Social scientists now divide the Boomer generation into two distinct groups, Boomer I and Boomer II. I’m a Boomer II. Raised in an era of benign neglect, we were tossed out the door every day after breakfast. “It’s too nice of a day to stay indoors!” was the universal battle cry of our overwhelmed mothers. The actual weather was of no consequence. We were five. We could take it. Sans sunscreen.
We had hours and hours of unstructured time and little adult supervision. We made up games that involved throwing sharp objects at each other, wandered freely in the woods, built tree houses on other people’s land, played with matches, stole apples and other produce, fell out of trees, and beat each other up. It’s a wonder most of us made it to the 70’s.
In the 70’s, we watched Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. For the first time, it dawned on us that we had missed out on something, namely the fifties and early sixties, setting off a life long cycle in which we always felt left out of the cool stuff the older Boomers got to do, and too old for the trends of Generation X.
In the 80’s we embraced Yuppism. Even if we denounced it because we didn’t earn enough to be true Yuppies, we secretly aspired to it. We bought a lot of crap. If we didn’t know what we needed, we watched the neighbors. If they bought a lawn jockey, we bought a bigger one in a better color. Just because. Eventually, marketing companies got better organized and told us what to buy which made everything so much easier.
In the 90’s we had a couple kids and took turns entertaining each other in our homes. We became really obnoxious and competitive about food. Martha Stewart reigned as supreme queen of the early foodie generation but ultimately Martha was just a stockbroker with a lot of energy and a creative streak. The search began for a new Foodie leader. We began to worship at the alter of the Celebrity Chef. We made reservations two years in advance just to experience the food stylings of our favorite culinary gods. We planned vacations to Napa. We bought Anthony Bourdain’s books. We bought a different whip for different size eggs and a special grapefruit knife and individual souffle dishes. We renovated our kitchens and bought copper pots. At every opportunity, we used words like, mouthfeel, crumb, texture, artisinal, and crunch to display our superior culinary knowledge. We also began to get fat, so we took up running and aerobics.
We limped into the new millennium with bad knees and high cholesterol. Our doctors suggested we find a lower impact sport and start eating better. Then 9/11 happened and we closed the doors on the world. We took up nesting. Some of us moved to Vermont. We discovered cycling, kayaking and yoga, opened our chakras, and embraced the world once again. We sometimes referred fondly to our hippy days even though we never had any hippy days because we were like six when Woodstock took place. We decided to be modern day hippies. We started growing shit in our backyards and shopping at farmers markets on the weekend. We wore 100% cotton clothing and ethnic jewelry. We dabbled in essential oils. Somewhere along the journey we might have acquired a meaningful tattoo (is there any other kind?) in an inconspicuous area.
And now, in our fifties and approaching sixty, we’re in a hurry to experience as much as we can because we’re going to die sooner rather than later. We write out our bucket lists. We strive to remain as fearless as our five year old selves back in the days after Buddy Holly and before Michael Jackson.
At least we had Journey.
|Don’t stop believin’|