5. 0. Fifty. Five. Zero. That can’t be right.
We’ll be hearing that a lot in the coming years. Actually, you may be saying it to yourself already. It’s been 50 years since you graduated (hopefully) from high school. People used to stay married that long. It’s half a century. Five decades. A lotta years.
If they were the best years of your life, then there’s a lot to look back on. If they were the worst years of your life, it’s easy to forget them. Some boomers are finding it easy to dive into this big, steaming bowl of nostalgia. Others would rather stay close to shore, watching from a distance but not diving into the reveries.
It’s easy to remember those high school years as carefree, but that’s only because we were able to ignore the history that was happening all around us. The Cuban missile crisis, school desegregation, assassinations, civil rights marches, urban riots, and the war in Vietnam marked the first half of the 1960s but I suspect most boomers in high school still did not understand just how scary the world could/would be. Our teachers, parents and relatives probably tried to tell us and pass on their wisdom honed from years of experience – but why would we be listening to old people? We knew everything.
Here we are 50 years later, and just as we redefined what it meant to be a baby boom teenager, now we are redefining what it means to be old, or make that older. Who is old? When should we stop working? Why should we stop working? Who are we to tell Mick Jagger, that’s enough? If you stop and think about the fact that we’re living longer and working longer than our parents, the 50 year thing begins to look more like a glass half-full or half-empty proposition.
I think it’s great that boomers are getting all reflective about those high school years, but as we like to remind you on our masthead, your whole life’s in front of you. You can spend some quality time looking back, but I’d rather work on making some quality time in the years ahead.
Oh, and one other thing. We will never look as good as we did in 1965.