Why I Like Being A Boomer

Posted on September 17, 2010



I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is two years older than me.  At some point in the conversation, she said “I know that technically I’m not a Boomer, having been born one year before the era of Boomerdom began.  But I still consider myself one.”  I understand this.  I’m happy I squeaked into the category (Thanks, Mildred and Ben), for the same reason I’m happy I was in the graduating class of 1969.  When people hear that, they automatically assume: I went to Woodstock, did drugs, practiced free love, and knew Bob Dylan in an intimate sense. I’ve tried to explain that I didn’t do any of that, but I did go to the Atlantic City Pop Festival (which preceded Woodstock and had most of the same artists), sleep at Vinnie Leary’s (the Fugs) apartment in the Village, go to sit ins, and wear a black armband to graduation.  They are only partly appeased.  Now I just smile and say, “Yeah, those were the days, all right.”

It’s like that with being a Boomer.  Especially for us older Boomers, we were sort of on the edge of the new era, when the world went overnight from women wearing hats and little white gloves to wearing granny dresses and Buffalo sandals.  Baking went from brownies to brownies with benefits, and so did male-female relationships.  When I was a college freshman, all women had to live in the dorms for four years.  Not only was there a curfew, but women who came into the dorm even a minute late got grounded for the next few weekends.  By the time I was a senior, we had to move out of the dorm and get our own apartments. The era of “in loco parentis” went the way of afternoon tea socials.

Now, the media presents us as somehow immune to the march of time: We run marathons, ride our bicycles, and climb up or ski down mountains.  I’ve read articles that call us unstoppable.  I like that, especially since I’ve never run a marathon and never will, I haven’t ridden a bike since I was in elementary school, and I would only climb a mountain if a hot sherpa agreed to carry me up there. 

I’m just lucky that others have done these things for me.  My friend Susan did go to Woodstock, get naked, and  (I better stop here).  My friend Anne is a world class biathlete and competes in triathlons as well.  She is scheduled to represent the United States at the 2010 ITU Duathlon World Championships on Sept. 3-5 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Don’t ask me what a duathlon is.  I’m sure it’s scary, and I’m happy Anne is doing it and not me.  Other friends are running marathons (or rather, half-marathons) and going straight up mountains on bicycles.  I can cheer them on.  From a distance.  And I can take pride in what they do, right?  After all, we are all Boomers.