New Zealand Woman’s Weekly




When I was young and busy growing up, I don’t recall anyone ever calling me a baby boomer. I remember being called a teenager for a while, but there was a lot of excitement about teenagers at the time as they’d only recently been invented.

Now, though, it’s quite the fashion to put a label on every generation that comes along, and then try to attach trademark desires and fears to them as if we’re a series of tribes who all think the same.

But there’s no point in me protesting about this, though I might want to. I was born between 1946 and 1964, which makes me guilty of being a baby boomer and am I ever in trouble. Apparently, we baby boomers are the generation of self-centred greedies who wrecked everything.

I’ve been doing a bit of research about us and some of it is hard to take. People – most of them undoubtedl­y younger – are saying we ruined the housing market, the economy, the environmen­t, the future. We even ruined Facebook when we took it up so enthusiast­ically and started spying on our kids.

Though there was a time when it seemed we were the lucky generation. Unlike the generation before us, the one now labelled “the silent generation”, we hadn’t been treated roughly by history, plunged into a world war or suffered much at all.

We were a bit spoilt, in fact. We had so much time on our hands that we helped invent rock ‘n’ roll and the drug culture, and we were wilder and more rebellious than any generation in ages

– maybe since the

Middle Ages. But now that we are in our own middle-ages and beyond, mostly beyond, it’s a different story and it’s not filled with glory.

And even if we awful baby boomers are forgiven our very many sins, we’re going to break the bank anyway, given that we’ll be requiring more health care than any previous generation. Though, of course, we’ll probably be working right up to the point we need that health care because we baby boomers aren’t as retiring as our parents were.

All I can do, as one of the guilty generation, is try to be a better sort of baby boomer, I suppose, the sort of older head that nods happily at all the good that’s happening in a world that might seem all bad if you listened to the news.

So, for instance, as a father of five girls, I couldn’t be happier about the new rise of woman power across the world, though sometimes I wonder how long it’s going to take before things will really change. I picked up a newspaper to see picture of 11 world trade ministers linking arms and smiling for the cameras after signing some wonderful new trade deal. They were all men, one of them ours. Not a single sensible female mind present, good grief.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed and shuddered at their blindness. Which is a start. Not much of one, but certainly the long overdue beginning of a new way of seeing things. Yahoo.

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