2014 was a year of many landmark events, including the 60th anniversary of the release of Elvis Presley’s first single, the 75th anniversary of the introduction of television and, notably, the 50th birthdays of the youngest members of the baby boomer generation!
The baby boomer generation, defined as the people born during the post-war population increase between 1946 and 1964, is impressive in that it spans two decades, a much longer timeframe than any other defined generation to date. It is the only generation to be defined by its birth rate instead of other significant life experiences – for instance, one defining moment of the “silent generation” was when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and planted the U.S. flag. Interestingly, if we look at life events and characteristics other than birthrate, we can divide the baby boomer generation into two distinct groups: the youngest boomers who are now 50 and the oldest boomers who are now 68.
Author Jonathan Pontell addresses this division in his book, Generation Jones. Pontell coined the phrase “Generation Jones” to describe the younger boomers born between 1954 and 1965. The inspiration for the generational name came from the fact that the age group popularized the slang term “jonesin’”, meaning to yearn.
To put this generational gap into perspective, we can look at the highlights of the 60’s that older boomers experienced versus those in the 70’s that Generation Jones experienced. When older boomers were teenagers, cinema in the 60’s showcased historical drama, psychological horror and romance. The Jonesers’ teen years had the excitement of a renewed Hollywood at a new creative high point with developments in genres like thrillers but also advancements in stunning visual effects. When it came to music, older boomers experienced the rebellious nature of the beginning of rock n’ roll as children and were ready to head to Woodstock by the time they turned 18. Alternatively, the younger boomers were just being born and coming into a world that was tired of the fighting and wars of decades past. They sought refuge in the relaxing dance music of the Disco movement, which was unique in that it linked the rebels of the 60’s to the hippies of the 80’s.
Fast-forward to present day and the generational differences are still evident. Rose, an older boomer aged 68, has three grown sons and teenage grandchildren. Gene, on the other hand, a younger boomer who just turned 50 this year, only has teenage children.
It is remarkable to think that our nation’s youngest baby boomers are getting even closer to retirement. Wishing all of our boomers a healthy 2015!