Yes, I am a Baby Boomer, and I have had the big “65” celebration, but don’t call me a “senior citizen”! “Senior citizen” is a North American term coined in the late 1930s, and was used as an alternative description to refer to “old people”. As people were living longer, there was a need to develop centers for them to go to for activities and comradery which lead to the development of “Senior Centers”. Today many of those “Senior Centers” are changing their names to “55+”, “Center for Healthy Aging” or “The Wisdom Center.” Gotta love that last one!
Our generation was the first to grow up with transistor radios and television: We grew up watching Howdy Doody, The Mickey Mouse Club (a personal favourite), The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, The Ed Sullivan Show (my first look at the Beatles), All in the Family and Happy Days! We are the Rock n’ Roll era, the hippies and the peace activists. We were the first generation to walk on the moon!
Brian Husband, Tour Director and colleague suggested we could be called “Seenagers” (Senior teenagers) after seeing a description on line, because we now have what we always wanted as teenagers:
- We don’t have to go to school or work, but can choose to.
- We earned our monthly allowance.
- We have our own pad.
- We don’t have a curfew.
- We have a driver’s license and our own car.
- We have ID that gets us into bars and the liquor store.
- We have a passport.
Wait…there’s more! Boomers are well educated, the wealthiest generation as a group, generally healthier, more physically active, socially conscious and redefining the boundaries of aging and moving the goal post for future aging generations. They are huge contributors to their communities through volunteerism, actively seek new experiences, are more adventurous than past generations and they love to travel.
Baby boomers are currently the back bone of growth in the tourism industry. This generation is curious and enthusiastically pursues enriching experiences through travel. They believe learning is ageless and that through knowledge and shared experience, they can have a positive impact on the world. Both Brian and I can speak from personal experience about the value and impact travel has on us personally and on those that we have travelled with. Boomers have embraced new technology and actively use all that is available to them to share their journeys with others. This group is social, likes to meet new people and values family and friendship. We love life and don’t want to be labelled as “seniors.”
To all who share this generation, I wish you a long life full of incredible experiences and travel.
Written by Joan Niemeier with Brian Husband