As a baby boomer myself, one of "The Sandwich Generation", I spend a great amount of time talking with other boomers. Quite often we talk about the problems baby boomers face on a daily basis. Of course, we also reminisce. I've found that baby boomer issues and problems seem to be consistent, usually centering on relationships, careers, marriage, family, divorce, relationships after divorce, and parenting our parents.
Often after such conversations with other baby boomers my mind starts racing. I begin to recall the many issues, problems, challenges and life changing events that I've personally been faced with, lost a lot of sleep over, and with the help of others worked through in my midlife years.
I'm no different than most baby boomers. I've had my share of ups and downs. I've had many sleepless nights and many times I just didn't want to get out of bed in the morning knowing all the anger and challenges I'd be going through that day.
I found it was easy for me to say I wanted big change in my life, but saying it didn't make it happen. Doing what's needed for lasting results takes a commitment and work. You see the sandwich generation likes instant gratification. We typically buy such things as toys, cars, boats, houses, and expensive vacations to feel better. These very expensive and very temporary fixes help mask our stress, anger and pain. Afterwards, the joys vanish quickly and our problems are still there. The bigger picture is that our baby boomer issues and baby boomer problems linger, and even become amplified. I don't even what to think about how many years I've taken off my life stressing over and worrying about those issues.
It wasn't until I was at the lowest point in my life that I made a commitment, a promise to myself that my life was going to be better and different. As scary as it was to ask for help, I finally threw my hands up in the air and started searching for the help I needed. Why did I wait so long? It was because my mindset at the time that kept me stuck. It took so long to realize that if I could have done it on my own, I would have done it. Duh! That was a lesson I'll never forget.
What kind of common baby boomer issues, problems and challenges did I personally experience and worked through?
- Difficult marriage: Being in a long term marriage that was not going in the right direction. We were growing apart as opposed to growing together. We took each other for granted. We struggled as we tried to communicate. We kept sweeping the baby elephant under the rug until it got too big to handle.
- Divorce: My 23 year marriage ending in divorce. That was a huge loss. A midlife divorce is hard. Relationships after divorce are difficult.
- Children's pain: Confronting and dealing with the relationship with my children during and after divorce. The effects of divorce on adult children are greater than we generally realize.
- Parenting my parents: How to think about and handle being the parent to both my parents as their health simultaneously began and continued to fail.
- Midlife career change: Then a career change as I was asked to leave what I was doing to instead run the family business because dad was no longer able.
- Losing a job after 50: Then another baby boomer's nightmare, losing a job I expected to have until retirement. I felt no one would hire me or, "Now what am I suppose to do for a living in my 50's?"
- Death of parents: Struggling with the death of both my wonderful, loving and giving parents.
- Intense grief: Let's not forget the grieving period for my loss. Grief is a process that must be worked through or one lives the rest of their life stuck in the grief.
I'm sure there were other challenges, but as many boomers know our memories are not as sharp as they used to be.
From one baby boomer to another, I want to say that there is hope for a bright and successful future. I'm living proof. I love the life I have now. I've been in your shoes and I've committed to helping other boomers work their way out from where they are now to the life they want.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Accept: Accept that if you could have made the changes you want on your own, you'd have done it by now.
- Take action: Take responsibility for your happiness. Don't rely on others to make you happy.
- Put yourself first: Lasting change starts with you first.
- Commitment: Make a commitment, a promise, to yourself and truly live it.
- Get help: Get the help you need from someone who has been in your shoes and has a success story of their own.
- Don't quit: Never give up! You deserve better than what you have now.