To find relief from the world of Trump, full of lies about crises that don’t appear to exist, while worshiping a world of countries run by dictators who rule with an iron hand, I wonder what happened to that simpler middle-class world of families who lived without iPhones, held jobs that offered security, whose children attended schools where no one feared being shot. Those were the days!
On the other hand, such home towns as mine could be awfully boring. Everyone pretty much looked the same. My community was white Protestant with few exemptions and special education didn’t exist so little help for those with special needs. I moved out in 1950, ready to redefine myself to be more interesting so I picked a small college where no one from my home town would be and learned how to dress, smoke, drink, flirt and make interesting small talk — thus preparing me to transfer the next year to “the Big U” where I would be absorbed by over 20,000 students from all over the world! That’s where life for me truly began in all its many shapes and forms.
Eventually I ended up in Minnesota with a brand new husband, Ph. D., and Linda, my teen-aged daughter — and here I still reside, single, with a married middle-aged daughter, who now looks after me.
Such was not always the case. The two of us lived together comfortably for many years – but there were times when neither of us could figure the other one out. On such occasions, we’d end up our night in the kitchen, trying to puzzle it out over glasses of wine, while having what I”d call our ‘kitchen confessionals’. I liked my life! But why couldn’t she just get out there and ‘make things work’?
I must now confess that I sure wasn’t much of a psychologist. She kept trying to explain that the world each of us grew up in was very different. True, there weren’t many of us born in the ’30s and ‘40s — only about 75 million of us. The G.I. Bill changed millions of lives, creating great jobs. But Baby Boomers with 80 million peers, found too many competing for similar opportunities — thus stripping many of her generation of the optimism my generation had experienced, instead leaving them skeptic.
The older I get, the fewer people I find very knowledgable about generational differences. So I now thrive on seeking out millennials, among the 76 million of them, who were born with cell phones and personal pagers while in diapers. At least I now have a ‘jitterbug’ which I’m learning how to use when many of my generation just gave up trying. Now it is those Millennials saying in today’s NYT, “Fly Financially on My Own? Get Real!” For those without parental cash, there’s some kind of debt hangover that holds them back. For many it’s student-loan debt that ruins their credit. I can’t believe it! I graduated from the university with a Ph. D., no debt, and many job leads! Neither my daughter, nor my Millennial friends have experienced that.
In today’s world of clashing headlines, full of disasters and predictions of even more insecurity if you follow the wrong leader or listen to ‘fake news’, I guess we shouldn’t feel too surprised to find wide generational differences among us.
Therefore, more on Generational Differences coming up in future blogs!