Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reflections on being an almost-Boomer

Despite my husband’s best efforts, I began this day—the occasion of my 63rd birthday—just a tad earlier than I had planned. My teaching schedule—Tuesday and Thursday first thing in the morning class—necessitates I get up early on those days. So, today, my birthday (and a Wednesday) he had hoped I would sleep in. But I was awakened an hour (at least) earlier than I had planned by the phone ringing. He had set out to walk the dog, after waiting a couple of minutes past the time he should have been called, if his work were delayed today. Of course, as soon as he headed out, the call came in—hence, my being awakened.

So, I have a jump on thinking today. For whatever reasons, my family has never made a “big deal” of birthdays. Oh, we acknowledge them—send cards, and gifts—but we don’t do all-out-splash parties. When our children were little, we had a few special birthday parties for them. Some of these parties were actually quite memorable—one for our son where we “booked” our local Y and had a swimming party. Since he was born in January, that was quite a nice touch. Swimming for a mid-winter party. For our daughter, an October baby, we once attended a local performance scheduled for Hallowe’en—the performance featured spooky stories and “ghosts.” Since the performing company used a darkened theater, and trailed gossamer cloth across the audience, the effect was quite “real.” So much so, that one of our daughter’s friends began weeping uncontrollably in terror.

I have had two “special” parties—both arranged by my husband. When I turned 50, he had planned a surprise (and it was) party—with our friends, and family at a local restaurant. One of the special touches was that he had arranged to have table flower baskets, enough for each guest couple (or single) to take along home. He also arranged to have a lute player there—I love this soft gentle music.

Then, when I turned 60, he arranged a somewhat smaller party, but also at a favorite restaurant, and this time not a surprise. No sense in giving the honored birthday person such a fright as to set off a cardiac arrest (it has been known to happen).

I was born just before the end of World War II. That makes me just ahead of the wave of baby boomers, which usually is pegged to begin with January 1, 1946. I guess I think of myself as a boomer—and when I read descriptions of boomer characteristics, I puzzle over whether that describes me or not. To my knowledge, there is no name for the generation immediately before boomers. My parents’ generation has been dubbed “the greatest generation.” Rather puts succeeding generations in their place, that!

Herewith some of the characteristics (source ):

  • more optimistic economically—not having experienced the Great Depression

  • better educated—men stayed in college to avoid the Vietnam war and women, seeking equality, sought a college education

  • women worked outside the home in greater numbers—while raising young children

  • more comfortable with technology, growing up within the age of computers

  • individualistic generation, with a focus on self and a tendency to reject authority

  • hectic lifestyles—leisure time infringed upon by the various demands of life.

Well, I can identify with most of those characteristics! One quick example: I always felt rather like a pioneer generation as regards working outside the home, but I also had wonderful role models in my own mother and in my mother-in-law.

Of course, one of the main reasons why this generation was named “boomer” was the sheer number of babies born. Spurred by the return of soldiers at the close of World War II, the boomer generation produced 78 million children. A veritable wave of babies. Now, as we reach our 60s, the boomer generation is affecting all sorts of areas in our economy—from the sheer purchasing power of that many retirees, to the impact on social security and Medicare—boomers still set new records.


Photos from my 50th birthday party. . .yet, another use of the new toy!


Denise said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Donna! Much Love!

Mary said...


The characteristics of the baby boomers describes all of us well. Every point!

I hope you are enjoying your new birthday toy :o)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


I hope it's a wonderful day.

Pam said...

Happy birthday, Donna! Love and good wishes, Pam.

possumlady said...

Have a wonderful birthday Donna!

I always thought the years for the boomers was way too long (1946-1963?). Being born in 1959, I'm at the tail end of the boomers. My oldest sister just turned 60 last year and we have VERY different outlooks in most things.

Ruth said...

Happy Birthday Donna and many more! You are a boomer and younger in your thinking than many people of your chronological age.

Mary said...

Hi Donna,

There's a little "thank you" on my blog tonight. Check it out.


entoto said...

Happy Birthday! Wish I could help you blow out your candles.

And your new toy is fantastic! I cannot wait to see more nuggets.

entoto said...

Oh, and here is an interesting overview of Generational Theory...

JeanMac said...

Happy birthday to a special lady.

NE/ME said...

Happy Birthday! and today - Happy Valentine's Day. Hope you get to sleep in one day this week.

Beverly said...

I must have missed coming by yesterday. Happy birthday a day late.

Climenheise said...

Happy Birthday, Donna. I hope our card arrived for your birthday: it's hard sometimes figuring out the best way to send things from Canada, so we carried this one across the border to North Dakota last Sunday. Oh, and I think you're a boomer too.

Cathy said...

Donna! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it's a wonderful year :0)