My kids were always amazed at the things we did not have as we were growing up in the fifties and sixties. They could not imagine life without microwaves, cordless phones, DVDs, DVRs, or personal computers. We didn’t think it was weird, it was just life at the time. But, there have been some surprises for us baby boomers through the last fifty years.
1) Technology: In 1971 I worked for a lumber company in California. One of my duties was to relieve the receptionist at the switchboard. I kid you not, this is the kind of switchboard I answered! Little did we know the revolution that would occur in the technology field, in particular with the development of the ubiquitous “smart phones”.
2) Real Estate: The American dream was alive and well when we were younger. Never in a million years did we think that our house, the thing that we all wanted to own, the safest investment we could make, would crash in value along with the rest of the economy. And, it happened just as we all were approaching retirement.
3) Retirement: Retirement, of course, is another bubble that burst for many. The goal of retiring to the fun and the sun at fifty-five, sixty or sixty-five has all but disappeared. Many boomers now simply state that they will probably just work until they drop.
4) Health: During the Woodstock era the question was: Did we try smoking anything, and if we did, did we inhale?
Now we are much more concerned with the drugs that we might have to take for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erratic hormones and various other ailments that start to show up as we age. World News also brought to our attention last night that three million Baby Boomers could be carrying the hepatitis C virus and not even know it.
5) Entrepreneurial Spirit: According to AARP, boomers are now outpacing younger people when it comes to starting new businesses. If we can’t retire like our parents did and we still have to work, we want to do it on our terms. I guess that even though the recession has taken a toll on our home values and our retirements have been pushed back to who knows when, as a group we still exhibit that dream to change our world!