Surprise! A Disillusioned Generation Copes

As a Baby Boomer, I had great expectations for the life I thought I’d be living as I aged. Isn’t that part of the definition of being a Baby Boomer?  Didn’t we grow up with a sense of entitlement that the trajectory would always upward? Without question, didn’t we expect prosperity would expand to include those living without, that longevity would continue to increase, and that our sense of equality for all would be the defining characteristic of our generation? Nothing would happen to threaten or alter that trajectory.

Well, what can I say? Life has been good, however, the lack of the continuing upward trajectory is not how I imagined things would be.

I’m not boohooing and asking for sympathy. I’m speaking out loud the thoughts going through many senior citizens’ heads about what went wrong or what didn’t happen to create the chaos we’re living in now. And perhaps it’s our faults that we’re here living in a divisive world. But it does no good to blame a complex set of problems on one thing.

At the same time …

I’m grateful for my health (and healthcare), that I am safe in my home, and that I am fortunately blessed with sufficient resources, friends, and opportunities. We Boomers are such a large group, and I was positive the size of our group would amplify our voices to guarantee the continuation of all that we planned for during the last years of our lives.

I prepared for a life where our ‘silver’ voices would be more highly regarded, where we’d be more involved in problem solving in the present and planning for the future. It’d be smooth sailing for our twilight years where the majority of us worked in whatever capacity we could to tackle problems of climate change, homelessness, and world peace. The question of a strong, ongoing democracy never occurred to me.

Boy, on what planet did I think I was living? Things have turned out quite differently than anticipated and definitely not how I thought things would be in spite of what we anticipated.

I didn’t think it’d be this bad.

Okay, so now what?

Languishing in the past will not positively alter any outcome. So, first off, we elders need to quit complaining and move on. How can we move on when there is so much beyond our control that seems to negatively impact our lives, both physically and emotionally?

The answer is, we don’t. We move on by solidifying what we can control and by hanging out there in a space of nurturance and compassion, for ourselves and others.

The things we can control include spending quality time with those we care about, pursuing meaningful goals, being physically active, and expressing kindness and gratitude regularly. And we let go of the rest or at least we don’t dwell on the negative aspects beyond our control.

It’s as easy as that. Yes, it IS easy when you’re motivated to do a little work and when you stay committed to making the most of any situation … positively and with grace and with gratitude.

Baby boomers have historically turned any disillusionment into a problem to be solved. We can make the most of any situation and thrive. Let’s focus on what we can do for our families and friends and for ourselves.