This Rose Colored Glass series is about the importance of having a fulfilling purpose… especially if you move to a new country, culture or place.
Our youngest granddaughter, Matilda. (London)
Being a Boomer. What a ride! The biggest, richest, most pampered demographic group in the history of mankind. No major war… no blight… no famine… just riches upon riches and a breath taking expansion of options and awareness that made us one of the richest waves ever. This has been an incredible privilege… no matter what could take place in the future… we have been given so much.
The importance of Boomers can be seen by the way their music dominated the radio waves for decades after they grew up.
Oldies radio stations originally played music from a period of about 15 to 55 years before the present day and started the early 1970s.
Gradually, beginning in 1982, many stations flipped to full-time oldies music from 1955 to 1973 focusing on the 1964 to 1969 era.
In 2000, the advertisers noticed the aging of the demographics. These older listeners were set in their ways and harder to sell. Many began shifting to a mix that had newer music.
Around 2002, many stations dropped pre-1964 music and added music from the 1970s and early 1980s.
From 2003 to 2006, many FM oldies stations limited the oldies music to classic hits or simply stopped playing oldies music.
Today there are few pure oldie stations left.
Boomers have been the most important demographic group in history… but what have they (we) achieved?
Stephen King wrote about Baby Boomers in his book “On Writing” and said: I don’t want to speak too disparagingly about my generation (actually I do, we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead).
Our Oregonian granddaughters Sequoia and Teeka.
King has a point. Boomers were promised the world and were given it. One could think that the prosperity was squandered. However this and King’s thinking perhaps miss an important aspect of human nature called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”.
Wikipedia says of Abraham Maslow: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, all of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.
Diagram of Maslow's Hierarchy from Wikipedia
The nature of our upcoming economy and social structure will be as different as the Information Era was from the Industrial Era. This is because each industrial era has been highly affected by the hierarchy of human nature, the way we react as individuals and the way society reacts as a whole. This human reactionary path was described by Abraham Maslow in his ‘Needs Hierarchy’ which states that “humans move through six steps in life if given a chance to progress”.
The first step in Maslow’s ‘Needs Hierarchy’ is to take care of one’s physical needs, the second is to gain security. After these two levels the third step is to focus on social needs before progressing to the fourth step of acknowledgement and finally to self realization. Maslow years later stated that sixth step he called “Idealization or the need to find a purpose beyond oneself”.
Let’s put this into day-to-day economic terms. A person first makes sure he or she has food, clothing and shelter. If these needs are not fulfilled, not much else matters. Someone who is cold and hungry rarely thinks too much about how they look or about the social impact of their process of getting food. Enough hunger and cold will lead people to take great physical risks to be fed and warmed.
But once the belly is full, the body warm and the larder filled, one begins to think about how to protect that food and how to stay warm. When secure and comfortable that the physical needs are and will remain satisfied we start to think about how we look, how we get along with others and how we fit into our society and family. We want to fit in! (At least for awhile.)
Then we want to excel, to be acknowledged, in our society or family, as being special, being good, being more than just acceptable.
When we reach a point where we have convinced others we are special and unique, we become driven to convince ourselves of this fact. We look for our own acknowledgement.
Finally, if we prove ourselves to ourselves, we reach a sixth level of having needs that go beyond ourselves.
Our upcoming society will be and has been dramatically affected by this hierarchy of nature and four other important facts. First, there is the fact that parts of the world (industrialized society) have seen a six times increase in wealth in just one century. Today the average American is 40 times richer than ancient mankind, an amazing increase. Second, most of the incredibly rich
westerners are still not satisfied. Third, most of the world hasn’t enjoyed this increase in wealth. Fourth, most of the world, rich and poor, can see the discrepancies in wealth between the rich and poor.
I believe there is a seventh state in the hierarchy I call Self – Realization. Self -actualization is the place where we realize we are more than the stuff we accumulate and any adulation we receive.
These later states… self – actualization and self – realization take more time to evolve than does filling the physical belly.
Self – Realization is the state when we do something about who we realize we are. This is where the Groomers come in.
Here our grandson, Leo, teaching me about how to learn via... everything in his mouth, the trial and error technique.
First, as a Boomer may I set the record straight, “Boomers have changed the world”.
Anyone who sees the TV show “Mad Men”, an American television series set in the 60s can see the change. This show which depicts life, both in and out of the office, in the 1960s… how we treated race… gender… smoking… nutrition…. drinking… is shocked by today’s norms.
When I once saw that show I thought… “Were we ever really thinking, speaking and acting like that?” We were!
Yet this is no big deal. Every generation has changed the world.
Groomers however have an extra second chance to make a special difference. This comment is made because I have so many readers writing to me daily that I get a bird’s eye perspective to see a unique wave of self realization in the works. The Boomers writing seeking change are not just interested in the money, the gold, the gated communities. Many are seeking something far deeper and more altruistic.
This more social, Groomer contribution, has extra energy due to the fact that Boomers are remaining far longer in the work force than previous generations.
A June 2012 CNN news article entitled “Baby Boomers Search for Second Careers” by Dave Bernard says: Many baby boomers plan to keep working in some capacity after retirement. While some people will delay retirement because they need the money, others will take a job to ward off boredom and keep busy.
Previous generations of retirees may have envisioned retirement as a relaxing, stress-free escape from the demands of the working world. A more labor intensive and often physically demanding work typified earlier careers, and retirement was often necessary for a tired and worn out body.
However, the demands on today’s knowledge workers are more mental than physical. Many baby boomers, who have already begun to reach age 65, are far from physically exhausted and often have much more to give. Few of these active seniors have a physical need to retire from the working world. And many baby boomers are choosing to continue working well beyond age 65.
