Late-blooming, Zooming, Boomers

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Baby Boomers (born between 1946–1964) are a very interesting demographic. I’m interested in them because “them is us.” I am a Baby Boomer. But then so are my first two children. Alas! I wonder if it is hard for them to have their mother be in the same generational category as they are. I found out some pretty interesting details about us Boomers:

Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described the trend. More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million, 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called “baby boom.” In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off. By then, there were 76.4 million “baby boomers” in the United States. They made up almost 40 percent of the nation’s population (www.history.com/topics/baby-boomers).

I found some common characteristics of this Baby Boomer generation online: they are workaholics; they are confident, independent, and self-reliant; they are achievement-oriented, dedicated, and career-focused; they are competitive in the workplace; they are clever, resourceful, and strive to win. So, there are a lot of us Boomers out there. Stay with me, I am connecting some dots for myself.

A couple of years ago, I read a book titled The Third Chapter in which the author, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot (2009), lays out her research findings by describing how some people in the years between fifty and seventy-five (which she calls “the third chapter”) strike out in courage to find their true passion or return to their first love. She says we enter a “time of potential change, growth, and new learning, a time when our courage gives us hope.” I related to her theory because it happened to me. I got my PhD and started a publishing company—all after the age of fifty—when many of my friends and acquaintances began thinking about retiring or slowing down and closing up shop. I felt like I was just getting started. So far, then, I am a “late-blooming” Boomer. But there’s more.

In 2006, Seth Godin wrote in Small is the New Big that we should handle “new ideas, new opportunities, and new challenges without triggering the change avoidance reflex.” He called it “zooming”: “stretching your limits without threatening your foundation”    (p. 25). I loved that word the minute I read it! I related to it. I want to zoom—do the same thing as usual, only different. I have had a fear of new things, but I want to zoom more than I wanted to give in to my fears!

So there you have it: I am a late blooming, but zooming, Boomer. Amen!

Andrea