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Diane Gilman


Baby Boomers: A New Life-Construct -- From "Invisible to Invincible!"

Posted: 08/23/11 12:14 PM ET

Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life? A piece of news delivered in a split second... just a heartbeat... that will stick in your psyche forever? You'll always remember where you were and what you were doing when the news was delivered. One of these significant "moments in time" for me was when I heard of the drastic reduction of America's credit rating by Standard & Poor. Not only was it a "moment in time" it was a moment of shock, a slight state of panic, and a million bombarding thoughts about our retrenched future. I immediately envisioned myself as a homeless senior sitting on the sidewalk asking a passersby to drop a dime in my once coveted designer handbag!

Transfixed on every news show, I watched hours of programming and journalistic-politico debates. It was as if I was watching a competitive sporting event! It was all about who won this point -- who lost the other. Anchors argued President Obama was the biggest loser. Others said, "No! It was Congress and the Republicans." In all this time I never once heard any of the "authorities" mention Baby Boomers. Wait a second... I did hear an echo of inevitable lowered benefits for the disabled and elderly. Yup! That's us: the elderly grouped with the disabled. And another mention of us as an "ageing population who will put a terrible strain on the government's finances." For those of us who contributed to Social Security, Medicare and dutifully paid our taxes all our adult lives, that is truly insulting!

So I ask you, what about US? We're watching every second-half life construct we grew up believing and expecting -- crumbling, disappearing and evaporating. Is anyone out there wondering, like me, who's building a new Life-Model for us? Isn't it time we start to defend and champion ourselves rather than be labeled as a liability?

Honestly, I think as a generation Baby Boomers have developed amnesia! Once we were the biggest, loudest, clearest voice in America. Then we grew up and went silent. We need to remember who we are, or rather what we were, and bring the essence of US back to the present tense again!

We must revise our Life-GPS to address our new reality. We are working well into our 70's and living well into our 80's. As we age, what are our opportunities for employment? What industries will be best suited for a mature workforce? And, what direction should we take as we watch Social Security and Medicare fade away? Bottom line -- what do we do as we see our savings shrinking while our life span extends? At this moment I may not have the answers -- though, I am posing the questions that I know we as a community are asking ourselves.

And let me be the first to say, when we do take to the streets, the Capitol, the airwaves and the Internet, I expect our boomer flag to be just as individual as we are. Give me a flag comprised of strawberry fields and purple haze. Let's paint it black with a whiter shade of pale! We need to reconnect and revive! Step out alone, you're invisible. Go further together. We become invincible!