I attended a sobering 60th birthday party yesterday evening. It was a large room full of aging baby-boomers: the most disappointed generation. While everyone seemed to be having a good enough time, there was an unmistakable malaise in the air. We baby boomers have had a tough pill or two to swallow. Having been born and raised during a time of victory, growth and the promise of having it all; we never thought we would find ourselves at the threshold of retirement with deflated dreams and ripped-off retirement accounts.
Truly, we are in a state of shock, which deepens by the second with the constant bombardment of instant information over the Internet, repeatedly reminding us about how bad things really are. Baby boomers are traumatized. We are still reeling by the impact of the Great Recession and without the benefit of youth, we see our ability to recover from it as questionable. We find ourselves out of time in a culture where things are happening almost too quickly for us to keep up.
We, as a generation, need to debrief from our “trauma” experience, clarify our values and create some wise meaning for where we go from here. The first step is to acknowledge our Second-Hand Shock: the reality that we, who sprang from the black rotary phone and the transistor radio, have been overloaded and over-stimulated by instant, scary media content that moves too fast for us to truly grasp. Once we acknowledge this, we can then freely create our own stride for how we continue to formidably contribute to the growth and well-being of our society.