How baby boomers failed us and then blamed us
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. October 28, 2015
It’s wrong of me to criticize a whole generation of people just because I’ve been noticing some abysmal trends from a few. But if a group of self-righteous baby boomers want to pick a fight, I’ll drop the gloves. Let’s open with this, any problems millennials, or Generation Y, (people born between the 1980s–2000s) have, it’s because of their parents, the baby boomers.
Baby boomers grew up with every advantage in the Western world. A blooming economy, an emerging middle class, jobs with stable income, and enough financial security to buy a house, raise a family, own a couple of vehicles, and set their sights on retirement. How did they get all these things? Were they the most talented generation? Were they the smartest? Or were they simply just the benefactors of their time?
Flip to their children, those like me, the millennials. We were brought up in a pampered sort of way. We were given luxury and opportunities. All of us were raised to believe that we could do anything we dreamed of. If we wanted to be actors, we could pursue that. If we wanted to be doctors, we could do that as well. Then we grew older and reality struck us. Now, we turn to our parents for help and what do they do? They call us lazy. They call us entitled. They call us narcissistic, apathetic, and disrespectful.
It’s harder than ever for a graduate to enter the workforce and even when they do get work, it’s harder than ever to make the type of money our parents made when they were in their 20s. They tell us to pursue school, and then leave us hanging with the debt. It’s our problem, right? Then there is this line that baby boomers often use: “When I was your age, I was already married and a homeowner.” Well, suck it! It’s almost impossible to put down a down payment for a house in Vancouver, let alone consider buying one. Why? Because the baby boomers have closed the door on us, locking us out of what they believed belongs to them. Baby boomers are the most selfish generation currently alive.
I don’t want baby boomers to empathize with us, because that won’t solve anything. What I do want the baby boomers to know is that they are wasting the final ounce of their lives being bitter to people who are striving for their dreams and pursuing what they love in life. Baby boomers are always going to shame millennials for not having this or that, but we have one thing they don’t have: the time to reach our goals. They should resent us. They should fear that we are going to take what is theirs, because we are.
Baby boomers have created a barrier of wealth, hoarding it for themselves. Then, while keeping us at arm’s length they say: “Oh, you should work harder. You shouldn’t have wasted all your time with games and dreams. Oh well, maybe it’s time to go back to college… again.” Our parents set us up for success, but when we failed on our first swing, they wrote us off as weak. Bouncing back gets harder every time without support. But they don’t know that.
It’s the baby boomer’s world, but we don’t have to obey them anymore. The lay of the land is different. We don’t need to listen to their smug comments. We don’t need to make baby boomers proud of us by matching their accomplishments.