Calling all Boomers...but what should we be called
By Will Randolph
Labeling the boomers
Beebees, Boomerangs, Contented citizens,Elderbooms, Encore generation,Geriactivists, Keenagers, Midcenturions, People of experience, Primers,Seasoned citizens,
These are just a few of the names proposed for us Baby Boomers, by Jack Rosenthal, who surveyed many adults born between 1946 and 1964, the so called Baby Boomers. Many Boomers aren't ready to be called old, or accept that they have now become their parent's generation, and so they do not want to be associated with anything "antique.". This maybe due in part to our tough experience in declaring our independence from older than us generations of our parents, years ago. It might also be that our culture is so different from other Older Adults, that we Boomers, cry out to not be stereotyped with other oldsters through words like Old, Mature, Elder, Senior.
If you were to ask the average Baby Boomer how Old is Old, their answer probably would be: "10 years older than me." For Boomers who have just retired this means they have about 8-10 years to go before they consider themselves Old! Unless of course, our generation gets over this reaction, will we still consider someone ten years older than us to be old and not ourselves when we reach 90? If on the other hand, you asked the average teen or tween (their grandchildren and yes a few children), how old was Old, you would get an entirely different answer. The younger kids would say Old is around 48, which is younger than a Boomer of course. It all depends upon perspective what is an Older Adult or Senior. At some point Baby Boomers will discover that it is o.k. to be old and that it comes with blessings besides a "Senior AARP Discount."
What is wrong with being Old? For most of us Boomers the answer to this is: everything. This is because our culture and society has put a premium upon Youth--looking, acting, being young (even if artificially cultivated via plastic surgery). It is also because of our reluctance to be cast to the side, not taken seriously, or looked upon in the ways that Older Adults are often viewed, today.
Well Boomers should be reluctant to give in to this. Most Boomers are not like their older peers. They are not frail, many are not yet retired, and most live active lives. For some Boomers it is the happiest time on earth for them. If I had to pick a nickname to give Boomers it would probably reflect this satisfaction in life that I see and I would give "The Joyful or Joyous Age to them. Of the names that Jack Rosenthal, compiled I like Primers and Keenagers a lot too. But since this group represents a wave or spike in the demographics, what I really like the image of Surfers, so I would call them Surfers. Many of my Older Baby Boomer friends or colleagues came of age in the 1960's at the time of the Beach Boys, Beach Music, and Surfer movies. Whether a person listened to this music, took part in surfing as a sport or not, and even like the surfer movies (I don't) it is an image, that portrays the venturesomeness of this Generation. Surfers do try to grab as much of everything we can. Grabbing all we can in life before we have to give in and admit that we are old, is very important to us. Then I am sure that experiencing as much as we can of being old will then become the norm, and we will not only acknowledge we are old, but do so with pride and gusto.