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Boomer Basics [Secure eReader]
eBook by Robert Abrams & Walter T. Burke & Timothy E. Casserly

eBook Category: General Nonfiction
eBook Description: The term "Baby Boom Generation" has been coined to describe the more than 78 million people born between 1943 and 1964. This generation is the largest and most influential ever seen in one demographic group. Its influences are broad-reaching and far-flung. As this group is aging, it is finding that the time, energy, money, and emotions allocated toward careers, spouses, kids, parents, friends, and themselves is constantly shrinking. Nevertheless, they find themselves juggling their obligations to work, their parents, themselves, their children. This juggling act requires finesse, knowledge of current trends and issues, and a healthy dose of advice.

eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2002




INTRODUCTION

The greatest gift of all is the love we receive from and give to our children, parents, spouses, and significant others. May we always respect and advocate for their right to self-determination and autonomy to the greatest extent possible, and may we always be available to them if and when they need us to help implement their wishes and desires.

In the 1960s Mick Jagger sang, and we agreed, "Time is on our side, yes it is." Except for Dick Clark and Mick Jagger, most things have changed since then; now there seems to be too little time, and time is not always on our side.

It is not an age thing -- yes, we are getting older -- but we are not old. In fact, some of us are in the best physical, mental, and emotional shape of our lives. It's just that for most of us, we can now more readily relate to the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four"; the father, rather than the son, in Cat Stevens's "Father and Son"; and the mother in Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion." And whereas we and The Who used to be able to "see for miles and miles," we can now barely see unless we have our glasses on.

Even more illustrative of our age is that if our children read this, they'll want to know who (or what) "The Who" is. We have gone full circle. Didn't our parents ask us a few decades ago, when we were kids, who (or what) The Who was? But as we make the transition from concerns about being hip to fears about breaking one, this question doesn't really matter. What does matter is that such queries demonstrate our desire to communicate with our children and our parents and their desire to connect with us even if we don't always understand each other.

From one generation to the next, we appreciate and cherish the importance of family. We also accept that as we enter middle age, we have the unique and important responsibility to guide our children and assist our parents while we take care of ourselves and plan for our future.

As baby boomers (or just "boomers") growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, we had only ourselves to think about. Since then, our focus has widened, with thoughts of ourselves being sandwiched between concerns for our children and for our parents. Additionally, while these personal and intergenerational issues may sometimes feel infinite, the time we have to devote to them is all too finite. Because these pressures often force us to juggle many different, important duties at the same time and sometimes to decide which ones are most pressing and which can be set aside for later, boomers are sometimes (and in most cases, mistakenly) characterized as self-centered, shortsighted, or apathetic. In actuality, we consistently see boomers seeking new and innovative ways not only to address and prioritize these personal and familial challenges but also to do so in the most beneficial way for our families. However, finding the necessary resources often frustrates us or slows us down. It is the purpose of Boomer Basics to help put time on our side once again, "yes it is."

The term baby boom generation has been coined to describe those approximately seventy-eight million of us born between 1946 and 1964 in an environment of post-World War II optimism and economic growth. The number of Americans aged thirty-six to fifty-four is currently growing four times as fast as the number of any other age group in U.S. society. Because there are so many of us, we have been analyzed and dissected by everyone from demographers and marketing directors to physicians and financial planners. And just as they would like to categorize us neatly and succinctly so as to be more successful at selling us movies, cereal, shampoo, and life insurance, we would like to properly and efficiently address the issues concerning ourselves as parents, caregivers, and individuals. Given the wide range of entertainment, food, clothes, beauty products, and investment choices that confront us, we know that simplicity has disappeared from the superficial decisions we face, let alone the substantive ones. For example, forty years ago your choice of coffee included regular or freeze-dried instant, only one company handled long-distance calling, your range of sneaker options (now known as athletic footwear) spanned the spectrum from black to white (with nothing in between), and an interactive game meant "Twister." Now, each of these examples has witnessed entire industries built around them. With respect to the substantive issues, the complexity has expanded more radically, and the consequences of a wrong decision or inaction are much worse than ring around the collar, halitosis, or waxy buildup. As boomers, we recognize this, but we need some assistance to proceed.

In balancing our lives and obligations, we are constantly seeking more information to either do things on our own or, at least, participate in the decision-making process. As boomers, we have a heightened (and healthy) skepticism that has evolved gradually since the 1950s, from when we were very accepting and trusting of what Ike and Walter Cronkite told us, through the 1960s, when we began to look beneath the surface of what we saw and read and questioned words and acts of "authority" such as the Warren Commission, LBJ, and Nixon. In the following years, from Watergate and Nixon's proclamation that he was "not a crook" to the Clinton White House, where Bill neither inhaled nor had "sex with that woman," we have come to realize that almost nothing should be taken at face value. As such, we have become much more comfortable asking questions and reaching our own conclusions or at least having more informed impressions of an authority's statement or recommendation.

Being the first generation raised in front of the TV set, we see this same evolution reflected in our favorite shows. Initially, Father knew best and was not even second-guessed, and the FBI always proceeded with good intentions. We soon began wondering, however, why the Howells would have so many clothes on Gilligan's Island if they were only going for a three-hour cruise or how a father and his sons on Bonanza could all be about the same age or why on virtually any crime show (for example, Dragnet, Mannix, or Adam-12) the bad guys were typically minorities. During the 1970s we became less willing to ignore diversity and real life, so the shows addressing real-life issues became the popular ones (such as All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and Hill Street Blues). This trend has continued through today with the increasing popularity of 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC, 20/20, and twenty-four-hour channels devoted to everything from news, sports, and weather to cooking, golf, and gardening.

But where the real-life programming falls short is in supplying the basics to our generation. And learning the basics can help us work toward solutions or, at least, relief. Granted, these complex intergenerational issues can only be simplified to a point, but you already know that. The ones who don't recognize the complexity or the need for involvement are not reading this book. They're either ignoring the issues or waiting for the problems to resolve themselves, much like the situations that Ralph Kramden, Columbo, Lucy, or Ben Casey often found themselves in where they reached an unrealistic solution by the end of the program. Unfortunately, in real life, these issues are more like TV shows today where some bad guys get away or the patient doesn't necessarily get better. However, our input can alter or affect the outcomes, and the more informed we are, the more effective and relevant that input can be. But like everything else, when we are looking to do the best that we can for our families, we need and want access to the basics to be able to develop a plan for ourselves and our family.

Boomer Basics was written to help you successfully address real-life opportunities and challenges. We will provide you with legal, financial, personal, and practical information that will help you deal with the unique issues and situations you have or may confront. We will also present you with hundreds of available resources from government, nonprofit, and proprietary on-line and off-line entities that offer you additional information, products, and services. References to www.Boomerbasics.com will take you to the ultimate Web site for those who care about relevant boomer issues and opportunities.

In the 1960s the Beatles sang, and we then naively agreed, that "All you need is love." But as we exchanged our albums and 8-track tapes for CDs, we began to understand why the Beatles also sang, "Help!" In advocating for and assisting our children, our parents, and ourselves, many times love is all we need. For those times, however, when love is not enough, Boomer Basics can provide the help we need to mitigate adversity, minimize anxiety, enhance our experiences, and celebrate our families' achievements.

Copyright © 2000 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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