“Hope I die before I get old” — lyric, “My Generation” by Pete Townshend
In 1965, the Who recorded their breakout hit “My Generation,” bemoaning the misunderstanding of their parents and others. The song hit the charts a year after the last of the baby boom generation infants were born.
Half a century later, the “boomers” as they are known, continue to impact the economy as they join the ranks of the retired. A looming shortage of workers for decades to come is arriving as 10,000 boomers retire each and every day.
The anti-war cries of “hell no, we won’t go” are sounding now. Five decades after they protested many things, boomers are protesting going quietly into old age.
Full disclosure: born in 1961, I am a boomer. You can say that we revolutionized many things, you may say that we ruined everything – the truth is probably somewhere in between.
I read a recent op-ed piece that said the new brewing political battle that will divide the nation is not liberal versus conservative, rather it is generational with the boomers versus the millennials. I can see this as the large drain my generation begins to make on social programs and medical facilities hits home. Millennials see the status and wealth their parents have achieved and fear they won’t be able to do the same.
But from a boomer perspective, this is nothing new. While boomers were earning and being taxed for Medicare and Social Security, members of the Greatest Generation, our parents, were receiving benefits and the federal government used our payroll deductions to fund deficit spending.
Like we have at nearly every turn in our lives, we spoiled boomers want what is coming to us, and we don’t care who pays the bill.
In an equally maddening move to the folks born after 1964, many boomers can’t or won’t retire. Advances in medicine and aging have extended lifespans and people can work longer.
Recently, I’ve noticed some famous boomers, mostly recording artists, are hanging it up.
Paul Simon, born in 1941 (technically not a boomer) has retired from touring. Elton John, born in 1947 (yup, a boomer) is on a two year “farewell” tour. Bob Seger, born in 1945, is on his farewell tour as well. The rock band KISS, led by Paul Stanley, born in 1952, and Gene Simmons, born in 1949, are on their final tour as well.
I read “final” with more than a little cynicism. I understand why KISS might be hanging it up, their shows must be extremely physically taxing, but I suspect that if the right opportunity comes up next year, the face paint will be going on for as many shows as they can get paid to perform.
I saw James Taylor, born in 1948, last summer on tour. He seems to be out on the road nearly every summer. Other boomers continue to record and perform.
Again, as a boomer, I feel that the music of the 1970s is the best that has been recorded (except for most of the disco) and the reason these songs continue to be played time and again is because no one has done better.
But, this could just be the ramblings of a soon to be old man.
One thing I do know for sure — I wouldn’t bet against my generation.
As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at email@example.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.
Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.