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A common theme among Baby Boomers, the 50-68 year olds born between 1946-64? Boomer challenges.


Do you fear a new door, or just walk up and knock? Go ahead and knock.

As kids we were challenged to make sense of our Depression-era parents.

We never will.

The magnitude of desperation in the 1930’s is too hard to grasp.

How desperate? Jump out the highest window desperate. Shoot yourself in the brain pan desperate.

Our parents were either suicidal, or raised by suicidal adults.

It was one of the big boomer challenges.

These same people went off to WWII, worked in war industries, read about war results.

If that wasn’t enough, a bunch of them got recalled for the Korean War.

They were our mentors, role models, and parents.  Along with baseball.

Baseball was the sport of young boomers.

College football and basketball were tops in the 50’s. The NFL and NBA you see today was just getting started.

Baseball was the king of sports and the Yankees wore the crown seven times between 1951-62.

Makes the Derek Jeter teams look weak.

Mickey Mantle was the batting champ, home run champ, MVP, Golden Glove, Triple Crown winner, and Male Athlete of the Year during that span.

If you weren’t the Mickey Mantle of your team, you were nothing.

The Mick hit the long ball, but most amazing was his time of 3.1 second time from home plate to first after taking a swing.

Mickey Mantle made a lot of baseball players feel like nobodies.

The first boomer wave, 1946-52, might have rebelled at every turn, but middle and late boomers saw the writing on the wall.

We tried hard. We had to for any chance of meeting boomer challenges like the Mick dropped on us.

Who matched up with Mantle? No one.

Who else was a boomer challenge?

Our first president was a grandpa.

No matter how often we heard the pale, bald, man on television described as the leader of the free world, the former Supreme Allied Commander in WWII, a former Ivy League college president, it was hard to believe.

Eisenhower looked too much like my Grandpa.

Then came Kennedy.

The most powerful man in the world changed from a grandpa to a dad?



The new daddy brought a young socialite to the White House and America was never the same.

JFK had kids our age or younger.

There’s John-John crawling around the Oval Office.

There’s Caroline on her dad’s lap.

It seemed perfect, like a launch pad role model family for our formative years.

The world of music and art and Nobel Prize winners found their way to Washington, D.C.

And we were all headed to the moon.

It was youth. It was smart. It was just what we all needed to get more involved.

And it all stopped on a fall day in Dallas, Texas.

After JFK’s death another old man took over.

LBJ came to Washington on Franklin Roosevelt’s coattails.

He turned out to be as heart attack prone as Eisenhower, but didn’t have Ike’s experience to run Vietnam better.

Boomer challenges got worse with the next guy.

Richard Nixon was Eisenhower’s vice president. His Vietnam ideas were worse than Johnson’s.

It took the stand-in Presidency of Gerald Ford to shut that war down.

The boomer challenge from LBJ to Ford was staying in school. Draft dodging became a game of numbers.

You could go to Canada. Live on the road and off the grid. Or make yourself unfit for service.

Some did whatever it took to avoid the Vietnam body bag waiting for them.

Boomers may see a pattern when they reflect on years from 1980 forward.

Millennials are now more numerous than boomers.

The future is nothing like we imagined.

Do you feel like a Depression-era adult? Desperate and at wit’s end?

Chances are your parents have either passed, or in the lifestyle of a medically managed illness.

Your kids are buried under college debt in a weak economy.

And you’re not feeling so good? Why would you expect different?

Time to step up to the next boomer challenges.

You are the Sandwich Generation. Nothing matters more from here on out.

More than your vacation timeshare.

More than your next cultural trek through European churches and castles and libraries.

Forget all that for a moment and consider this:

Your job is service to mankind, boomer. Your parents and your kids, those kinds of mankind.

Do it right and a new world emerges from what looks like the flotsam and jetsam trailing you around like the remains of the Titanic.

Once you help others get what they need, the tables run and you get what you need.

It may not be what you want, but once you try for others, you get what you need.

That’s the message. Now comes the doing part.

Go ahead. Do it.

That door at the top that looks so ominous? Give it a knock.

You never know who’ll answer.






About David Gillaspie
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