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Front Page » November 7, 2006 » Opinion » Senior groups need separate names too
Published 2,963 days ago

Senior groups need separate names too


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Have you seen the ad for a retirement plan that shows this woman passing through time and the announcer says she was once known as a "hippie, a yuppie, a CEO, a cancer patient and survivor and now she is a retiree"? While the use of many of the terms is a generalization, it does bring up a point; we have a lot of names for groups of people as they move through life.

Remember when you were 10 years old. Seventeen seemed so old and so far away. If you are over 30, now it seems your turn at that seventeeth year seems like ancient times and kids that are 17 at present, seem like babies.

When I was a kid there were three age groups; kids, teenagers and adults. Nobody called anyone thirtysomething or a tweener. And senior citizen? I think my grandparents, at least the ones I knew, would have resented that term. To me they were just old.

Sure when we were freshmen in high school we all wanted to be seniors. But right now I am in my last months of my junior year of my lifespan, teetering on the edge of becoming a senior in a few precious sunsets, and other the than the supposed discounts I will get, I am not all that excited about the prospect. Besides how can we have names for people in their decades of life all the way up to 55 and then group all of those that are over five and a half decades old all together under one term?

A lot has been made of the baby boomers coming into senior status. But do you realize how long a period of time that group spans. If you were born on Jan. 1, 1946 you are almost 19 years older than the youngest boomer who was born on Dec. 31, 1964.

Who picked out those dates anyway?

My best friend when I was a kid had a little brother who was born in '64 and he was a pain in the neck, nowhere near being a part of the 60s generation. I just don't want all us boomers being called the same thing until the last of us die sometime around 2070. So let's come up with some names for boomers who are now headed in that great unknown; a world without going to work everyday.

First I think we need to classify everyone who was born between 1940 and 1949 into their own group. After all they got the real brunt of Vietnam and they were the ones that brought us rock and roll. Maybe rockin' boomers or booming rockers might suffice.

Then there is my group, those who came out between 1950 and 1958. I pick '58 as the end for this group because I don't want to exclude my wife from my time line or she'll remind me even more of how much younger she is than I am. We were, and are, a pretty spoiled group. Some of us were middle kids, but the majority of us were the youngest that our depression parents had (and they had the right to be depressed looking at us). We ushered in psychedelic music, free love and drugs. Not that two of the three hadn't been done long before us, but every generation thinks it owns sex. Maybe we should be the psycheboomers or the mushroom boomers. And for those of us of the male persuasion that missed the total draft, got in the lottery and cheered when our number came up 311, well we could be known as the boomer dodgers.

Then there is that final group, those born between 1959 and 1964. They were the last glint of their fathers eye, who were now well into their 40s with wives who said "Oh no! Not again."

The problem with this group is that some of them have parents who are also boomers (remember the rockin' boomers). These people came along due to a penalty for a false start with those young parents. Regardless as they begin to retire (the oldest of them are now about 18 years away from that magical 62 mark) they should have a name too. I know some people call them the Tweeners, but maybe they could be known as the poor boomers, because by the time they get to the age where they will receive social security, the hogs at the trough from the prior 13 years of boomer retirees will have eaten all the grain.

I'm sure there are better names. But I want my group named something other than just general boomers, cause without that Generation X and Y might just weasel out of paying for my comfortable retirement.


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November 7, 2006
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