Born at the Tail End of the Baby Boom, Tail-Enders or Cuspers have sometimes gotten a raw deal. The spoils have been gobbled up by our predecessors who grabbed all the attention, natural resources and opportunities. We can cry in our soup or look at the bright side. Here are a few rules that make the Tail-End work to your advantage. Those Boomers will be soooo jealous.
#1. Don’t begrudge your elder Boomers and all the focus heaped upon them as the oldest of the generation as they march into retirement and “old age”. Consider all the medical research they are succumbing to that will benefit you in 15 years and possibly prolong your life for another 20 or more.
#2. Don’t cut your hair, don’t change your wardrobe – you do not need to buckle to pressure to get an older hairstyle or way of dressing. Those embroidered blouses from the 70’s are blissfully back in style and you still look damn good in them. Your long tresses do not need chopping to suit your advancing years. There’s nothing more beautiful than a full head of flowing grey locks. Even hipsters admire your ability to manage this silver mane, hoping they too will one day have such a fine head of hair.
#3. Enjoy the profits that the housing booms have provided – though the elder Baby Boomers often scarf down resources before we Tail-Enders can lay any claims, and have made the real estate market a fraught affair our entire lives, we have sopped up the gravy on the run up in prices along the way. It’s been a quiet clean up behind the leaders of the boom, but we’ve patiently taken our turn, buying then selling, moving up the housing food chain. Our homes have essentially been the nest egg we never earned, and we’re hoping to pass these bennies on to the next generation since their prospects are looking slimmer and dimmer.
#4. Be grateful we missed the draft. Seriously. We were too young, but our older boomer comrades were drafted, uniformed and shipped off to the jungle to endure a horrible fate in Vietnam. We stood by the sidelines and collected MIA bracelets, but were powerless to even protest or understand what was really going on. Everyone kept a watchful eye on the draft numbers and knew people with lottery numbers so low a chill would run down our spines with fear for our friends and neighbors, brothers and cousins, since the war might persist and more young men would be swept into service. It was a harrowing time with death and dismemberment a tangible reality. We avoided the aftershocks, the PTSD, the physical limitations and stigmas that veterans returned with, the abstraction of the war so distant for us tail enders to fully comprehend. Be thankful and remember our servicemen on Veteran’s Day and throughout the year. That could have been you.
#5. Learn from others mistakes. So what if we’re at the tail end. So what that we’re always getting the dregs from jobs to real estate. Look at the bright side. The Baby Boomers have made plenty of mistakes. We can learn from these…from not saving enough for retirement to staying in jobs for too long, to not taking enough vacation time when they could, the elder Boomers have made error upon error and have tipped us off to work arounds, so we can avoid their sloppy, misguided missteps.
#6. Don’t be bitter. It’s true. The first of the baby boomers took it all. They were born into a world charged with hope and renewal. When we Tail-Enders were born the moments of glory had passed and everyone was settling down into complacency. Of course, the civil rights movement and the age of Aquarius changed that stupor, but we didn’t get to participate in those either since we were still in grade school. But harping back and holding on to a bitter taste never ends well. We did profit from the path the Boomers laid and by the time we could enjoy the spoils, integration became the norm, and look, pot is almost legal across the US. That probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the Boomers and their persistence, so take a toke and sit back and relax.
#7. Don’t just mirror the Boomers, define the new Boomers. There’s still time for Tail-Enders to make their voices heard. We still have time to make an impact on world history, our own story in our own words, not the old Boomers’ Kumbaya theme song. We’re still young, and some of them, pushing 70+, can’t really claim that, now can they? Some of us are not even 60. Perpetually considered children by our still extant parents.
So let’s make our own Rules that out Rule their Rules:
- Make the most of the new ‘Age of Aquarius’ – we’re free now. The kids have graduated college for the most part. They have their own lives. Quite possibly you’re not financially responsible for anyone but yourself, for this brief moment in time. Travel, goof off, eat well, go to shows, get entertained, read books, go to sleep early, or stay up super late – because you can.
Let’s make up a new name for ‘retirement’. Retirement? Really? How depressing a word is that. This is not retirement. This is Freedom! I see a theme developing here. Freedom to work or not work. Freedom to stay home or stay out all night. Freedom to be peaceful. Freedom to join a cult. Freedom to avoid people. Freedom to walk in Times Square amongst the crowds. Freedom to eat caviar for dinner or lunch at 4. Freedom to go food shopping once a week or every day. Freedom to leave the car unwashed, the leaves unraked, the house a mess, or not.
- Don’t be concerned with aging gracefully. You’re not aging any faster than you used to. Just keep aging the same way. One day at a time. What is aging gracefully anyway? Accepting our fate? Not ruining it for the young people, because it’s their time? Screw that. It’s our time. I can act as old or as young as I feel, which might be different from day to day. Either way, that my prerogative.
- Reduce dependence on the medical field. I know, it’s an old people joke…how many days can you go without a doctor’s appointment? For sure, there are many among us, even in our youthful state, with serious medical issues. My husband among these. But the rest of us can help tip the scale in the other direction and see how long we can go without ever seeing a doctor. Ok, ok, preventive measures are excluded, but easy on the ‘evaluations’ and screenings. I’m low risk for breast cancer, so I stretch out the mammos to 18 months or so. They don’t cost me anything, directly, but we’re all paying for them, so just like stretching a budget, stretch out those screenings and we’ll all be saving time and money.
- Talk about stretching the budget, this one I would take seriously – we Tail-Enders are going to live longer. Longer than anyone born at the onset of the Baby Boom, so make sure your dollars can stretch for an extra decade or so. Don’t spend it all when you’re 60, or when you’re 100, though your consumptive behaviors will probably have slowed to a crawl, you’re still going to need healthcare, foot lotion and cable access – or will it all be online by then? Well, internet access then, or whatever else they come up with in the meantime that allows for cheap entertainment on some big box in your house.
- Finally, breathe. This isn’t a race to the finish. When you get there, wherever there is, you’re dead. So sit back, take a deep breath, plot your next year of work or freedom or fun and adventure, and remember, today’s the day, not tomorrow.
Also view this post on www.betterafter50.com