Dorothy Heller

A writer, blogger, mother, medical interpreter, bookaholic, grandmother, shower singer, translator, tea-aholic and an aspiring songwriter. Still writing her novel and wants to write at least one good song.

Boomer’s Lament: Over Thirty and Broke

“Don’t Trust Anyone Over Thirty.” If you’re reading L.I.L., you’re old enough to remember this slogan–or young enough to discover this piece of cultural history—attributed to social activist Jerry Rubin, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, or Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Or the lesser known civil rights activist, Jack Weinberg of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Take your pick from this pantheon of Sixties heroes.

Boomers entered puberty in the Sixties with all the arrogance and self-righteousness of youth, convinced that they would never grow old. Now, all their children are over thirty. Or forty. And people under thirty aren’t “tuning out, turning on and dropping out”—as advised by psychedelic guru Timothy Leary. They’re busy getting rich.

It’s the Boomer’s Lament. (Also a song by Oakland group, Tight Pajamas). We’re now well over the age of the people we couldn’t trust—and most of us haven’t changed the world or even acquired a measly few hundred millions as compensation.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley is filling up with gazillionaires who were under 30 when they struck it rich—Zuckerberg, the Google guys, Instagram, Yahoo’s founders, and other overachieving youngsters. L.I.L. won’t even mention Bill Gates.

I was shocked when I found out that the son of a family friend, who I remember as a sweet, shy, freckle-faced child from countless play dates and birthday parties, had sold his startup to Facebook (Meta). At twenty-seven years old.

My son finally left his law firm to do his own startup when he was twenty-eight! Just in time. What was he thinking, just earning six figures? Now, his company may also be cashing in.

And here we are, Boomers and Broke, in our fifties and sixties and seventies, desperately doggy-paddling to keep our heads above water in this Brave New World of roller coaster economics. Many of us are single, having lost spouses to divorce or death. Our parents are gone, or we’re the ones who have become the caretakers. We’ve survived foreclosures, raised offspring, paid college tuitions the size of the annual budget of a small country. Or still paying off the Parents Plus loans. And some of us are still struggling with what we’ll be when we grow up.

We can try to console ourselves with moral superiority. We can tell ourselves that these infant gazillionaires are just materialistic little nerds, while we were trying to change the world.

Unfortunately for this particular bottle of vintage sour grapes, there is now a whole generation of baby-cheeked philanthropists who are using their gazillions to fund good causes. And with millions of dollars to back them up, they might possibly effect more social change than we did by getting stoned, demonstrating, and issuing manifestoes and proclamations.

At least we still have the music, even if it’s now consigned to the “classics” category–as in “old.” “The answer, my friend, is blow’in the wind…the answer is blowing in the wind.”

Is it all over for us, the over-thirties who feel underachieved? Not if an organization called Encore(CoGenerate) has anything to say about it. Encore encourages second and third acts in life—new careers and avocations for Boomers to reinvent themselves—“to combine purpose, passion, and a paycheck.”

Because Boomers are the first generation of seniors that defines itself as not old, or even aging—we’re just chronologically challenged.
We’re all set on living to an advanced and inconvenient old age, cluttering up the landscape for as long as there are Chia seeds stuck in our teeth, flax in the cupboard, and vitamins to take.

We are a new market, just waiting to be mined.

L.I.L. is calling on the ranks of the grizzled and gray-haired to jump onto the venture capital bandwagon–for the gnarled, the wizened, and the wrinkled to ease into their old acid washed non-designer jeans and tie-dye t-shirts– and invent new products, software and services for us, the chronologically challenged.

If we’ve bypassed some of the necessary skill sets, we can always partner with our children. Better yet, grandchildren.

One new venture—and it’s just the tip of the iceberg—are gyms and personal trainers for Boomers and beyond, with such new sports as “Cane Fu.” Or “Walker Wagging.” Can Jackie Chan and Mick Jagger (now Sir Michael Philip Jagger) be far behind as product sponsors? And what about all the unlimited market potential of hemp and marijuana products? We Boomers were the original stoners.

Let’s reconnect with our Inner Youth—visionary, sassy, spunky. We Boomers were the children who inspired the bumper sticker: “Kids leave home while you still know everything”—then had to put it on our own cars when we became parents.

Who invented the notion that kids could take over the world and change everything? Boomers!

Let’s dust off our picket signs and turn them into Power Point demonstrations. And demonstrate in front of venture capitalists instead of our alma maters.

V.C.’s—the new slogan is: “Don’t fund anyone under thirty”—(unless they have a graying partner, preferably attired in an original Black Panthers or Che Guevara t shirt). Check their I.D., in case there’s some wily youth in a gray wig, trying to fake it. Watch out for youthful fraudsters–new, mass produced Che t-shirts are readily available on Amazon. We Boomers are the real deal. Accept no substitutes.

Let’s turn this lament into a landslide. Boomers, arise! We may not be able to turn back the clock, but we still may be able to make some money.

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