Generation Question Mark

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by Tina Cassello, Jun 10, 2009

Officially, I am a product of the Baby Boom generation that began at the end of World War II, but I was born in early 1946.  Rather than having had to wait for my father to return home from the war, my parents celebrated that he did not have to serve.

So many changes occurred in my generation that some writer I read said there is a difference between those of us born in the early years and those born later.  I know that is true.  I can relate to those people born before much better than those who were born after me.

Also, contributing to this was the fact that I was born to older parents, each of which had had children from previous marriages.  This was in an era when divorce was still frowned on and “blended” families were rare.  My father adopted my mother’s son who was 10 years old when I was born.

Because both of my parents were  from large families (10 kids on Dad’s side and 7 on Mom’s) that had gone through the Great Depression, their value differed from that of younger parents and those values passed on to me.  Some of them were:

  1. Don’t throw away anything that can be repaired and/or reused.
  2. Everything can be reused, if not for its original purpose you can fnd another use for it.
  3. Recycling saves time It saves trips to the store) and money (you don’t have to buy as much).

My generation, however, was the first to be influenced by mass advertising on television and those conflicted with what my parents believed, practiced and taught.  Those messages were:

  1. Throw out old, outdated items and buy the lastest, time and effort saving gadgets.
  2. You can find a new gadget to meet every need, so why hold on to the old-fashioned methods and have people look down on you.
  3. Prepackaged, ready to eat foods replaced cooking in many homes.

Because of these conflicting values instilled in me, I found my life confusing and chaotic without being aware of what caused my unhappiness.  I felt inadequate or inferior if I didn’t have the newest technological gadgets and would be one of the first to get small inexpensive gadgets, but for larger, high priced items I had to wait until they were mass marketd and copied before I could afford them.  Then, I would buy the least expensive, or close to the least expensive item, to feel good about getting a bargain.  I never realized they would usually be of inferior quality, need replacing and cause more frustration, making them not really a bargain after all.

I’m not as creative as my mother was about finding new uses for old items or making anything from scratch.  I had little interest in cooking, sewing and other domestic activities.  While such things as sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, etc. were done by her as a necessity, for me they are relaxing hobbies to take my mind off my worries and they can be frustrating too if I can’t get them right.  When they go well, I become obsessed by them for hours on end so I don’t do them often.

The older i get the more i find that the effort and time saving gadgets are more of a nuisance that a help and I seldom use my blender and food processor.  It is easier to do things the old-fashioned way than to get out the gadget, put on the right attachments and have to clean it up afterward.  While they do the job faster and with less physical effort it is not worth the bother and I am no longer rushed to get things done.  I still like foot to b ready to eat when I’m hungry though and the best way to do that is eat out.

Now, with prices rising faster than people’s incomes and many people losing jobs, there is a new emphasis on cutting expenses, holding onto items longer, saving and reusing materials and separating needs from wants.  We will have another generation of confused people caught between the values of their parents and peers (who are getting their values from mass media from even more sources now, not only TV, but the Internet and you can’t even go to a movie now without seeing commercials).

What we were warned about has come true, our minds are being controlled by the merchandisers and there is no stopping them now.  Pandora’s box has been opened.


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