Reaching the end of my boomer ‘ain’t we cool’ rope. Rant on. Got one of those ’10 baby boomers inventions that rocked our world’ e-mails today from a party who will remain nameless, but wanted to be credited should I publish it. It felt familiar. Why, it was remarkably similar to a 2010 Reuters reprint of an article: Baby boomer inventions that changed the world which itself was an excerpt from a book by Patrick Kiger. No clue how many articles pre-date that one that noted the Jarvik heart, WWW, the Apple II, DNA, blah, blah, blah. The self-aggrandizement (and marketing promotional opportunity) of boomers and those who wish to make a buck off of them – it's enough to make one gag. And, as they say, I ARE one, and yeah, my business supposedly targets that demographic.
Boomers are not a movement. I am so tired of reading about people who have virtually nothing in common with each other except a very broad age spectrum of problems and opportunities that barely distinguish them (other than sheer volume) from any other period in history. Not a special interest group, boomers are a poorly organized hodgepodge of special interests, many of which don’t overlap. The one guaranteed descriptor you can say about them (and every age group that precedes and will follow) is that they will become older, one year at a time, and it is inexorable until death – which could happen sooner or later, based on the latest life expectancy data. Maybe they have aging parents, the need to find or keep a job, a home equity line, an expanded waistline or a thinning bank account, an adult kid in the guest room and a pet that doesn’t listen to them. Maybe they are not digital natives – they’re immigrants. But are those the kind of common interest one can form a self-congratulatory club around?
Move up-age to keep up with the times as they change. Are you writing for boomers, addressing the ‘boomer market’? So are you targeting 50-year-olds or 35-year-olds? What’s the difference -- movie preference, choice of restaurants? Why does AARP’s unfocused lens aim itself at the 50+? This arbitrariness seems particularly inappropriate in this age of lengthening life expectancies. If you live to age 50, the odds are in your favor that you will live until you are 65. Okay, if you live until you are 65, on average you have another 20 years to go (not factored by income, chronic illness, danger of your neighborhood or anything else). So let’s say you have a moderately decent income, only a few reasonably well-managed chronic diseases, and your house has been remodeled to be viable for a variety of complex futures. The upshot: you are probably going to hang in there into your 90’s and now half of your life now falls within AARP’s purview! Good for them, silly for you. Your 50-60 needs may not be identical to your needs between 90 and 100. Rant off.