The Generational Response to COVID-19: Baby Boomers

I am a Baby Boomer. I was raised by Silent Generation parents who were brought up by the Greatest Generation who fought World Wars and dealt with the Great Depression. Therefore, the Boomer in me is troubled. Multiple influences beyond my control are affecting my daily lifestyle and my outlook on the world. Whether cataclysmic storms, a global war or a medical anomaly, we are sharing situations that create similar views that will shape our destiny. This is also shaped by familial issues, financial challenges, and educational opportunities.

I was a Pandemic casualty of war when I lost my job in early March. Sadly, this was not the first time I faced this dilemma…but financially I’m too young to retire and mentally too old to go back to school. Truth be told, I already knew I was aging out of the system. To adapt to boredom, I became a June Cleaver housewife ‘to do my part’ in this new financial crisis.

“There was a sensibility…during WWII… that permeated all of society, which was to do your part, we’re all in this together,” Hanks said. “What that meant…was there was a tiny bit of stuff that you could do in order to aid the ongoing status of an effort that had no sign of its conclusion.”  LA Times and Today Show interview, Tom Hanks

My Pandemic fears are real. I have an underlying medical condition of my own, yet accountable for two (2) elderly parents with mental and physical restrictions. I have a strong work ethic therefore I am working part time jobs to supplement unemployment and one (1) income. I have been using technology tools to find work and stay informed, yet marketing positions seem to require pharma and or medical backgrounds. I remain financially and fiscally responsible, having only shopped on-line for household essentials. And most of all…I remain mentality focused on the end game of staying healthy and safe.

I have taken a few risks going to grocery stores and visiting friends at a physical distance: yet, I wash my hands constantly, I wear my mask everywhere and all the time. But as a Boomer, I do feel a small sense of entitlement that I’ve been there/done that, the dice were thrown a long time ago, and I can’t figure out why everyone ELSE won’t do THEIR part to make this Pandemic easier for all.                                                                                                                                                                                                
I expected to be working well into my late 60’s or early 70’s, but now that seems like a pipe dream.  There were, are and will be so many more qualified Xer’s, Millennials and Zoomers biting at my heels. I watch my retirement funds dropping, and my earning potential limited. In the earlier days, I thought I would work for only a few companies, but that wasn’t on the cards either. The Boomer in me learned a long time ago that rolling with the punches was a lot easier than fighting the system. Perhaps a bit of the Great Depression survivor instinct kicked in from the way my parents raised me.

As Covid-19 rages on, I understand how too much stress and too little life balance will drain me. Looking at my immediate future, I will continue to ‘do my part’ for the greater good, look to find a position that will accept my age and experience, offer me flexible scheduling to care for aging parents, and strong medical benefits.

I genuinely wish we can all find our way during this Pandemic.  I hope we come to terms with this chaos.  While I keep a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and spend quality time with my Silent Gen parents, I maintain my balance and try to be the best Boomer I can be.

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Leigh Murray