This article interested me since I’m on the leading edge of the Boomer generation. Where exactly are we leading?
When we were born, we led the country into a building boom. We overcrowded the schools, city apartments and sent our parents in droves to new communities in the suburbs. (not mine, but many others)
We descended on the colleges in great numbers and the oldest of us found jobs readily available because of the baby bust that preceded us. Those coming up next found us clogging their path.
We provided manpower for the draft, and participants for demonstrations. And we didn’t trust anyone over 30.
As it turns out, compared to the “Greatest Generation” that fought WWII or the “Lost Generation” born between the wars, we just may be the sickest generation.
Of course, it depends on your perspective. Personally, I feel very fortunate, whether because of genetics, lifestyle or just plain luck. You can never generalize from personal experience. Everyone knows someone who defies the odds or doesn’t fit the norm, the outliers of the normal curve.
Yet, they say that as a group, Boomers are sicker than previous generations.
I wonder about the self-reporting factor. We have always had very high expectations. Although I don’t take any medication and fortunately do not have to cope with a chronic illness, I probably would say that my health is “good,” maybe “very good.” But excellent?
I would think about how my pollen allergies keep me from running outside many days of the year, and the supply of OTC antihistamines in my cupboard. Then there’s that albuterol inhaler in my purse. Sometimes, it passes the expiration date without ever being used, but I never know if I’ll get stuck with a smoker and no means of escape or maybe come upon a construction area while stuck in a traffic jam, so I carry it.
Still, I can’t miss the much larger number of “handicapped” parking places and mobile shopping carts than there used to be. Is it that my generation needs these things in greater numbers than previous groups or are we just more vocal about demanding them?
We can’t ignore the evidence that we’re heavier than our parents were. It’s a recent development that hospital equipment has to be super-sized to care for the increasing size of patients.
In the 50s we were the tallest nation on earth. Now that honor belongs to the Netherlands. We’re the heaviest country on earth.
Developments in medicine keep us all living longer. Are we going to live longer, but sicker? We Boomers have greatly affected society at every stage as we moved through our lives. I hope we don’t have a burdensome, negative effect at the end of it.