A GENERATION SEES ITSELF: IS IT PRETTY?

The Baby Boom generation is getting older –at or approaching retirement age, but not necessarily in retirement.
P.J. O’Rourke, author of “The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way … And It Wasn’t My Fault … And I’ll Never Do It Again,” laments that the Baby Boomers own the world. When they look back on their lives, how do they see themt? Now, what’s next?
Yes, as O’Rourke, whose book was adapted in an essay in the Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2013, weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal, points out the great sense of self that came from the Boomers. After all, they were called the “Me Generation.” Perhaps it was because they lived in the pent-up restrictions of their parents, “The Greatest Generation.” In their parents’ time, institutions, traditions and rules formed barriers for life. The parents had no problem with the barriers. In fact, they took comfort in them.
The kids, however, did not necessarily just want to be part of a church, school, organization or even family. They wanted to be them. Often, they didn’t know who THEY were. They had to “find themselves.” Most did, in one way or another.
If Baby Boomers take O’Rourke’s advice and behold what they have wrought, and lament, how will they make the world a better place? You see, making the world a better place starts with optimism. It also starts with, well, self. Michael Jackson sang about “The Man in the Mirror.” They can’t make the world a better place if they don’t make themselves better. Sometimes, the greatest thing about the past is that it’s gone. The best thing about the future is that it isn’t here yet, and people can start fresh to build it. The best thing about the present is that people can rethink, retool, if needed, and remodel.
Author Andy Andrews has written and often talks about “The Greatest Generation,” and how that generation’s parents made them what they are. That makes the parents of The Greatest Generation even greater. As Andrews says, it’s not about raising good kids. It’s about raising kids to become good adults.
The children of Baby Boomers live in a completely different world from their parents’ and grandparents’. Technology and innovation creates rapid change. Unlike the Baby Boomers, the children have to rethink, retool and remodel every five minutes or so. Living the 40-40-40 life of their parents and grandparents (work 40 hours a week for 40 years, and retire on 40 percent of what you couldn’t live on to begin with) is all but gone.
They have to have a Plan B, or perhaps even a Plan C or D, to deal with the rapidity of change. The slowness of change in previous generations allowed for them to be what they have become.
So, no matter what generation you’re in, rethink, retool and remodel as often as necessary. But, always do it with an eye on your dream. Despite what you may read or see, there is lots of good out there. Things happen for a reason, and you may not see the reason right away. You just have to deal positively with what happens to you.
Are you rethinking yet? Are you looking for options to get you closer to your dream? For inspiration, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You just may find a story you can relate to, and a better way to get closer to your dream.
Baby Boomers, don’t despair. You may own the world as it is, but you don’t necessarily have to keep it the way it is. Start thinking what could be, even if you’ve never given it much thought before. Don’t fret so much about what you’ve done. Put more energy in what you can do from now on.
Like your forebears , raise children – and grandchildren – to become good adults. Make yourself – yes, have that sense of self again – a shining example for your heirs and descendants. You can do this!
Here’s a tip: as you rethink your new self, use the word “give” more often than “take.”
Peter

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