leave the Democrtas… they left ME”. (what do you think ‘progressive’ means, anyway?)

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  65. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: You’re observation/closet accusation (you pick, I don’t care which) of someone else as having issues is too ironic for words.

    BTW: The article you linked to is what I was talking about when I noted in the past that you were a more thoughtful, better thinker and writer than you are now. That was the guy you need to find and get more in touch with spiritually. Right now, you’re mostly a waste of bandwidth.

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