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The Baby Boomer – Millennial Connection


Still reeling from the uncertainty of the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the subsequent Nazi war machine that put the civilized world on life support from 1939 to 1945 – young adults, the parents-to-be, began ‘reeling’ in bedrooms all over North America and parts of Europe like never before.

woodstock-poster The boom of bombs and war machines were slowly fading, but their echoes would remain forever etched in the very fabric of their lives. Like a pebble thrown into a pond, creating ripples across the surface, it spread – but these ripples went further, transcending oceans and giving birth to a generation known as the Baby Boomers – all 77+ million of them born between 1946 and 1964 in the US and Canada alone.

Fast forward to the early 1980s and those post-war children were now having babies of their own, giving birth to a generation we know as the ‘Millennials’, born roughly between 1982 and 1998. Millennial babies have now surpassed the Baby Boomer generation in number – in what was known for decades as the largest living generation. In 2015 a US census showed population estimates of those ages 18-34 at 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers ages 51-69 who were still alive.

peace-love-bus Baby Boomers were known for many things, but if we compare them to Millennials today between the ages of 20 to 30 – there are many striking similarities.

Millennials have been unfairly stereotyped as the lazy, ‘me-me-me’ generation, and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. This generation is not all about partying. Despite experiencing one of the worst recessions in history, with massive layoffs, and corporate corruption they have become entrepreneurs and thinkers, opening startup businesses at a much earlier age than Baby Boomers did – and at twice the rate.

Millennials are not jumping from job to job because they are a ‘generation lost’ who cannot commit – they see how corporations lay off employees in huge numbers and realize a life long career dedicated to one company is a perilous route to follow. They are actually being intelligent.

osheaga-posterIronically, the Baby Boomer Generation is responsible for the economic crashes and political corruption which Millennials now face. From hippies to the ‘buy-buy-buy’ generation of material hunger and need for bigger, faster and shinier things – many Baby Boomers lost focus. But history still has to be written for Millennials in that area.

Yet the important connection remains. Remember the 1960s? When Boomers were called the lazy, uninspired ‘hippy’ generation – with no goal but to enjoy the ‘Summer of Love’ in 1967 and the counterculture of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll? And let’s not forget Woodstock during the summer of 1969. Today Millennials attend festivals like Coachella, Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Osheaga. All not that far off from Woodstock. Boomers brought forth eastern yoga and meditation practices – Millennials have not only adopted the practice, but have brought it even further. Instead of the ‘granola’ generation, we now have the ‘vegan’ generation.

Many Baby Boomers resisted the ‘suburban’ model of life and all that came with it. The ‘anti-establishment’ movement fought for change, equality and justice. They fought against war, they fought for the rights of all disadvantaged people – and the ‘they’ were people from all cultural and ethnically diverse backgrounds who worked together. Student activists took over college campuses and organized massive demonstrations – a wave of uprisings very similar to the protests taking place today. Today Millennials have taken on the same causes and continue the fight for social justice and change. They have marched in protest, with thousands taking to the streets or occupying sites.

In 1968 Baby Boomers were at the forefront of the Women’s Liberation and Feminist Movement. Millennials, albeit not to the same degree or way, are still holding the torch. Young women today are simply forging ahead, getting degrees and pursuing careers in politics, business, science, education, police work and more – all part of what the Baby Boomer movement fought for. Although they paved the way and there is still much work to be done, the connection is clear.

Today, Millennials handle things differently, being born into a rapidly, advancing technological world. Their protest signs are not seen as much on the streets as they are on social media. This techno-savvy generation is using tools that can reach millions of people and spread globally in seconds. But the issues they stand up for have a deep connection to the issues Baby Boomers of the same age had.

They are socially conscious and use the internet as their voice for a call to action. They are aware of the divide between some cultures, languages and religions. They see the gap between the rich and the poor and how the middle class has almost disappeared. They see the huge differences between right wing conservatism and left wing free-thinking. They see the racism, terrorism and extremism engulfing their world – and like their Boomer predecessors, they want to do something about it. The dots connect.

Frustrated by what was going on with suburban living, some Boomers moved as far away as they could, building communes and living as ‘one with nature’ – and ‘smoking’ a lot of it. Today a significant number of environmentally-conscious Millennials are ‘moving off the grid’ to remote places, setting up solar-powered, enviro-friendly ‘communities’. The birth of both generations were preceded by recessions and great depressions, giving rise to young adults who wanted to make the world a better place. The only real difference is today’s access to the World Wide Web.

Aging Boomers began to fear for their jobs as the presence of Millennials grew in the work force. They didn’t have the ‘tech-savvy’ mindset and were resistant at first, but things are quickly changing. Many older Boomers have now become quite adept at using the internet and social media – and not just for posting pictures of their grandchildren, puppies and plates of food. They are innovative and also now understanding how to use their voices in a global world. More and more Boomers have moved on to second careers more in line with their original values. We see the perceived gap between the generations closing. Boomers and Millennials are starting to work together – they are connecting.

The majority of Millennials today are pro-active and wide awake, giving Baby Boomers renewed hope towards the fulfillment of the dreams they are both connected by. Statistics encouragingly show that Millennials have become the most environmentally responsible generation to date.

It is a connection that can bring about the change we must make happen in order for our world to survive. Make love, not war. Peace-out. Get the connection?

by Bonnie Wurst – Toronto Times – totimes.ca

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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