In his recent "Your Money" column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chris Farrell wrote: "Many Americans, it seems, are gripped with foreboding over the prospect of living longer. But we often forget how creative people are at coming up with solutions. Retirement is no different. The doomsters underestimate our creativity."
I'm sure Chris is right. Boomer creativity, for better or worse, has been a renewable energy source. Long before the kids took over, Boomers extended and paved the information highway. And long before the Feds tried to take over, Boomers created and drove the faux financial markets that turned the country upside down. Literary critics complain that that the Boomers have yet to produce a body of great fiction, but maybe all that imagination has been going into making electronic connections, TV, advertising and Gecko profits.
Chris is the economics editor for American Public Media's "Marketplace Money," and a Life (Part 2) stalwart, a smart, lively guest who this season shows up to comment on Money is Love (Show #5) and Encore Careers (#15).
On a Life (Part 2) panel discussion at the Harvard Club in New York last week, Chris predicted that Boomers would creatively cut costs and find new ways to make money. His larger point was that just because Boomers were born with a leg up - their parents used the Thick Times to make sure their children had everything they might have missed out on because of depression and war - doesn't mean they don't have the survival skills to make do in Thin Times. In fact, the confidence born of entitlement might be armamet enough.
On the other hand, as Michael Winerip recently pointed out in his always interesting "Generation B" column in the Sunday New York Times, "starting about 20 years ago researchers noticed a higher rate of depression in boomers than the previous generation at that age. They attributed the increase to a number of stresses: more divorces, more-transient lifestyles, more drug use."
That drug use includes marijuana. Using National Institutes of Health statistics, Slate Magazine extrapolated this: "There are about as many Boomers using cannabis today as there are high school students doing the same." Slate dubbed these Boomers as "resumers," coming back to puffing times, perhaps after the kids left the house. Of course, some Boomers never just said no.
Is there a connection in all this? Boomers have always coupled pot and creativity. The resistance against medical marijuana and marijuana use in general seems to be softening. Are we heading toward High Times? Is this part of a survival culture? Any thoughts out there? Anonymity protected.