This is not a piece about New Year’s resolutions, nor is it gloom and doom from a rather horrid 2016. It is just my reflections on what it is like being at the tail end of the Baby Boomers, working mainly with millennials and generation X co-workers, and losing my reference points ahead of me. I can see why people in their 50s and 60s are suffering from health issues while those ahead and behind are not feeling the same stress. Because those of the Greatest generation have paid their dues, and the folks behind us have no idea what is coming, as they live for today’s experiences and quick wins, not tomorrow’s rewards.
Things that I took for granite, like the nightly news being reasonably unbiased and factual and that the government was generally there for beneficial reasons for society, have been fundamentally changed.
Business models have changed, some more fundamentally than others. And more likely than not, I am now an information outlier, in that I do not want to offer bytes of myself to do mobile banking, selfies, live video feeds – I am looking to consume information, not involuntarily provide it. And although I am willing to pay for the consumption, things I thought should be free are no longer, and visa versa. I am tired of people trying to put their hands in my wallet [or on my contacts list or on my agenda] for things that I am not willing to give. So I can either become more analog and opt-out, which many of my peers are starting to do, or I can severely curtail my digital footprint to what is necessary.
As a society, I feel that we have gotten ruder and more homogeneous, as to be truly different invokes hate and mistrust. Society now self-serves, and builds its own communities of exclusivity, not inclusivity. Instead of building and celebrating individuality, we are all trying to be unique in the same way.’Look at me, look at my photos, read my blog, listen to my Vine commentary, watch my vlog’. See how creative I am not. See what I have plagiarized from others to sound intelligent and insightful.
I find the naïveté of the generations behind me scary. And I really hate the email trend they have started with the first line “I hope you are well” when they do not know me or my situation. It is the inability of the younger generation to start a conversation without the word “hey” that shows the digital decline of conversational skills.
So as I watch those ahead of me planning for imminent retirement, I face 2017 knowing that at the tail end of the Baby Boomers, I face some hard choices on how to move forward: existing in my own sphere and co-existing gracefully with the shifting tides, sharing the world of the younger generations with bemusement and amusement (looking like the granny in the vinyl bodycon dress), or going off the grid entirely.