The title above comes from the Dylan Thomas poem and I encourage you to take a moment and follow the link and listen to it. It’s about death and dying, not a particularly popular topic for the young, but the ghost that haunts anyone past fifty. I am only fifty-six but thoughts of Social Security, Medicare, retirement and getting old invade my thinking regularly. We Baby Boomers tend to believe everything is about us, but I’m finding it interesting to watch the generation before ours get old and see how they face death. This generation is sometimes called The Silent Generation, but I’m starting to hear quite a racket from them.
The Baby Boomers were born from 1946-1964, and the Silent Generation are from 1925-1945, basically from Paul Newman through Pete Townshend, giving a whole new meaning to the song, “My Generation.” The generation before them were the G. I. Generation (1900-1924) that included my parents. So the Silent Generation are those people who were college kids when I was little, and the driving force of the pop culture we Boomers grew up with. Now they are number one on the runway ready to take off for that famous unknown destination. I, and all of my generation, have a lot to learn from them. And what got me focused on this group, is this bit of humor.
Awhile back I discovered a great site, Time Goes By, to observe this generation, the brain child of Ronni Bennett and her promotion of Elder News. She doesn’t like the label elderly because it implies frailty, and prefers old or elder. Ronni focuses on elder blogging and through that I am finding doorways to the people of the Silent Generation. Interestingly, Ronni lists Auxiliary Memory in her blog roll called ElderBlogs – and by her definition I’m in the elder group, and I’m happy to be so. Her site is for the Silent Generation but includes us Boomers who right behind them. The Internet is generally thought of as a hang-out for the geeky young, but Ronni often points out her elder crew are one of the largest growing segments.
I wished I was retired and had all the time in the world to read all the RSS feeds from Ronni’s ElderBlogs. These are people I identify with, and people exploring issues and experiences I’m exploring now, or better yet, people who are going through experiences I’m will soon experience.
I constantly tell friends my age about blogging but they say they don’t have time, or they aren’t into computers, or friendships you make online aren’t real – but I’m finding the movement of Elder Blogging to be a major cultural trend and feel my friends are missing out. It makes me think back to high school days when my hippie friends felt too cool to go to the proms. I know now I missed out by being too cool. I think my friends are missing out by thinking the blogging world as being too young, too geeky, or even too impersonal.
Ronni is onto something by making her reporting beat the elder bloggers. I think the people expressing their feelings on her ElderBlogs sites represent a new social bonding that is just as real as any connections made at church, bridge clubs, retirement homes or in bars. Sure, it lacks the warmth of intimate friendship, but so does most of our day to day social contacts. Where blogging shines is hearing the deeper thoughts of people, thoughts beyond the surface topics you often hear at work like “did you see the game last night,” or “think it’s going to rain tomorrow.” Blogging allows you to get to know a lot of strangers in a way you’d normally not in real life – just click down Ronni’s list of Elder Bloggers and see what I mean.