Boomers, as you enter your 50s, 60s or 70s, do you find yourself feeling more grateful? As a 53-year-old woman, I do.
We’re at a point in our lives when we can be thankful for all our accomplishments that may include a happy marriage, fulfilling career, raising a family, or simply being a loving, decent human being that has brought joy and happiness to our friends and family. As we look back on all our experiences and the places we’ve seen, we can feel grateful.
If our parents are still alive, we realize our time with them is limited and feel grateful for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us. If family members have passed on – even if we may not have told them enough while they were still alive – we are now grateful for the time we had with them.
This is a time in our lives that we have more wisdom and better judgment. Aren’t we grateful not to be a teen or young adult anymore?
As we look back, we can surely appreciate all that life has given each of us to this point in our lives.
In addition, we can feel grateful that we are baby boomers. Why?
I ran into an interesting article on Boomer Café about the late Peter Barton, Baby Boomer Grateful for the Gift of Life . A baby boomer, he pioneered the Discovery Channel, Fox Sports, The Learning Channel, and STARZ. After he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he listed some of the things we boomers can be grateful for and in part wrote:
“I’ve been lucky, and that luck began on the day I was born – because that day was right in the heart of the baby boom. Let me say this straight out, because it’s the big context in which my own life has been just a tiny part: Our generation is the luckiest that ever lived. Way luckier than we did anything to deserve. We were born into a time of prosperity and peace. The world seemed safe and was ours to explore. No one talked about limits and boundaries. No one ever used the word impossible. We were encouraged to pursue our dreams, in a world that only got better.
“Perhaps the luckiest part of all was that we were the generation that wasn’t rushed and bullied into becoming grown-ups too soon. We could take time – in the parlance of the day – to find ourselves. That phrase, I realize, has become one of ridicule, a way of deriding the navel-gazing of the Sixties and Seventies. But maybe it’s time to reexamine that. What’s unworthy about working to understand who you truly are and what you really want from life? Younger people today seem more passive, less hopeful than we were. That’s a waste.
“Unlike our parents’ generation, we weren’t pressured into marrying in our early twenties and starting families right away. Unlike the young people who’ve come along in less confident economic times, we didn’t feel a desperate need to hurl ourselves too quickly into the hamster cage of commerce. We had the great luxury of picking our moments. We could take our time growing up.”
He went on to explain how he got his MBA at age 31, a few years later proposed marriage in a hot air balloon above the Rocky Mountains, and became a father. “Of all the things I can’t imagine just suddenly stopping, is my thankfulness and wonder for the life I’ve had.”
Peter died in 2002. At a time when he had every reason for feeling self-pity instead of thankfulness, he left us with words that encourage us to count our blessings and treasure each moment. To be grateful we were born boomers. To live in the present and appreciate every experience, place, and person that crosses our path.
Oh sure, there are reasons to complain at this stage of our lives. Some of us may have health problems, lost our parents or are caring for aging parents, raising teens or paying college tuition fees, or holding down stressful jobs wondering if we’ll ever get to retire. But as Agatha Christie wrote in her autobiography when she was 70 years old, “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”