Fifty Years On – One Boomer’s Perspective

As a child in the 1950’s I often thought what life would be like fifty years on, especially when the new century started in the year 2000. It seemed so far away. Fifty years seemed a lifetime to a boy of ten. I am over sixty now and I wonder where the years went.

Age was always in the discussion. Why I’d be over fifty in the year 2000. Likely I would be married with children and working to support the family. What I’d be doing or where I’d be living, I had no idea; after all I was only ten years of age.

Some magazines of the time thought everyone would be riding in space cars and robots would be in every home. That sounded kind of neat. Many thought people would be working less and less, perhaps only a few days a week. Experts predicted more leisure time. Earlier retirement seemed a given based on predictions of experts.

The year 2000 is now past. We are ten years into the 21st century. Space cars don’t exist. The cars we drive have computers on-board controlling all the anti-pollution devices. They have global positioning systems (GPS) to help us find the mall. Some have video cameras on the rear to stop the driver from running over Suzie’s bicycle. Almost all have exotic sound systems to bombard us with favorite tunes as we speed down the highways and by-ways. Automobiles still do not have auto-pilot like airplanes. The driver still has to stay alert and awake.

Robots are not commonplace in our homes. The only one I know of is the vacuum that cleans floors by itself. It scoots around by-itself. Builders are wiring homes, so the owners can remotely control appliances and the furnace to cite two examples.

They are common in manufacturing plants. Robots even build cars in the new century.

In the working-world people work longer hours each day and more hours per week. People delay retirement longer and longer in this century. It seems many of us are fated to die at our desks.

There are so many “baby boomers” approaching old age and retirement that medical systems and pension plans are beginning to stress out. “Baby boomers” or “boomers” are the generation of children born post-Second World War, in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. We make up the largest segment of the population. The boomers toiled all our working lives, paid taxes, and contributed to pension plans, but now governments deem us a liability. It is not fair. Society should have planned for this day.

The retirement of older workers will create opportunities for younger generations. On the downside knowledge will be lost with the death and retirement of the boomers. More on this issue to follow.

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