Thursday, November 19, 2015

Leaving the World a Better Place for the Next Generation

The Baby Boomer “Me” Generation is Retiring…….

Hallelujah.  If there is one thing that rings true, it is putting others and most notably our kids first. For all the Baby Boomers who did this- this article does not apply to you. Thank you. You are the exception. Bravo for making the world a better place. You get that the unspoken obligation of every generation is to make it better for the next. Starting with all the Baby Boomers who forced your kids to pay their way through higher education when you could have helped- shame on you. “I wanted them to value it more by earning it themselves” is just a lame excuse to cover up a selfish agenda. The world is never a better place when others place their happiness above all else, especially an entire generation. Kids by nature need help. Those who do not get it are at a great disadvantage. Sure, some rise above it all, but trust me- they have no love lost for the Baby Boomers who spent a lifetime indulging themselves at the next generation's expense.

The irony of it all (some would say hypocrisy). Born in 1968, I am a part of the no name generation literally called “Generation X”. My kids are now the “Millennials”. My generation was raised by the Baby Boomers.  So what was that like? One word: ironic.  I grew up in a time where Ronald Reagan’s “war on drugs” filled the prisons for decades based on possession of  the tiniest amounts, yet the Baby Boomers who passed such laws grew up in the  Woodstock era: free love, drugs, LSD, you name it. Forget arrests or prison, they prided themselves on such rebellion as a badge to be proud of in the name of open-mindedness. Yet it is they who passed the current laws where you can’t even have a social drink without seeing highway signs that scare the piss out of you with ominous messages of “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.” 

It was generally accepted that my generation had to get a college degree to provide for a family. The Baby Boomers were raised when jobs were a plenty and a blue collar father with a high school education could raise a family of four. Speaking of which, the Boomers experienced college tuition at rates that anyone could afford ($15 a semester hour, are you kidding me?). Now a college degree costs more than an average house, so kids have mortgaged their future before they even begin. Shame! Look at Germany where higher education is free! How are we to compete worldwide and on an equitable scale, not just the kids of the wealthy? As the Boomers got into power, they tightened the belt in every department. A ridiculous example would be the curfew laws in many major cities where young people can’t even be out on the streets after a certain time after dark.

Yet the irony of it all is that the government debt shutdowns prove there is not enough money for the Boomers’ social security, Medicare, and other services.  While Generation X and the now the Millennials have clawed for everything they have earned, we are now being told nothing will be left for us.  What goes around comes around. It’s hard to have sympathy for the seniors with Porsches in their garages gripe about the government when they refused to help their own kids when they needed it most. People must reap the repercussions of their own choices. There must be accountability in policy. “X”ers and Millennials are too busy figuring out how to reverse Baby Boomer death knells such as unaffordable higher education and curbing a health care and insurance debacle free for all to worry too much about the Boomers’ retirement accounts disappearing due to a greedy, unregulated Boomer Wall Street meltdown that started in 2008 from overvalued mortgages and inequitable reverse mortgages that benefitted, guess who?

Many Boomers spent a lifetime indulging themselves at the expense of their kids and future generations. The national debt has spiraled out of control while the Boomers are grateful it is not their generation that has to pay it back. I for one am making choices that look forward.  I view my kids’ education as a privilege and obligation I am honored to fund, not a sacrifice. I view my future grandkids’ happiness (health care, education, robust economy) as more important than going into more debt for insolvent government programs that Boomers should have otherwise planned for. Boomers have always preached with social security “there will be none left for you.” I don’t think they realize the rest of us don’t expect it. We are too busy focusing on contributing to a better future so our progeny won’t experience what we experienced. The Boomers have spent a lifetime focusing on their present. That present is almost gone. Time to look towards the new millennium and not repeat the same mistakes. Society is not bettered focused on itself. Time to leave it to the generation that in altruistic fashion will certainly leave an “X” marks the spot in all the right places. Let that be the mark of Generation “X”.

Moral of the story, as these Boomers age into the sunset- they should expect exactly what they have given.  As for me and my husband, we thrive off sacrifice. We don’t view kids as a burden but a gift. We could care less about Caribbean vacations if that means our kids struggle. All 3 kids currently in college and grad school have received our full support and they have earned excellent grades and never had to suffer due to lack of support, a fact I am most proud of. My happiness will never ever come before theirs. That is what each generation owes the next. As the Baby Boomers retire, all I can say is- good riddance to the “Me” generation. I am looking forward to righting the course of history for future generations. To sacrifice is to live. May America learn to value again the “Giving” generation, not the one caught up in themselves. Let history prove which one betters the world…

A few blog pieces that reference the Boomer “Me” Generation

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