Saturday, January 1, 2011

"When I'm 65............"

The dawn of the year 2011 is upon us. While it's considered a new year, it seems that the world faces the same dilemmas. War, poverty, hunger, and crime don't take a break from year to year, but we hope against hope that the new year will change at least some of that. While it's S.O.S. (Same Old Shit) for most of the world, it's the dawn of a new age for the "Baby Boomers" in the USA. The first of our generation is marking it's 65th birthday beginning today, and it's predicted that another 10,000 will follow each day thereafter. 65 years of age meant retirement to our parents, and we felt the same would be true for us.

Of course we believed we could change the world when we were growing up. Our dreams were loftier than our parents had. While they merely wanted a job, a home, and family, we yearned for more. We wanted to reach for the stars. No ordinary factory jobs for us; we were going to be astronauts, activists, actors and actresses. We grew up watching television, and saw the wonders of the age unfold before us. Our dreams were bigger, and grander than our parents could ever imagine!

By the 1960's, we believed that we could change the world through peace, love, and understanding. We believed that we could bring the world together as one, and move humanity out of wars, and poverty. Sadly, the dream didn't last nearly long enough.

We watched ourselves become copies of our parents. Our lofty ideals gave way to the reality of a weekly paycheck. Jobs were plentiful back then, and we always had that magic age of 65 to look forward to when we could finally take a well deserved rest. We worked for people from our parents generation, and we were amazed that we began to make more than they did! The sky was the limit, and we were going higher than we ever thought possible! Perhaps we really did change the world!.

As the years went by, two things happened. First, some of our generation chucked the blue collar existence for dreams of the boardroom. They became the CFO's, Wall Street Bankers, and Executive Directors that would shape our future. Secondly, our children entered the workforce. We saw them as lazy and undependable workers, and fretted as to "what kind of parents did these kids have?"

The new "kids" didn't respect us, didn't listen, and thought they were above any manual labor. They were skilled at video games, and not much else. Why couldn't they be more like us??

Meanwhile, our generation's CFO's and executives took over Wall Street and it's banks, and made billions off the economy, and their own generation. Future historians will call them "The Dicks".

Our generation was headed towards the "perfect storm" of the Wall Street Meltdown. We were told to invest in financial instruments to secure our retirement. As we got older, age 65 got closer, and our generation knew they wanted a secure future for ourselves; after all, we earned it!

When the meltdown of 2008 hit, the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of our generation were destroyed. Retirement would be unfunded, and no one was going to get that money back. It seems that we had a chance for "the good life", but we killed it.

And so, as our generation reaches retirement age, many of us have to keep working to pay for what we have. We have been living on credit for so many years, that we may never get all our debt paid off. Unlike our parents, who left their jobs with no mortgage, no debt, and no worries, we face the same dilemma facing as our working children.

"I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go!" We sure screwed up, didn't we?

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