THE BLOG
01/25/2011 08:02 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why All the Boomer Fearmongering?

"Hold on to your socks boomers. You're about to hit the wall!!"

These are the bold-fonted pearls of a Jan. 14, 2011 article on Salem-News.com by a Dr. Phil Leveque.

Leveque is one of a mass of seemingly sinister and curiously motivated terror "journalists" announcing the death of all good things for aging baby boomers.

While it is indisputable that we are getting older and the world is changing faster than a mindless round of personal grocery shopping tweets ("I'm like, looking at, like, Oreos or biscotti?") let us pause to remember one of our seminal boomer mantras, "Question authority." Remember that one?

The first question to ask, rather than ingest this nonsense about our future nightmares and dead relevance, is: who are these non-authorities blasting voices of our doom, and why are they saying such terrible things about us?

Whether it's a vanishing social security or the dire health care cost projections, the end of professional power platforms and creative opportunity for boomer futures is being announced in the media everywhere. If we are to believe what we hear and read -- and really, couldn't we just stop doing that? -- we are told to basically fold up our luxury tents and get over it. Because apparently we are over.

I am not at all pretending that this is a time of continued peace and prosperity. Obviously, this political and economic time finds us stunned, befuddled, unprepared. What I am saying is that the fat lady who sings to signal the end of our story hasn't even been born yet. We are not even close to finished.

So let's all wait a minute. Yes, we have been replaced by an android industrial society belonging to an increasingly foreign "young." Yeah, we're pretending that we are organically a part of it all while being phased off the dehumanizing grid. Okay, okay. So ultimately our past life experience is over. Gone is the mid-century promise and picture of "the good life" (which makes Tony Bennett a national treasure).

While any thinking person knows that there is an enormous amount of change to digest, featuring the extreme departure from boomer childhood's insanely optimistic moment in the mid-century sun, we are particularly hard hit by financial mid-life challenges. In the words of John Lennon, "Nobody told us there'd be days like these."

Now, our job is to bring forth the internalized genius -- opportunity, music, innovative self-expression -- we grew up absorbing, and yes, rewrite a new history. Easier said than done, but necessary.

We could start with refusing to let our gravediggers hasten our psychological and spiritual death. When you encounter those boomer cultural "death notices," whether written for The New York Times or appearing in any of thousands of questionable Internet rags, spit it out. It is enough to digest real change. We do not need to swallow negative projections.

This growing collection of articles in the form of "factual" forecasts and the flood of assured announcements of a "boomer crash" might as well be called, "Boomers in Hell." It is, as always, up to each one of us to question the "authority" of these pronouncements.

While facing bitter social truths, as well as the change of the world as we knew it, we must also personally step away from others who insist on broadcasting our financial ruin and cultural irrelevance.

It is essential for boomers to deliberately build personal strength -- not the false, enraged entitlement of victimization -- from which to begin the daring new endeavor of defining and living a meaningful second act.