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They've Got it Made, But Wonder Where They Went Wrong


This is the year the first wave of baby boomers turns 60. And oh, the boomer angst.

That's what the Washington Times newspaper called the wrenching regret and self-analysis that are gripping some of these graying boomers.

Sociologists define the baby boom as the post-World War Two years from 1946 through 1964, when the number of U.S. births surged, or boomed.

Many of those babies grew up to share the music, the weed and other drugs, the easy sex and anti-war fervor of the 1960s. Today, they're wistful and wondering how those idealistic times square with their corporate jobs and spacious houses in the suburbs.

Why, they muse, did they so meekly put away their tie-dye shirts and, as they might have once said, go to work for the Man?

As the Washington Times report points out, these are the same folks whom President John F. Kennedy challenged to ask what you can do for your country. Thousands joined the Peace Corps and political-action committees, and some spent their whole careers putting their youthful ideals into action. But many, many others drifted into what were considered real jobs and worried more about fixing their appearance than fixing the world.

How weird, how ironic, do they feel today, lustily singing along with a Pete Seeger protest song on the radio while driving home to their second wives or husbands in their luxury sedans?

They cast aside all that dreamy peace and love stuff in the name of having it all for themselves and their kids. Having gotten it, or a close approximation in material terms, they're wondering. If I have it all, is 'all' all there is?

Boomer angst.

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