5 Positive Traits of Boomers
Is it just me or have you noticed that a lot of people have, well, let’s say, a less favorable view of us boomers? Which is why I’m going to write about 5 positive traits of boomers. And, yes, we have some good qualities, believe it or not!
Boomer Bashing is in Fashion
Have you heard of the new word: “boomerphobia?” Supposedly, it’s a noun defined as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to people in their late 50s to mid-70s.
I found this new “word” in an condescending and insulting article – that I refuse to give any attention to by naming it or including a link – that made fun of boomers for hanging on to “uncool things.”
The list included playing golf, going to the mall, and wearing crocs. Might I mention that I’ve never played golf in my life, hate the mall, and have never ever worn a pair of crocs?
No matter. Even if I did, these things don’t warrant calling boomers names in an attempt to humiliate the 50-plus crowd.
Maybe I’m getting a little tired of all the derogatory phrases. Like “Okay Boomer.” Or worse yet, during the pandemic some sadistic person came up with the term “Boomer Remover” referring to our susceptibility to become severely ill and die from COVID-19. Really, people? How cruel can you get? Ageism at its finest.
As boomer journalist, Steve Cuozzo points out in a New York Post article: “Baby boomers who cried ‘Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30’ during the Vietnam War should be scared to death of millennials. Because, at least among the Twitterati, they hate us — they really, really hate us.” True, generation gaps have always existed, but as Cuozzo says, “Millennials (and to some extent their Gen-X and Gen-Z brethren) hate their elders with a ferocity never before seen in our culture.”
If that’s the case, hatred is not okay in any context.
Social media certainly isn’t helping. One boomer gets on Twitter and makes a stupid, condescending remark about all millennials. Of course, the retaliation begins. As a result, all of us boomers are slammed as if we all feel the same way. And we don’t. Not all boomers are alike, by the way. For example, some are nice and some are mean. Just like any other generation.
Because I’m of a certain age, I won’t dwell on all this too much. Thankfully, I really don’t care what people who don’t know me think or say. That’s the beauty of getting older.
And of course I know not all millennials, Gen-X and Gen-Z feel the same way about us boomers.
But it’s worth a blog before putting it behind me. Because I wish we would quit lumping generations together as we hurl insults at each other.
So, in hopes of creating a greater understanding between the generations, here are 5 good things I think boomers in general have going for them.
Boomers are Good at Reinventing Themselves
Not being content to sit in a rocking chair reminiscing about the past after retirement – like some of our parents and grandparents – many boomers are still active, eagerly learning new things, and becoming more creative as they age.
Boomers may not be up on all the latest trends, but they remain young at heart.
Boomers tend to consider themselves a work in progress. Many are making spirituality and personal growth a priority, opening themselves to new experiences (like learning sign language and shark cage diving, in my case), and striving to reach their full potential.
Thanks to boomers, turning 60 or even 70 is no longer a professional death sentence as it was in the past. Many boomers are postponing retirement, both for financial and personal reasons. This has opened the doors for younger generations who, if desired, have a better chance of working as long as they want.
Often boomers are maligned for being technically deficient. However, many boomers have embraced new technologies like texting, videoconferencing, online banking, tablets, tech savvy homes, and social networking sites. A lot has changed, but boomers are enthusiastic about technology that’s valuable to them.
In my opinion, we’ve changed the way people age. And that’s a good thing for upcoming generations.
Boomers Value Family Relationships
Personally, I grew up in a traditional family that ate dinner together every night, watched The Wonderful World of Disney every week, attended religious services, and took camping trips together.
As a result, I practiced these same values with my own children and grandchildren. As a reward, we all remain close.
Just proves different generations can get along and even love each other!
Boomers Influenced Rock and Roll
As the article, “27 Amazing Things Baby Boomers Have Done for Humanity” points out on their website Mercatornet, the boomer generation changed music forever. “Popular music will never be the same after the 70s. These musicians [Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, and the Beegees] passed on an undying legacy with their lyrics, experimentation and harmonies.”
Of course, the 60s also changed music in a major way, becoming a vehicle for social change.
Brian Ward, a professor in American Studies at Northumbria University wrote in his article for the Gilder Lehrman Institude of Natural History, “What’s That Sound? Teaching the 1960s Through Popular Music: “Even students far too young to have experienced the decade first-hand often recognize a whole range of sounds as evocative of the era. The Motown soul of the Temptations and Marvin Gaye; the folk revivalism of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez; the folk-rock syntheses of the Byrds; the surfing sounds of the Beach Boys; the free jazz of Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman; the girl-group sounds of the Chiffons and Crystals; the southern-fried soul of Percy Sledge and Otis Redding; the lush Nashville countrypolitanism of Eddy Arnold and Tammy Wynette; the country-rock blends of the Flying Burrito Brothers; the progressive, psychedelic sounds of the Grateful Dead and the Doors; the self-reflective meditations of singer-songwriters James Taylor and Laura Nyro; the daring blues-rock-jazz blend of Jimi Hendrix; the pioneering funk of James Brown; the garage rock of the Standells and Seeds; and the avant-garde noisescapes of Captain Beefheart and the Velvet Underground.”
I would add The Rolling Stones, Queen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Elton John, and Simon and Garfunkel to the list of classic rock singers and bands that influenced music forever.
Many younger people still listen to these musicians today.
