Baby boomers, whiners till the end:
America's baby boomers are in a collective funk. Members of the large generation born from 1946 to 1964 are more downbeat about their lives than are adults who are younger or older, according to a new Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends survey.
Not only do boomers give their overall quality of life a lower rating than adults in other generations, they also are more likely to worry that their incomes won't keep up with inflation -- this despite the fact that boomers enjoy the highest incomes of any age group.
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However, it is by no means certain that the boomers' current bleak mood is a function of their current stage of life. When it comes to quality-of-life assessments, data suggest the boomers generally have been downbeat, compared with other age groups, for the past two decades -- starting back when some were still in their twenties. So their current sour ratings may be related to getting older, but they also may be related to the attitudes and expectations about life they formed when they were young.
I think that part about expectations is right. From the moment we were identified as a group, we were paid more attention to by the media than any generation before or since. We were taken far too seriously, and then we started to take ourselves far too seriously. We were the pig in the python's belly, and everything we did mattered on a grand scale! So our expectations were, to put it kindly, not modest. When time and experience showed us our limits -- as they do to every person and generation -- we weren't able to accept it as gracefully as we could have.