Well, it was bound to happen. As the summer of 2014 draws, sadly , to its end comes the news that our generation has officially relinquished its’ hold as the “go to” generation. A recent piece in the Business section of the N.Y. Times stated that Boomers have been surpassed by millennials as the generation most sought after. ( “Marketers Sizing Up The Millennials” : N.Y. Times. Aug. 22, 2014. p. B-1) They, according to mass marketers, are the future. One economist quoted in the article boldly stated that “Our whole consumer model is based on the baby boom. Now the coming generation is ‘setting up a whole new consumer model”. Millennials have been described as the generation born between the early 1980s and 2000 who, according to the article, will number one-third of the USA population by 2020. That is just about the time when the youngest boomers will be applying for Medicare and Social Security. Of course, the rude awakening for these millennials may be the amount they will have to deduct from their pay so that we can live. But that is another story for another time.
There are several messages in this article beyond the purely economic and marketing one. After all, some of those millennial are our children and grandchildren. But we may begin to wonder what message statistics like these say in a broader realm. We have been the generation that has shaped American life. tastes and, in many ways, culture. Now, the scene may be shifting. However, rather than being reduced to dottering irrelevancy or marketing marginality, I have a feeling that Boomers will just ignore most of these statistics and keep on seeking new, or original ways in which to face our own natural aging process. Statistics do not set boundaries on creativity or maturity or the ability to dream. In fact, now that the marketing focus may be shifting, some of that consumer spotlight my allow us to keep focusing on what is real and meaningful in life.
As summer ends and the pace of much of life picks up again, let’s try and keep our eyes on the important “stuff” of life: love, family, relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose. Those are priceless and something no marketing strategy can create. Enjoy Labor Day.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min