Am I a Boomer Bore?

I think that I have morphed into a ‘holier than thou’ boomer without even realising that I was morphing. My thought process seemed linear to me but, according to my Gen Z daughter, it has plummeted to ‘holier than thou’ levels.

Where that level sits on the radometer of genuinely holy people like Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama is beyond me. But, on reflection, I do seem to have turned into my grandfather and father in my older age.

My sentences do begin with, ‘and in my days I…’. Unlike my grandfather and father though, I cannot finish these sentences with tales of genuine hardship such as walking across snake infested terrain in bare feet to get to school or having to pick your own potatoes for dinner rather than going to a supermarket for them.

Being driven to school in the 1960s and 1970s or getting the 507 bus (now defunct) from Waterloo Station in Central London to work in my later years isn’t quite the same. No snakes on board. Friendly drivers. You get my drift.

But are Boomers ‘Holier Than Thou’ Disciples?

In recent years, the term “boomer” has evolved beyond its original reference to the Baby Boomer generation, often carrying connotations of outdated attitudes and a sense of superiority. This shift has sometimes placed boomers on the defensive, leading to stereotypes about generational conflict. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you might have found yourself at the receiving end of comments suggesting you’re out of touch or judgmental.

Understanding the Stereotype

First, let’s dissect this stereotype. The “holier than thou” boomer is the one who thinks their era was the golden age, and every other generation is just a bunch of hooligans ruining everything. If you catch yourself thinking, “Why can’t these kids just pull up their pants and get a haircut?”—you are a boomer bore @’holier than thou’.

Irritating that others would even dare to question our self-perceptions to say the least but we are a resilient bunch. I mean we coped with the demise of Adam Ant and Franke Goes to Hollywood. Throw anything at us and we will evolve with the right tools.

So, what is the route for boomers to evolve to become more in tune with contemporary times? How do we stay alert to this self inflicted phenomenon of being boorish?

Here’s your guide to de-boomering yourself, with a side of humor.

Signs You Might Be Coming Across as “Holier Than Thou”

  1. Unsolicited Advice: Offering advice without being asked. I do this all the time with my Gen Z daughter. Guilty. Stop giving unwanted advice. The clue is in the fact that no one asked you for your advice.
  2. Nostalgic Comparisons: Frequently comparing current times unfavorably to the past can suggest that the way things were done “back in the day” was inherently better, disregarding the unique challenges and advancements of the present. I threw out my encyclopedias a long time ago and use Google instead.
  3. Dismissive Attitudes: If you find yourself often dismissing the views and preferences of younger people as frivolous or misguided using words like, ‘at my age…’ stop and develop oodles of self-awareness to stop yourself from doing this. As a boomer, I don’t ever recall this whole modern concept of self-awareness being present in our lexicology. It was more an inherent habit which you adopted when driving or being a pedestrian as in look left, look right, look in your rear view mirror and don’t stop where you aren’t meant to stop. Self-awareness these days extends way beyond physical safety to emotional stuff. In other words, be mindful of the impact of your words on others.

Guilty But How Do I Deal With This ‘Holy’ Attitude?

  1. Offer solicited advice: The goal is not to suppress your own experiences or insights but to share them in a way that is respectful and engaging. Resist the urge to offer advice unless it is glaringly needed like when your kid is about to hand over money to a scammer.
  2. Building bridges between generations can lead to richer, more nuanced understandings for everyone involved. By being mindful of how we communicate, we can break down the barriers of the “holier than thou” stereotype and foster a more inclusive and supportive dialogue.
  3. Practice Active Listening: Pretend you’re at a concert where the band only plays requests. Listen more, talk less. Nod like you mean it.
  4. Share, Don’t Preach: Tell your stories like you’re at a campfire, not a pulpit. Nobody wants to be sermonized over, especially not your kids.
  5. Acknowledge Differences: Every generation has its own flavor. Yours might be classic rock, theirs might be techno pop. Both can have a good beat.
  6. Stay Open-Minded: Think of yourself as a student of life. There’s always something new to learn—like how to use emojis correctly (eggplant emoji? Maybe not).
  7. Avoid Stereotyping: Just as you wouldn’t want to be called a “dinosaur,” don’t label them all as “snowflakes.” We all melt under heat.

Embracing Change

Change is inevitable and do remember that every generation experiences its own unique shifts. Yes, It’s tough being a boomer these days. The digital age, yikes, Excel scares the hell out of me.

Being a Baby Boomer today involves navigating a complex landscape of generational dynamics. By remaining aware of how we come across and making concerted efforts to engage positively with younger generations, we can shed the “holier than thou” label and instead be seen as wise, supportive, and understanding individuals. After all, true wisdom is not about asserting superiority but about fostering connection and learning from one another.

Building Bridges, Not Walls

The goal is to connect, not to lecture from your lofty tower of vinyl records and typewriters. Think of conversations as potluck dinners where everyone brings something to the table. You might discover you like quinoa salad more than you thought. By keeping it light and listening more than you lecture, you’ll be the cool boomer everyone wants to hang out with. And who knows? You might even learn to love avocado toast.