Plus the boomers who continue to work will often be the boss or the financier so their contribution may continue to capture attention. Boomers may no longer be such a great target market because they are not buying new brands… but this does not mean they are not buying.
This means that Groomers who are still working are seeking to do something for more than just money. A lot of this may have to do with Self – Realization and Purpose. Mr. King… you gave up on your generation too soon.
Here's our grandson, Garren,"helping us with farm work".
The Groomer contribution may also be strengthened by the natural, human seven year cycle.
Seven year cycles seem to have great importance in the way human beings process information. Jewish people (Bar Mitzvah) and Andeans (First Cutting of the Hair) celebrate around the age 14 for the coming of manhood. One of the first pieces of the puzzle appeared when Merri and I were invited to one of these age 14 ceremonies at an indigenous sacred site in Ecuador.
It occurred to me from various other experiences that we shift the major energy in our purpose each seven years.
Each seven year period has a different reason behind purpose.
The first seven years is aimed at bonding us with our mother. No other relationship is as important during this time.
At around age seven, we shift to bonding us with our peers of same gender. Take a batch of ten year old boys and girls to a dance and watch them each rush to opposite ends of the room. Girls are sugar, spice and everything nice. Boys…spiders, snails and puppy dog tails.
Then at 14 we shift again. Age 14-21 bonds us with peers of opposite gender. Take the same boys and girls to a dance when they are 16 and watch out. You’ll need chaperones!
Age 21 to 28 is aimed at bonding us with our mate. Even the West recognizes the importance of the age of 21 years.
Imagine this. If a five year old sees a glass of milk, his or her thought is, “Let’s have a drink with mommy”.
A ten year old is more likely to think “Let’s get together with my gang (girls for girls and guys for guys) and have a party”.
The sixteen year old thinks, “Let’s have a glass of ….. with my date”!
This theory can have profound consequences. Imagine every seven years we make some monumental shifts in how we think and what we do.
We have all heard of taking a sabbatical. This is the time when we leave the old cycle and rest before shifting gears and beginning anew.
We have all heard of the seven year itch. This is the time the body is saying, “Hey, Bud, time to shift”.
What does appear in many religions and philosophies is a major shift at age 50.
The Bible gives a clue about this in Leviticus 25:9-12 when it says: “You shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, everyone of you, to your property and everyone of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.”
The Vedic and Andean philosophy is that at about this time we should leave the material aspect of our life and become more spiritual.
Life Sciences from India and the Andes suggest that the first 50 years of life should take care of the material and the second 50, the spiritual.
The Andean shamanic belief is that there are nine shifts, the 8th connects to the soul, the 9th the infinite being.
Learning this resolved the huge mathematical question that haunted this line of questioning. With nine chakras, the two cycles gets us to age 119 which would leave us to shift into the infinite being at age 120. This pretty well matches the concept in astrology which suggests we should live to be 120.
This also ties into the Vedic and Andean idea that there are seven levels of spiritual enlightenment. Our first seven cycles takes care of our material life. The second seven cycles moves us towards deeper spirituality.
We go through the process of growing up, procreating, caring for our family and then in the second series of seven go through a similar process in a spiritual journey.
I do not think that this means that people should stop working at 50. Work… service is one of the eight paths to enlightenment.
However at 50 one may feel a natural urge to begin shifting purpose. Merri and I certainly felt this and this shift moved us to Ecuador where we did not expect to make money at all. We have worked since more for the fulfillment and whatever positive good we could create rather than the money.
At 64… (Merri and I are both nicely past that age now) we really can begin again… living a full life at a more spiritual level. Nine levels of seven years each gets us to 64 and we start once more with our main focus directed by the first cycle nature’s maternal energy .
The Groomers have reached this stage now. Groomers are shifting into their second nine cycle round and are meant to once again bond with nature’s maternal energy. What a perfect energy to share with all our grandchildren and in the work place around the world.
The Seven-year Cycles play an important roll in the Waldorf Education. There are several lectures by Rudolf Steiner on this. One of the Waldorf websites says: The concept of distinct seven-year cycles is central to Waldorf education. Each cycle carries its own focus and primary emphasis through which one learns. After one has concluded studies through the content of the Waldorf educational curriculum, one may continue to study Steiner’s indications for adult development, also unfolding in seven-year cycles, for the course of one’s life.
According to Steiner this seven year cycle focuses on:
– the strengthening of ones life forces
– the process of imagination
– the virtue of beauty
– learning primarily through the heart
– rooted in the etheric (or feeling) realm
Imagine what good Groomers can and will do… if this largest, wealthiest demographic wave in history brings this type of deep seated thought and action seriously into the world. What a powerful positive impact!
There is another consideration. Many of these Groomers from the USA, Canada and Europe are moving to emerging countries. This gives us a chance to change more than our own country. This is an opportunity to help unite cultures even more.
If you are a Boomer think about adding the strengthening of our life forces – the process of imagination – the virtue of beauty – learning primarily through the heart – rooting in the etheric (or feeling) realm into whatever you do. Boomers… focus these ideas with your Boomer grandchildren too.
If you are not a Boomer look for ways to gain or learn from these qualities from boomers. We’ll naturally be thinking this way and we have now had a lifetime of experience and more wealth than is available to learn and grow so we can reflect these qualities.
This is notice. I expect this from the Boomers and Groomers now so I am not surprised that at our recent Writers Camp in North Carolina most of the delegates were Boomers and Groomers and the areas of writing were about such things as natural health and other such positive ideals.
The era of the Golden Oldie station may be gone, but this does not mean that Boomers and Groomers will not have another fling that is more spiritual and has a big… positive impact on the world.
Keep an eye on the Boomers and Groomers and how they continue to alter business and society. The trends you spot and the ideas you learn may bring investing and business opportunity to you.