Boomers defined by changes they’ve witnessed or created

By Jan Pollack

Baby boomers experienced the expanse of American ideals and the fight for freedom within their own country’s borders and outside of them.
Tumultuous events like the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy affected their teen and early adult years.
People born between 1946 and 1964, the 77 million people known as baby boomers, are important because of sheer numbers.
Demographics alone created societal changes in farming, education, crime, health care, energy use and consumerism. They caused us to think differently about the environment, politics, science and the manner in which we provide for people in need.
In their retirement years, boomers are continuing to make changes through volunteering and charitable giving. Some are leaving jobs to follow their interests or pursue other lines of work, and some are retiring from a job only to open a small business.
Beverly Berner, co-chairman of St. Louis Community College’s Plus 50 Initiative, believes that boomers are at an age where they are looking for flexibility in their work schedules.
“Baby boomers want to make their own hours. They want to do their jobs and go home, perhaps to take care of elderly parents or be with the grandchildren,” she said.
Thomas Eysell, University of Missouri-St. Louis associate dean and director of graduate studies, said he sees an increase in baby boomers on campus.
“People are remaining active, are pursuing interests not previously explored,” he said. “They are working part time, may have second careers and are moving into volunteer work.”
Baby boomers’ births created the largest population spike in the country’s history. As they grew, they created changes felt at every level of society. Why should their retirement years be different? Staying active, ready to pursue new interests, baby boomers will continue to look ahead and make changes as needed.

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