As a great ambassador of our generation once proclaimed, “What, me worry?” Eloquently stated and loaded in meaning, Mad Magazine’s spokesman Alfred E. Newman best describes what it is to be a baby boomer. In this four-part series, we tell the story of the energetic and progressive boomer generation from the point of view of we the boomers. We talk about how we’re shaping the future – and look at the indelible mark we have made on American history. How We Live From suburban bliss and adolescent angst to the “Me Decade” and beyond, this episode will look at how baby boomers have transformed society over the last half century. In the ’50s, post WWII America was littered with Baby Boomers. Our parents spoiled us with an instant access, suburban lifestyle that was a complete departure from their own upbringing. The world changed for us! In the ’60s, we fought to change the world to our liking and created our own youth culture. We were always told we were special and in those years, we proved it. In the ’70s, the rest of America finally caught up; our counterculture was suddenly pop culture. Everything we’d fought for came to pass. As the ’80s dawned, the economy was in the toilet. We picked it up, brushed it off, and made billions for America, and ourselves. Pundits cringed at the Sodom and Gomorrah America had become in the ’80s, so we slowed it down for the ’90s, and took the time to focus on what mattered in life…our own families. Today, we’re still going strong and living it up with the youthful exuberance that has defined us for the last five decades. Everyone expects us to retire, but guess what…that’s what our parents did, and we’ve never been the generation of convention. How We Play We’ve been pop culture prodigies since we were babies – consuming large amounts of movies, television shows, music, toys, and sports. We were the first generation to come of age with that powerful little box, the television. It fed us pop culture through an intravenous tube and is the one big reason that today we rule the entire entertainment industry. As kids, we watched Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy, we went to Disneyland, we watched the Beach Blanket movies and we listened to the rock music that helped drive a wedge between our parents and us. But as we grew older, we started using pop culture to tell people what we thought about the world. That’s why the ways we played have radically changed from the simplistic ’50s to the idealistic ’60s to the realism of today. How We Love From first dates to free love to marriage, children and beyond, sex is a subject close to our boomer hearts. After all, a whole lotta love created the tidal wave of us 76 million babies born between 1946 – 1964. We were the biggest population explosion in American history and we grew into a world where we made our love lives and relationships uniquely our own. We didn’t do anything by the book. We broke all the rules, flaunted our sexuality, burned our bras, experimented with sex, evolved with the shifting needs of our family structures, and completely refused to let aging get in the way of our romantic relationships. It’s our birthright to feel good and nothing is going to get in the way of us having a good time. How We Wire the World In the late ’40s and ’50s, we Baby Boomers grew up in the shadow of the Bomb. Clearly, Technology was awesome and scary, but then, so were we. The sheer size of our generation was so imposing that we made technology start answering to us. And it didn’t hurt that we were a bit spoiled too. Previous generations might have relied on science for boring concepts like survival, but not us. At all stages of our lives, we’ve demanded that science and technology come up with new gadgets to enthrall us. So when the Space Race showed us a new future in the 1960s, we didn’t just want picture phones and jetpacks, we kind of felt entitled to them. Of course, those things were slow in getting to the market, so in the ’70s, we started to shape technology ourselves to fit our needs (and as Boomers, we had a LOT of needs). In the ’80s, we developed and embraced gadgets which made us more productive at work, but more lazy at home. It all led up to the wired world of the ’90s and beyond, where our innovations made our lives ever easier–and just a bit confusing.
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