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
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
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!
Follow Diane Gilman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianegilman