Baby Boomers are old

Just the other day I was on twitter, and I think I was reading some political thing, and all of a sudden I came across some snarky attitude with the statement “OK Boomer” which wasn’t done as a compliment. It was meant to point out that we are the “older” generation and, we are possibly (the implication was most probably) one step behind what is perceived of as the next generation, (other wise known as TNG). It felt dismissive, and probably was meant to be.

“OK, boomer”

It kind of bothered me for a minute, and then I got to thinking about how we processed the “silent generation” that came before us. Perhaps it is just one of the ways this “circle of life” evolves. One generation has to dismiss the other to validate their vision of the world. This is what I found on Google under the query: What does “OK, boomer” mean?

OK boomer is a viral internet slang phrase used, often in a humorous or ironic

manner, to call out or dismiss out-of-touch or close-minded opinions

associated with the baby boomer generation and older people more

generally.

Nov 4, 2019

How to deal with being old, or the fear of getting old?

For a minute, I was not happy thinking I am part of the generation being held accountable for everything that hasn’t worked out. Yes, we were idealistic, and naively so. We looked around, and said, “What a mess we have been left with”: war, famine, pollution, possible nuclear bombs, not enough love for each other, too much concern with material wealth, not enough care for each other, police who are disrespectful of our values, gender stereotypes, and the list went on and on.

It was so frustrating at the time, being young, and feeling like we got this hopelessly shit deal; we were told to cut our hair, clean up, stop being unrealistic, settle down, accept things the way they are, and so many other unresolvable attitudes we didn’t identify as being representative of our generation. It felt like we could see the problems, but no one was paying attention.

It was more of the same old war mongering, or just get in the line, and follow the person in front of you. We basically just wanted to listen to music, get high, and have a good time. Why do we have all these problems that have to be dealt with; and why didn’t someone do something about this mess before we got here? Becoming an adult meant freedom, and independence from the older generation and their expectations. I imagine each generation goes through something like this in retrospect.

Also, each generation probably thinks they are the first ones to see what needs to be done, and how to do it. We need to celebrate the desire to improve on the past; the need for the next generation to make a bigger impact than the last. How much does fear of getting old have to do with where one is in his or her life, or how they dismiss the generation before them, or the generation after them?  Some people call it ageism; I call it life. Life trying to improve, trying to adapt and survive.

It seems like part of the generation equation revolves around making sure we distance ourselves from the last generation. Seems to me, acceptance for what has been, or what will be is inevitable. We learned from the “silent” generation that we were too open, too self-involved, too much into having fun, whatever we were doing, it was too much of something. So all this snarkiness now about getting old and being out of touch, seems to be something reserved for the young, or at the very least those who do not self identify as “old”.

It is like they (everyone after the boomers) think they invented distance from the generation before them all by themselves! Pretty Laughable. Really, when I got to thinking about it the whole “ok, boomer” thing is pretty funny.  I am pretty sure we made fun of the generation before us… we just didn’t know what to call them. “Flat top, buzz cut, wet heads, pigs, establishment” are some of the names that come to mind. Those of us who are now part of this “OK, boomers” derogatory remarks see things in a way it is impossible for someone younger to see. Maybe that is the mystery of “getting old” or “being young”.  The thing is, we of the “ok, boomers” generation understand what it was to be young, but do the young ones “get” what it is to be “old”?

Until you experience getting old, is it possible to understand it?

When you are young, getting old is the furthest thing from your mind, and we were all young once. I think the mystery of getting old is to stay young mentally. To embrace change, and to value the new things, whatever they are, as they come along. I remember when computers first came around, lots of people were just too afraid to even try. It’s hard to imagine life without a computer at this point. I am, and will always be grateful for my typewriting classes in high school.

One things that has helped me to put the whole “OK, boomer” thing in perspective, is having a child at the ripe old age of forty (40). Yes, he is one of those in the generation after the X generation. In fact, I have one in each generation, and believe me kids make you younger. Right, well 40 isn’t really awful old then, it is “middling” or something in between young and old.

My first child was born when I wasn’t yet twenty (20), and I was basically a child myself. Having a child at forty though, you know you better keep up; I think I have for the most part, because I never had time to think about getting old. So, I didn’t really process being old, until the last child hit twenty (20) or maybe twenty-five (25). Now, that the last one is pushing thirty (30.. and the oldest is almost 50) I guess I better accept it; to the rest of the world, I am one of those, “OK, boomers”. That is the reality.

What is the definition of “getting old” or becoming an “OK, boomer” type?

The whole “OK, boomer” thing is so dismissive. I mean it is like saying “you old fart, just go away & die”. Maybe I’ll do a little more research on this whole “OK, boomer” movement thing, and try to figure out if it is political or just meant to “dis” the whole group of boomers. I think I saw a YouTube video on it, will have to go back and do some more research. I know the Ellen show has done several “boomer” vs “millennial” pieces. Sure the boomers made some mistakes, (I guess the problem is we are still making mistakes) yea, we could have done more; however, though when you look at the totality of what has occurred in the last 50 years, boomers just might have added a few years to this world. At the very least, we have moved somethings: women have more opportunities, gender fluidity is accepted, and no one smokes in the workplace now…there are many things we take for granted which my boom generation impacted. There have been so many changes that have happened over the last 50 or 60 years it is hard to go back and even imagine how life was without the things we have now. It wasn’t better then, it was different.

So what are the characteristics or the definition of a “boomer”?

Who are they, where are they, how do they define their generation? What are the facts about boomers, beyond the dismissive attitude from the next two generations? Are they really so passe, so yesterday news that they have no value to add to the conversation? I went out on to the web to look and see what else there was about “boomer” generation. I found several interesting websites. Statistically, we are supposedly the largest group, the wealthiest (yeah..sure) and have the most going for us. Oh and there are a lot of us. The time frame is from 1946 to 1964 (when I guess we got birth control, but abortion wasn’t legal until 1972), so go figure. Not everyone agrees in any generation. The boomers have had a division for a long time between the conservatives and the progressives. I think the political tone now is indicative of this divisiveness.

All the “boomers” will be over 65 by 2030

Seems to me like the “boomers” born in the 60s are completely different from the ones born in the 50s. Yet we are all lumped together. I’ve been rambling so much here I have to scroll back up to the top to see what my point is, or was.

Oh, right, “OK, boomer” means all of you people born before 1965 are too old to understand how things work today.

Perhaps. I’ll be doing some more research on this topic, and try to discover where we got lost, and how can we find our way back, or show we still understand today’s world, and how to get make becoming “old” with some finesse and grace meaningful.

Being old doesn’t mean life is over just because some younger generation issues a dismissive taunt like “OK, boomer”. Discrimination that goes with becoming the “older generation” just means we need to work a little harder to keep up, and understand how the world is communicating and interacting with us now. typically, getting older has always had something stigmatizing about it. I took offense at first, then I laughed, then I reflected and now I am looking for the bridges. Getting old means making peace with our fears, and learning how to make time spent on our lives work successfully for us regardless of our age.

Embracing being “old” means giving up the fear of being “too old”; stepping out fearlessly into the unknown, and showing the true courageousness of a lot of time spent on Earth, and hopefully all the resulting wisdom. “OK, Boomer” could become our anthem, our battle cry into the beauty, and mystery of aging. Or we could use it to laugh at ourselves. Either way, it’s time to stop the division, and work together.

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