Share on Google+

I Am Not a Baby Boomer

Every few months or so, I am made instantly furious. There will be an article or website that makes a blanket statement about “baby boomers.” It usually says something about their selfishness or ingratitude or whatever. I usually agree, then I’ll read the details, where I invariably find that “baby boomers” are defined in these articles as being born between mid-1946 to 1964.  This range is repeated by the U.S. Census Department.

 And that’s what makes me furious… the idea that I, born in 1961, am a “baby boomer” is ridiculous. 

My older sisters, born in 1948 and 1950, were baby boomers. They were born into that post-WWII time of plenty, with a house in a suburb over-run by mobs of kids, with a  school system where the sciences were emphasized so we could keep up with the Russians in the space race. In high school, they witnessed the arrival and the hoopla surrounding the Beatles. They wore bell-bottoms and had a flip on their hair and were in college during the Summer of Love. Our parents could afford to put them through college. They studied things like teaching and art, with no one pressuring them to major in something that would allow them to make more money.

My early life experience was completely different from theirs. I was born into a recession, where my father was laid off from work for months at a time; hot dogs were all we could afford to eat. I learned about the “energy crisis.” There were few kids in my neighborhood; my elementary and high schools were extremely poor. I was seven years old during the Summer of Love, not exactly old enough to be part of a revolution. I had to work multiple jobs through college. There wasn’t any booming when I was young.

Some reports would have the year 1961 being part of the Generation X, but I tend to think of them as the kids I hired to work for me at the coffeehouse I used to own. Their parents were boomers and the kids spent a lot of time trying to find ways to be cooler than their parents. Since those parents were living in communes and making acid in bathtubs when they were in college, the kids just couldn’t keep up. So they did what they could to annoy the folks: they listened to disco. 

I’m not the first person born in the early 1960s to find the label of baby boomer completely inappropriate. “Generation Jones” is the answer to that. Born between 1954 and 1965, it is a generation characterized by pragmatism, skepticism, and a certain yearning. The term was coined by cultural historian Jonathon Pontell to label the between generation. 

As a generation belonged to my our President of the United States, Barack Obama, I hope that it starts to get more respect, and we stop being called “baby boomers.”

 

Comments

Hilary Newell's picture

I was also born in 1961, and I often feel the same way. I doubt that they will stop calling us baby boomers though. My kids think I wore hip huggers, bell bottoms, and flowers in my hair, but it was actually their father, who falls squarely in the boomer category, who had the pony tail to his waist and wore outrageous bell bottoms several decades ago. 

I was born in 1962 and have never heard I was considered a baby boomer ...til now! We grew up watching the Brady Bunch, while Boomers were burning draft cards.

Baby boomers still bloom! According to a set of recent studies, more and more people approaching retirement are ill-prepared for it. Most are not even conscious of the true costs that lay ahead of them. As a consequence, the custom of leaving a financial legacy for you kids is quickly becoming a quaint custom of history. 

 I was born September 26,1962. I don't remember if I have ever heard of the Jones generation, maybe I have.It too infuriates me being called baby boomers and thank you for the clarifcation. I'm in too good of shape to be considered a baby boomer and I have had people not believing my age (and no there was no operation done,I took pride in taking care of myself,) we raised four kids,who has money after that. We couldn't even go on a vacationI. have two points, one, I was told I was a shadow boomer, for I was way after the ww2,baby boom, then I was told that anyone born after Korea and before Viet Nam was a baby boomer. It's very frustrating and I have continued to search for years for the truth,so again thank you.gb.

Thank you for your comment.  I too am born in 1962 and have never felt like I was part of the baby boomer generation.  I always thought I was generation x, until I did read an article that claimed I was a trailing boomer.  I thought the cohort group born between 1961 to 1964 was generation jones.  Anyone born after 1960 doesn't have the memories of the events and experiences that happened during the 1950's and 1960's simply because we were not born yet or too young!