Guillebeau has a 30-year-old’s perspective on all of this, and the paper was written a few years ago, before 2009 blew optimism out of the water. However, there is much to learn from what he wrote.
He suggests that we ask ourselves two questions (I paraphrase), “what do I want out of life?” and “what do I have to contribute?” So I did. It’s a different kind of thing at my age than at his, but an interesting exercise.
My first answers to question one had to do with my children. OK, easy and conventional. Natural enough, given the habit of self-denial all good parents must have, but does it still make sense? I wonder whether at this point, children grown, accomplishments and regrets accumulated, a better question might be “what do I want and do I deserve or need it?” When you’re immortal it makes sense to ask about your entire life; I’m thinking it makes more sense to ask what I want for the next five years. I’m going to think more about all of this, because “have an adventure” can’t possibly be specific enough, and in the meantime I’m moving on to question two.
A year ago I decided to attend the inauguration, my first. In spite of our numbers, our potential, our willingness to tackle difficult problems, we boomers lost our way. The issues of the 1960s and 1970s are still the issues that matter, and we’ve accomplished little. But we did accomplish this: we elected a man of color President. Of course, white boomers had little to do with Mr. Obama’s election, but I like to think that we were there for the parting of the Red Sea if not the walk into the Promised Land. Since then we’ve had to watch our corrupt and dysfunctional Congress accomplish … well, not exactly nothing, because it’s worse than that.
We’re an educated bunch of people, we Boomers, relatively healthy, with resources and a lifetime of skills and experience behind us. What if we mobilized, gave up TV, stopped buying stuff, and focused on solving some problems? I know what makes that difficult for me — choosing one. So I’m going to think some more about this as well.
I thought I’d have some witty, enlightening things to say about all of this. Turns out I didn’t. I considered deleting my post, but that’s cheating, right? Post a comment that IS witty and enlightening.