Please note:I wrote this year back in 2002, so now many of us, myself included are retired, but all of us are still not happy about many of the things going on today.
A bunch of us in our late 40’s and early 50’s got together the other night, and after the evening was over I started thinking that many of us born in the 1950’s are in a crisis stage. People can’t understand why we are so angry and grumpy sometimes. This article discusses some of the issues we have with society today and might enlighten others (the younger set) as to why we seem so disillusioned, and out of sorts at times.
The consensus of the group was “is this all there is.” We’ve been working since our teens. A car costs more today than what our parents bought a house for. We work and work and still don’t have enough. Food costs have risen astronomically, along with utility costs, insurance costs, and housing costs.
We started laughing at one point and said we sound like our grandparents. However, it is a very sad commentary that what took place for our grandparents over numerous decades, has only taken 20 to 30 years to occur for us. The real scary thing is that salaries for many jobs have not changed over that twenty year period, while our expenses have skyrocketed, and increased one hundred fold.
We all became nostalgic when we talked about the things we used to do to relax. How so many of those things are gone, or we can’t afford to do them any longer. Our kids tell us we don’t have a clue about school, sex, music, or what’s going on in the world. Again, the laughter abounded with the music issues, but became very serious when we talked about the scary things kids do today, that we wouldn’t even have thought of when we were growing up. Killing teachers, and other students never entered our minds. We had respect for our teachers and those in charge.
The next thing we ranted about was our health. For some of us, the ravages of time have taken place… eyesight problems, arthritis problems, blood pressure problems, “the barnacles of life”. The discussion we had on the cost of health care was a lively and volatile one to say the least. Many of us who have had major illness problems also went ballistic with regards to the social security system, the disability system and Medicare system. The majority of us have worked since our teenage years. We were incredulous when it took over a year to get money from the social security system, especially when we see people playing the system who don’t deserve it.
All of us are still working. The majority of our group are either self-employed or independent contractors. Many of us run home-based businesses. While we are still disheartened with the rise in costs, at least our work environment is a happy one, and one we feel in control of. For those in our group still working in corporate America, that’s just an additional concern and stress for them. Is their job safe? Will they be downsized? Laid off? We went back and forth on the work issue and found that while running your own business is a risk, we have a lot more control over our destiny than if we worked for someone else, and hence, a lot less stress. Plus we can’t fire ourselves.
We all wondered where it will end. So many of us thought we would be retired by now, or at least contemplating it within the next ten to fifteen years. However, with all the medical advances and hundred-fold costs of so many things, that is not an option. Retirement is no longer something people do automatically between 55 and 65. Today, the retirement age is in the 70’s.
For many of us, the thought of another twenty or more years of working is a depressing one, in addition to making us very angry and grumpy to say the least.
Hopefully this article will provide some insight to those who wonder why the over 50 generation is so angry and grumpy at times.