As singles over 60, we’ve almost certainly been called a ‘baby boomer’ at some point in the past, and though the use of the phrase is widespread, if you’ve never looked into it before, it can be a confusing one. Just what is a ‘baby boomer’, anyway? Is it insult or a categorisation? Cultural term? Maybe something else entirely? Well, in this short guide we’ll get to the bottom of what the term means, so let’s dig in.
Put at its simplest, the term refers to those born between the years of 1946 and 1964. What’s so special about those decades, you ask? Well, during the post war period, there was a significant ‘boom’ in births in Western states thanks to a new state of peace. Those of us born during that period are now aged between 52 and 70, and we’re still the biggest generation on earth (though so-called ‘millennials’ are coming up fast).
It’s usually only with hindsight do we apply names to things, but the term ‘baby boomer’ was actually applied to the phenomenon with incredible pace. Nobody really knows who coined the term, but the Saturday Evening Post – a popular magazine in America at the time – celebrated the coming of the baby boomers in their November 2nd 1946 issue. It was initially an American term (here in the UK we were known as ‘the bulge’), though it spread and is now in common use around the globe.
Today, the phrase ‘baby boomer’ is used in much the same context as it always has, though thanks to the prevalence of boomers in the upper echelons on culture, commerce and society in general, it’s not unheard of for it to be used negatively.
It is, however, an extremely broad term. If you’re in your early fifties, would you consider yourself as having the same life experiences as somebody who just hit 70, and vice versa? Of course not. Those born at the very beginning were privy to some of the most devastating deaths in history, like Dr. Martin Luther King or President Kennedy, and those board towards the end of the generation weren’t capable of forming real memories by the time the Beatles broke up, enjoying their teenage years in the 1970s, rather than the late 50s.
Equally, the views, opinions and feelings of those lumped into the ‘baby boomer’ category vary wildly. Naturally then, some balk at the idea of being called a baby boomer. Needless to say though, it’s not an insult, it’s merely a broad categorisation that happens to lump us all in together, good and bad alike.
So, what does it mean to be a baby boomer? Well, it means that we’re all getting on in years, that’s for sure. But it also means that we’ve lived through some of the most politically, culturally, technologically and economically interesting decades of all time. We’ve witnessed musical genres being born, new technologies come and go at alarming rates, and we remember a world before we had the world’s information at our very fingertips. We’re blessed memories and experiences that will likely never come around again, and for that we have to be thankful.
It’s easy now to look back on the huge impact that our generation, that of the baby boomers, has had on the world. We may all be over 50, but it’s fair to say that we still have an outsized impact on the globe today.
How would you say being a baby boomer has shaped your life? Join us in the comments section below and share your stories, we’d love to hear them. Why let our experiences go to waste when we can share them with those around us?