Baby boomers are a diverse lot. I know people in their late 60s that are fit, fun and full of life. I also know people in their early 50s who are unhappy, cynical and close-minded.
In terms of interests, our generation is diverse. Of course, we do share a common history and certain generational traits, but, for the most part, we like to think of ourselves as individuals and we have a tendency to reject labels.
So, what do you call people over 60? “Older people?” “People over 60?” “Boomers?” Most of us definitely don’t think of ourselves as “Seniors”, “Elders” or “Senior Citizens”.
I finally settled on a name based on our generational title of “Boomers” because I felt that it best represented our shared experienced without some of the baggage that comes with other age-based labels. It captures everything that is positive about our generation – how we feel and how we want to be seen – while leaving any negative associations in the dust.
At the same time, as I thought about what to call us, I came across some interesting perceptions about baby boomers that I wanted to share with you here. To make a long story short, the world has pretty mixed feelings about us. In fact, that’s probably a bit kind. Judging by what people search for, most people have a pretty negative opinion of us. Let me give you a few examples. Then, I’d love to get your opinion on this.
If you type in “baby boomers are” into Google and wait for the service’s auto-complete feature to kick in, you get a pretty good idea of what people think about us. If Google is to be trusted, we are “the worst generation,” “selfish,” and “narcissistic.” Ouch!
Personally, I think that these characterizations are pretty unfair. After all, baby boomers have done plenty of good in the world too. We fought against perceived injustices, supported minority and women’s rights and participated in one of the longest periods of economic prosperity in the history of the world.
Are we perfect? Of course not. But, neither are we the selfish jerks that many people want to label us. Well, most of us aren’t, anyway.
Just to be clear on one point, I don’t think that dropping the name “baby boomers” would help our generation to avoid criticism or critique. For better or for worse, our generation’s decisions are ours to own. That said, I’m curious what you think about our generation. Are you proud to be a baby boomer? Or do you perhaps cringe a little when you think of the people that you grew up with?
Please take a few minutes to join the conversation at the end of this article.
What do you think are the defining characteristics of our generation? Do you agree or disagree with the criticisms that are often pointed at baby boomers – such as that we are “selfish,” and “narcissistic?” Why or why not? Please join the discussion.
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