I’m proud to be a Baby Boomer, because of all the historical implications my generation has had. Not the usual stuff about living through the Vietnam war and rock and roll and Kennedy and civil rights and the space race (all of which is true), but more the fact that simply having such a large cohort of people growing up at the same time forced society and industry and business and culture to change to accommodate us all.
Bill Clinton, who’s the quintessential boomer — the first avowed rock and roller (OK, so maybe playing Fleetwood Mac for campaign music isn’t hardcore, and he didn’t “inhale,” but he’s still more like us, than, say, the first George Bush or Ronald Reagan) who moved into the White House — turns 60 this week, and the BBC had this interview with the guy.
I’ve unabashedly celebrated my boomerness all my life. My pal Leland Rucker and I co-authored The Toy Book, a history of Baby Boomer era toys, and I was born in 1957, the year that had the biggest birthrate in the history of the world.
I know, I know, a lot of people, including a lot of boomers but definitely younger people, are sick of boomers being all nostalgic about their youth and thinking their era was the best ever. I’m not sure anymore that it was the best ever (the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s were the years of my youth, college and early adulthood).
But I will say that it remains the period that I think back on, for myself, as the years that influenced me the most and instilled the values I live my life by. Yes, I like a lot things about those years. No, I don’t want to go back in time to that era… at least, not often.
I like living today too, and find a lot to love and enjoy and know that 30 years from now, for instance, the early days of the Internet will seem quaint and old-fashioned.
But it’s been fun watching my generation grow up with me. I rooted for Clinton when he became President. For all his flaws, I agreed with his politics (mostly) and I thought — and still think — he has incredible charisma and leadership qualities.
And, I loved that he was of my generation. Anyone who’s younger may hate that, but when someone who’s 25 or 30 today becomes President and topples the older generation in 30 or 40 years, I think they might feel something of the same realization, that they’ve now come of age.
It’s corny, but when Clinton played his kinda lame-o sax, I felt that coming of age. It felt like we’d arrived where we’d been heading for all of the ’60s and ’70s, and although there was still a lot of work to do, and there still is, it seemed a little easier to do the work now that we had one of our own as top dog in the country.
And, the boom hasn’t played out yet. I’m looking forward to seeing where we all end up.
Happy birthday, Mr. President (<-- this itself is a boomer-era reference, huh?).