BABY BOOMER BABBLE

 

Thanksgiving

 

This is the second Thanksgiving Day Babble I've done. Man, how time flies. I thought I just started writing this column, but it's already been over a year. I'm thankful to be able to write the column and have people read it.

In fact, we Boomers have a lot to be thankful for. Here are a few of my thankfuls:

I'm thankful I'm alive. Almost dying brings you face to face with a lot of things. All in all, it ends up being not so bad. You realize there is no other ending. No alternatives. There is no way out of it. The very end of our life stories are already written. Once you get over that, it's the living you start worrying about. Are you doing it well enough? Are you putting in enough time doing what you want? I'm thankful for having had the experience and having survived it. Although I could have really done without it.

I started a new career. Well, sort of. Teaching. Just a little bit at a time, but enough to keep me on my toes and out of trouble. I like being around younger people. I have friends my age and older friends, but I was really not in contact with many younger folks. It's good to have friends from the different age groups. It helps remind you where you once were and where you are headed. I always wanted to teach. It has been on my résumé for 30 years as a goal. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Speaking of teaching. I am thankful for the education I received and all the people who put up with my bull and callousness towards the process. I was never a very good student. I was the first in my family to pursue a college degree. I'm glad that I broke that barrier. As much as the knowledge, I was glad to be exposed to the diversity, the radicalization that comes with the knowledge of knowing there are other ways to see the world, other viewpoints, different from those I had been taught by my family and observed in my community. Education has helped me move my own family towards a more open, inclusive kind of world view. I am grateful and thankful to have received an education. That is one of the greatest gifts our generation was given.

One of the underlying principles of "Boomerhood" is to try to do something meaningful with our lives. To try to make a difference. To leave the world a better place than we found it. I've heard Boomers time and time again refer to this concern, this question: Am I doing, accomplishing, what I wanted to? What is life all about? That seems to be one of the prevailing questions we ask. This ends up being played out in many different ways. Careers, volunteering, politics, teaching, being a father, husband, community activist, writer, are some of my own attempts to make a difference. The question for me has moved from what do I expect from life to what does life expect from me. I am thankful for all the questions. The good, the bad, and the yet to be discovered.

Finally, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful we are going to turn over a new page as a society. Go in a new direction. I had always hoped, as a Boomer and as a Midwest hippy, that we would be able to make the world a better place. That we would pass on to our sons and daughters the hope and knowledge that with hard work and high ideals, you can get out of life what you put into it. That you can make a difference. That you can create your own happiness, regardless. Lately, that dream has faded, what with two wars, torture, global warming, economic disaster, snooping, spying, secrecy, and stolen elections. This time I think we got it right. I think we elected a President who will do better, and I'm hopeful we learned a lesson. It's not so much who we elect, although it helps if the person can think and talk at the same time, but what happens to us when we participate and demand change. The process becomes more than the sum of the parts. That happened Tuesday night, November 4, 2008. I'm thankful that I was a part of it.

I'm also thankful I'm not a turkey, for obvious reasons. Happy Thanksgiving.