Definition of Baby Boomer: person born between 1946 and 1964.

I’m a Baby Boomer and part of the Pepsi Generation and some days I feel really old. It seems like everyone is either around my age or quite a bit younger. I am now a full-fledged, card carrying AARP member. I have to face it, it is now official, and I am old.

I was born in 1954 so I am in the middle range of the Pepsi Generation. We grew up watching Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver which showed idealized family settings. I know my house and family wasn’t like that and man, was I disappointed.

As a child, we didn’t have the technology that kids have today so no computers, Xbox, PS3 etc. no massive toy selections to choose from. We weren’t couch potatoes either. You went outside when the weather was nice and you got your friends and played all day. As long as you were home by dark, your parents didn’t worry. They didn’t have to. Everyone’s parents watched out for each other’s kids. You didn’t have to worry that your next door neighbor might be a pedophile.

We rode in cars without seat belts and we used to crawl in the back of the station wagon with an opened up sleeping bags and blankets made out into a bed on long trips and would fall asleep and sun burn. We went to the beach and ran around and swam without worrying about the sun or other people.

We made up games; we rode our bikes, skate boarded and roller-skated without helmets. If you fell down, you put a band-aid on and went back outside. If you broke something you went to the hospital and got it fixed but your parents didn’t sue anyone. Not the bike manufacturer or the parents of the kid whose house you were at when you fell off your bike, skateboard, skates etc…

We didn’t need toys, or very many at least. We had imaginations and we used them. We had Barbie dolls but no Dream Houses so we drew them on card board boxes and pretended and that was just fine. We played Jacks for hours and got really good at it. Ladies, do you remember Jacks? For those of you that are too young…Google it. We had Monopoly, Life and Scrabble, what more did we need?

I watched scenes from the Vietnam War and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy and the Watts Riots before going to high school from 1969 – 1973. My high school years were a major growth period with all of these major themes happening especially for those of us growing up in Southern California. We had many adult choices that are common now but were relatively new back then. We were faced with experimentation with various intoxicating recreational substances. I declined, but many of my friends did not and had life-long problems. We also had sexual freedom, the civil rights movement, and the start of the environmental movement.

We also had some of the worst fashions ever. What were we thinking?

hot pant wedding

We started the tech revolution and all of the toys that our children and grandchildren enjoy have come out of the Boomer generation. This has been good and bad. Our next generation of children don’t know what play is. We have to teach them to use their imagination because too many kids let computer games or movies, be their imaginations. It’s sad that too many of our kids today can’t or won’t read a book. The Harry Potter books at least have helped spark an interest for some kids to read, but unfortunately, not enough. According to statistics, students in Finland, Canada, and New Zealand outperformed U.S. students in reading. Hopefully, that can be turned around.

Technology isn’t all bad though, we have made great strides in medical services that have helped save lives. People are having children that wouldn’t have been able to twenty years ago. Limb replacement prosthetics are much more usable than they used to be. The good really does outweigh the bad.

We had our kids and saw the laws changing where you can go to jail for spanking your kid. They call it “child abuse” now and you are supposed to put them in “time out” instead. When I was a kid, I was spanked and I got beat. I know the difference and I think that most people do. Now I will admit that I put my kids in a sort of “time out” but that they were spanked when they needed it. They were sent to their rooms when they acted up or did something wrong. They had privileges revoked, as they got older instead of a spanking. They lived and they still speak to me, hell, they even like me. I think we have taken this “no spanking” rule too far, just watch little kids now a days and see how disrespectful they are to their parents and other adults. They aren’t worried about repercussions. A “time out,” woo, they’re scared and shaking in their shoes…NOT! And the mouth on some of the bigger kids…OMG! You should hear what your kids are saying when you are not around. Hang out at a mall for awhile and pay attention to the kids. It will open your eyes. Seriously, go to the mall on a Saturday and hang out and observe different age groups with and without parents. It will change your attitude really fast.

Anyway, as I said, I feel old. All the upcoming actors are babies! My daughter mentions someone’s name and I think, yeah, he’s cute and then, damn…he’s my son’s age. Shame on me! All of the ones I grew up with are now getting up there or gone, John Wayne, Cary Grant and still sexy Sean Connery. Then I realized it wasn’t all bad. The following are all Baby Boomers, though barely:
• Hank Azaria
• Nicolas Cage
• Russell Crowe
• Guillermo del Toro
• John Leguizamo
• Rob Lowe
• Clive Owen
• Keanu Reeves
• Blair Underwood
They like slightly older women, right? Oh well, at least with them I don’t feel like a child molester.

We Boomers are expected to live longer than our parents did, retire later in life and work longer. We are defining what retirement will be in the future and what “retirement communities” are instead of nursing homes. With seventy-six million of us, we are a force to be reckoned with.