by rantywoman

This week I met a number of successful Baby Boomers who, over the course of their lives, changed careers numerous times, “dropped out” for long periods, did a lot of drugs, and had a lot of sex, and yet still managed to make significant money through their jobs and investments, to buy houses, to have multiple marriages, and to raise several kids.

Spending time with them made me look at my situation impartially and come to the conclusion that, compared to them at least, I am a social zero.  Never married, no kids.  An okay job in a female-dominated field with a decent salary but little vacation time, fewer and fewer perks, and no real chance to make significant money.  Still living in a one-bedroom apartment in my forties.

Is it a Boomer versus X thing?  Certainly there have been plenty of articles and books on that subject, for example:


If it’s a matter of being born in an era of less opportunity and stiffer competition, should we be measuring ourselves against entirely different yardsticks?  My parents are older than the Boomer generation, and in many ways I have surpassed them.  I had a better education and have travelled farther and wider than they did at my age, I’ve lived more places, and my life is intellectually richer.  I haven’t done as well financially as they did though, haven’t bought houses like they did, and of course haven’t been married or had kids.

Some of these feelings were compounded this weekend as I had time to drive around the city and in doing so travelled through neighborhoods with lush lawns and beautiful homes only to return to my modest little apartment dwelling, which costs me way more than it should.

In the end, I’m really not terribly upset over not having a posher life.  What gets to me, and what can make me feel like a social failure, is that I haven’t formed real friendships with people here with whom I share the same interests, politics, and sense of humor.  A lot of them work in the Industry but are either behind the scenes in modest positions, are toiling on the margins, or are practicing the DIY ethic through podcasts and small shows.  I can’t blame the Boomers for that failure, although I haven’t quite sussed out how much of it is a personal failure versus a failure of circumstance.

One of the topics of conversations amongst the mothers I know is “how important it is” that their kids have friends.  Growing up, I did all the normal things– went to summer camp (was voted best cabin mate!), had birthday parties, was even in a sorority– and I often think, “Fat lot of good all that did me, for the amount of friends I have now.”  I’m sure all that socializing did pay off in terms of professional savvy, but in terms of having a rich adult social life?  I have to admit, not so much.