29 July, 2010 (Julian calendar)
It was my mother's birthday yesterday. I think she's 70 now....I know, how utterly bizarre. She tried to hide her birth year from us, but my older sister and I once found what we thought was a birth certificate. It had '1940' written on it.
I'm reminded of that Simon and Garfunkel lyric: "How very strange, to be seventy." I suppose it's not just my mom, though - it's that whole boomer generation growing old. I like a lot of the 1960s and 70s bands and artists and we're all watching them go grey and leave the planet. In the next ten years, most of them will probably be gone. The rest of that generation will be retiring--it'll be a greying planet. Even us "Gen X-ers" (or whatever we're called now) are aging fast.
The boomers had a chance to really change the planet for better. Did they succeed? Yes and no. Many of them sold out their youthful ideals for the comfy life, making money and carrying on exactly as their parents had - only with much more convenience and better health. Some of them remained faithful, but seem a bit backward-looking by not completely changing with the times. Still, some great things coalesced from the turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s: the ecology movement, the potential of psychedelics for healing, mis-trust of most authority figures, the women's, civil and gay rights movements...and some amazing music!
One wonders how the world would differ from now, if they had kept striving and didn't give up at the end of the 1970s...when the tide turned against them. Did they 'allow' Reagan and Thatcher to gain power...or would that have happened anyway?
Most of the well-known boomer icons have gone now: Lennon, Jones, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Harrison, Barrett, Leary (o.k., he wasn't of their generation - but a boomer icon none the less), Hoffman, the Kennedys, Garcia...and on and on. I suppose most of the 'magic' left with them and the centre couldn't hold.
Anyway, here's to them - some of them may be self-induglent and egomaniacal about their contributions to this boondocks planet, but for a time, they didn't march to the tune of monotonous 'society'. Oh..and "Happy Birthday, Mom!"