Boomers Tend to Work Hard
Boomers typically do not shy away from hard work. Most boomers grew up in well-structured and disciplined households. Boomers were taught to respect their parents and grandparents and do their chores. As a rule, boomers are self-disciplined, highly motivated, and focused on goals in life.
You would think that’s a good thing. But these qualities are often used against us. Boomers are called “workaholics” and a “greedy generation,” perceived as always putting money first. However, growing up in a spiritual family, these were not the values I was personally taught. I’d venture many boomers would say the same.
Boomers Want to Give Back
Now, can we talk a little about the blame game? Boomers are seemingly responsible for all that’s gone wrong in the world. In part, due to the size of their generation. By the way, is it my fault that my parents’ generation had a bunch of kids making the population “boom?” (The basis for the name of our generation, baby boomers.)
Good thing we weren’t around for the Great Depression. Somehow, that would be our fault too.
At any rate, baby boomer blaming seems like a way of oversimplifying extremely complex issues.
Although I do not feel personally responsible for every problem in the world today, I do understand the younger generation’s frustrations. For example, many boomers know how difficult it is for younger people who face challenging economic conditions today.
As a result, many parents have been generous with adult children who often need to live at home longer than expected. Some help their children financially even to their own detriment. And many grandparents are helping care for their grandchildren to help adult children save on child care costs.
In addition, boomers tend to look for a mission in life that offers meaning and purpose. Many of us are involved in volunteer work and our community.
I know this article hasn’t convinced some of you that boomers aren’t all bad. There are those who will still think we are an “evil generation.” But I hope to reach some of you with an open mind.
Sure, we’re not perfect and have our faults – doesn’t everyone? But maybe you’ll see we have some positive qualities as well. I hope so. Can’t we all just get along? Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
As I stated in an earlier blog: “Perhaps we boomers can admire – and even mimic – some of the traits young people have such as a sense of adventure, spontaneity, and curiosity. Maybe the younger generations can learn from older people who have lived through tragedies and triumphs and learned to overcome adversities. After all, what benefits come from hurling insults at each other? Let’s respect and learn from each other instead.”
Agree or disagree with my blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Absolutely love this, Julie! You hit every great point about our maligned generation!
I really dislike being lumped into a group that I didn’t choose. I see rants about Boomers “all” being selfish, ultra-conservative, “I’ve got mine so to hell with you,” anti-environmentalist, blah, blah, blah. I’m none of those. You can’t take a span of years and expect everyone born during that time is the same. I know that some members of the younger generations are struggling and, god knows, we are leaving them a pretty messy world, but let’s work together not tear each other apart. Good post, Julie!
Agreed! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
What a great article, Julie!
I don’t remember so many terms thrown around about the “older generation” as I hear today. Sometimes, I have to ask what they mean, ha!
It’s much different than our grandparents days. So much has changed over the years on how they dressed, activities and work. In fact. many retired people are actually returning to work.
I loved the music part of this blog and the links you shared. I’m so thankful our sons and their friends appreciate the music we grew up with.
I can remember a time when our grandparents and their age group shared their feelings on The Beatles. “On my, that hair!” Not to mention Elvis and how he was banned to dance on live T.V.. Look what they have out there today?
Okay, last thing. You mentioned the Depression years. I recently read a book, it was actually a cookbook, on what it was to grow up in that time. I think all generations should read it to appreciate what we have today.
Thanks again, Julie!
Happy March 2023
Thanks, happy you enjoyed my blog. I know what you mean. First time I had heard the term “boomerphobia.” Waiting to see what other names they come up with for us boomers. A depressing thought. As far as music, I think maybe the Guardian of the Galaxy movies helped introduce a lot of kids to our music. Gotta love classic rock!
Hi Julie, it’s a bit sad to think you needed to write this one. I admit I must live a more sheltered life as I don’t tend to think of the younger generations having such issues with us. You gave some very valid points though and I did find myself nodding in agreement. So many great bands too, the list could be endless when you think about it.
Haven’t heard of Boomer Remover. That’s awful. My parents are boomers and they just got COVID. Scared me. They’re fine now. It’s super irritating when people blame millennials for everything so we shouldn’t do that for other generations. A lot of our aggression comes from not being heard. We say we’re struggling and instead of being understanding people, mostly from older generations, call us lazy or entitled. Totally agree on boomers staying active. My parents are doing way more than I am. It’s kinda inspiring. They have a boatload of health issues but still travel more than me.
So glad your parents are okay. I think us boomers who have kids tend to hear and understand the younger generations who are struggling – through no fault of their own. I know both my sons work like dogs and are still unable to purchase their own home. My youngest son and his wife work full-time as interpreters for the deaf and work a side gig and still struggle to make ends meet. So, you won’t hear me using words like “lazy” or “entitled” when I talk about people your age. I cringe when I see that kind of name-calling.
I found your post surprising but I really shouldn’t have. I work with kids so I know how things have definitely changed….behavior and beliefs mainly. So it shouldn’t have surprised me on how so many young people think and make it known. You have some great points but I’m sad you felt you needed to defend the Boomers. You shouldn’t have had to. Classic rock is awesome! We’re all just Livin’ On a Prayer!
As a millennial, I enjoyed your blog post about the positive traits of boomers. I agree that we should not stereotype or judge each other based on age. Thank you for your positive and constructive message.
Good to hear from a millennial! Thanks!