“You baby boomers are only interested in money.”
I recently heard that statement from not one but two different 30-somethings young women. They were frustrated that older adults only seem to be focused on making a buck. They wanted to pursue their hearts desire, be creative, live in the moment, and not worry about money. But those darned Baby Boomers kept reminding them to keep working.
Their comments made me laugh. Pursuing what made me happy and not worrying about the distant future was the mindset I had when I was their age. I thought the previous generations were stodgy, frugal, and money focused too. My parents (born in the Great Depression) and my grandparents (born in the 1890’s) kept extolling the virtues of a regular job and saving money. Didn’t anyone want to pursue their bliss and just be happy?
I wanted to tell these young whipper snappers that we were once like them. The money hungry Baby Boomers were once the Hippies of the 1960’s. They were the bra-burning feminists of the 1970’s, and the Civil Rights activists who paved the way for the freedoms they enjoy today. The Boomers are the generation who spoke about free love, peace, and letting it all hang out. We were once those young people who just wanted to pursue our Bliss without worrying about the consequences.
I don’t think the young people I met were ready to think about tomorrow let alone what they will need to survive three and four decades from now. After realizing that I will need a million or two to survive the rest of my life, I am guessing that the Millennial generation will need at least twice that much money. I didn’t want to quash these young people’s dreams of pursuing their heart’s desire, and maybe they should use their time to explore their creativity and let it all hang out – like we did.
I thought back to when I was 30-something. I was working, married, and traveling across the country on consulting assignments. I was wrapped up in my busy life that I could never imagine wanting to retire. Retirement was about eating at 4:30 p.m., doing water aerobics with gray-haired women, and clipping coupons for the grocery.
But now it’s 25 years later and I get it. I understand the need to rest and reflect for what I want in my later years, and take time to enjoy myself. I get the need to live a leisurely lifestyle doing what I choose when I want to. And I even started doing water aerobics along with the other gray-haired ladies. I accepted that I can’t follow my Bliss everyday, because I need to work and support myself now and in the future. But I do want to work at what is enjoyable and not scatter my energy.
Here’s to you blissful Baby Boomers. Use your creative power to prepare for the future. Connect with your inner Hippie, turn on some Steppenwolf, and rock out on your way home from work. I know you’re not stodgy or money-hungry. You just want to live a good life and prepare for your future!