When Did I Become Sweetie? – Baby Boomers
I thought I only was stopping to fill up my car on gas. A few weeks back, when getting gas for my car, I stopped at a new station/store. The sign on pump said to insert my chip credit card into the pump (as this station/store apparently no longer accepts credit card swipes), and fill up my tank. After filling up, I absentmindedly got in my car and drove off. About an hour later I met my business partner, Jack Beauregard, to chat about our services and programs for Baby Boomers and others facing major life changes. I went to the counter to order, reached for my credit card and couldn’t find it.
Panic ensued. I asked my partner for a few bucks to pay for my meal (green tea and chocolate chip muffin – I call them the yin and yang of breakfast). “Where could I have left my credit card?”, I kept asking myself. We chatted for a while, and then I remembered the chip reader at the gas station. I called the station and asked the woman answering (who sounded young), if anyone found it. She happily reported that the machine alerted her after I drove off and it was in the store’s safe. So I finished my meeting and headed back there.
“Here you go sweetie”, the store clerk said, as she handed me the credit card (the store clerk was in fact a young woman, maybe late 20s – early 30s). I smiled weakly, said thanks and walked back to my car. Of course what I heard was “here is your card you foolish old man”. Heavy sigh… Mind you I am “only 57”, but my hair is salt and pepper, and a lot thinner than my thick curly locks of 20 years ago. But when exactly does a man cross over from being called “sir” to “sweetie” by a young woman? Hmm…
Tail end of the Boomers. Being 57, I am what demographers might call the tail end of the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964). I once heard the author and satirist, P.J. O’Rourke split the boomers into four school “classes” – the Seniors were born roughly between 1946 and 1950, the Juniors 1951-1954, the Sophomores 1955-59 and the Freshman 60-64 (another example of us boomers clinging to youthful references). If you fast forward to 2018, that means about half of the “classes” are eligible for Medicare and many Social Security as well. That, my friends, means none of us is young, but does that make us old enough for young people to call us “sweetie” or “dear”? Somehow I think those terms might apply to the old (80s or 90s) among us, but to a person in their 20s, maybe being in your late 50s and 60s is “old”.
Maybe the real issue is that we Boomers struggle with getting older. While some fight it and stay in the workforce, others leave willingly, and still others accept it, but are filled with stress (even those with the financial means to not work for pay any longer). Maybe what we all need is a new playbook, since the Golden Years seems rather trite – ok for our parents and grandparents, but not as dynamic as working in a fulfilling career. I know a lot of folks who seem to be asking themselves, “What’s Next?”. How about you?
If you find yourself (or your clients express this feeling with you), asking “What’s Next?” for your life/career/business, you may enjoy reading Chapter One of the book 7 Principles for Living With Authenticity, click here to download it for free, or the image below