Greatest Generation  1911 to 1924
Silent Generation  1925 to 1942
Baby Boomers   1946 to 1964
Generation Jones   1954 to 1965
Generation X   1965 to 1977
Generation Y 1978 to 1997
The Baby Boomer generation is absent in my immediate family. I had never really thought much about Baby Boomers or had a bone to pick with an entire generation of people until another local blogger accused the generations that followed the Boomers of being ungrateful. Just what does my generation, and the subsequent generations, have to be thankful for? Dylan? And?
I was not even on the planet when Kennedy was shot. I do, however, remember Man landing on the Moon. My generation came home to latch-keys, TV dinners and sitcoms featuring Mork and Mindy. We also had the "unrequited craving of unfulfilled expectations," and were left to deal with:
1. Abortion and birth control
2. The questionable implementation of Vatican II, including wreckovation of churches
3. Society of victims
4. Drugs prevalent in all aspects of culture
5. Feminism and the emasculation of men
6. Vanity, ageing is to be avoided at all costs
7. Schools that bend to pop culture, pop psychology, sensitivity, and sex ed
8. Sexual revolution
9. Decay of the family structure and the morals of the country
10. Cafeteria or Library Catholicism
I'll try not to blame all the ills of society on the Boomers, so will stop at 10.
Dealing with what came before
The Boomer generation brought us affluence, excess and self-indulgence. Prospering off of the sacrifices and successes of their parents, they forged a new path and didn't stop to look back. In my extended family, it was the first generation to divorce and leave the Church. The nostalgic notion of the Boomer generation being "the generation that would clean up our cities, end racial inequality, and find the cure for the common cold" has been found to be lacking. A CNN article comments:
"Some of us were old enough to participate in the money rush in the '80s," he admits. "But for the most part, Generation Jones came of age watching the slow, hypocritical sellout of the lovefest of the '60s -- it turned into the money grab of the '80s."
"They swore they would never sell out. They gave in, they gave up and joined the establishment."
The idea that my generation, or more specifically, women of my generation, owe something to the Boomer generation is absurd. I worked in a strongly male dominated field, and doors to this field may have been opened by Boomers, but that door opened a Pandora's box. My generation followed in the footsteps of women like Gloria Steinem, who fed us a good line, but didn't deliver on the idea that "you can have it all." We were led down a path and then left there to find our way out of the woods. The second bite of the apple didn't taste any better than the first.
The bottom line
Despite spending this post criticizing the Baby Boomers, I think the whole pointing-fingers thing is a waste of time (I never claimed my generation made sense or wasn't conflicted!). I might not be overtly grateful to the Boomer generation, but I don't have disdain for them either. All of us are called to deal with the hand we are dealt. Life isn't fair (refer to the above list, item #3), but life is good. Stop yer whinin' and get on with it.
People try to put us d-down (talkin bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin bout my generation)