I’m going to turn 55 in a couple of days. On August 1st for those of you who want to wish me a “happy birthday”. Since I was born in 1960, I’m one of the Baby Boomer Generation…the 76 million babies born from 1946 – 1964. As of last year, all of the Baby Boomers are now over the age of 50.
The Baby Boomer Generation is easy to remember because we were born after the end of World War II when the soldiers returned home and during a time when there was a great emphasis on the nuclear family.
Baby Boomers grew up amidst dramatic social change and indeed were an active part of it. We were the first generation to grow up with televisions in our homes and we claim rock and roll as the music of our generation. We were the first generation to have women work outside the home in large numbers and we were the first to fight for environmental causes and to ask for services such as recycling and alternative energy sources.
Thinking about my upcoming birthday and my Baby Boomer status, got me curious about the names of the other generations and exactly who they are. Every generation has collective experiences as they age and therefore similar ideals and perspectives.
My grandfather, Selmer Barrett, and me about 1985. His brother, Alf, died in WW II.
After doing some research, I found that only the Baby Boomer Generation has been defined by our U.S. Census Bureau. The other five generations who are still living have been defined primarily by writers and by the media. Note that each source I checked had a slightly different timeline but here’s a basic and general rundown of all six generations:
- G. I. Generation or the Greatest Generation – Born 1901 to 1926. This generation was so named by newsman, Tom Brokaw. He named them because they fought for what was right and to protect people in other countries from the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. This generation fought (and died) for our freedom in World War II. They are also the generation who remembers life before airplanes, radios and TV. As a group, they have tried to avoid debt and to save their money and buy with cash rather than credit.
- Mature or Silent Generation – Born 1927 to 1945. This generation grew up during the Great Depression and knew what it was like to do without and to have staples rationed. They expected a hard life and were not loud as a group. This generation grew up being frugal but had significant opportunities for jobs and education when World War II ended. My parents are a part of this generation.
- Baby Boomer Generation – Born 1946 to 1964. In addition to the things I already wrote, Baby Boomers grew up in an era of the Civil Rights Movement and space exploration and were the first generation to have The Pill from the beginning of their sexual maturity.
- Generation X – Born 1965 to 1980. Sometimes called the “lost generation” this group was the first generation of kids exposed to widespread daycare and the effects of divorce. This generation grew up with MTV and VH1. They have also been called the “latchkey kids” generation. While this generation is known for being the most highly educated one, they are not as a whole, tuned into social issues.
- Generation Y or Millennials – Born 1981 to 2000. My own children are all Millennials. This generation was shaped by the rise in technology and the world of social networks. They are the first generation to grow up with Cable TV, video games, cell phones, computers and the internet, and are known for being incredibly sophisticated about technology. They schedule everything and they see the world as a 24/7 place. They want things fast. Many in this generation watched the events of the morning of 9/11 play out on TVs at school.
- Generation Z or Boomlets – Born after 2001. This generation grew up after 9/11 when the security of our world changed for everyone. They have never known a world without computers, cell phones, video games and airport security. With the other generations aging and the population growing, Generation Z will have great career opportunities in the fields of healthcare and technology and science.
Five generations…my cousin, Marcia, with her daughter, grandson, mom, and our grandfather
Once my Baby Boomer self turns 55, I will apparently be a “senior” in some circles. I even found a list of discounts for people who are 50 and over. And who doesn’t like to save money! Here’s just a sampling of some restaurant discounts:
Arby’s: 10% off food for those 55 and over.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co: 10% off for AARP members. (My younger husband is a member but I am not.)
Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 20% off on Wednesdays for AARP members.
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee for those 55 and over.
Denny’s: 10% off for over 55, 20% off for AARP members.
Dunkin’ Donuts: AARP members can receive a free donut with purchase of a large coffee.
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter for 55 and over.
IHOP: Discounts on senior menu items for 55 and over.
Jack in the Box: Up to 20% off for 55 and over.
Kentucky Fried Chicken: Free small drink with any meal for 55 and over.
Krispy Kreme: 10% off for 50 and over.
Long John Silver’s: Various discounts for 55 and over.
McDonald’s: Discounts on coffee every day for 55 and over.
Outback Steakhouse: 15% off meals Monday – Thursday for AARP members.
Papa John’s: 25% off for online orders if you are 55 or older. Enter the code “AARP25” when placing order.
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday and Tuesday for those 50 and older.
TCBY: 10% off for those 55 and over.
Whataburger: Free drink with purchase of a meal for 55 and over. Discounts may vary by location.
There are also grocery stores, drug stores, movie theaters, and apparel stores who give a senior discount one or more days a week. For more information on discounts for those in the senior club, check out the website theseniorlist.com and click on the “senior discounts” tab. More discounts for those over the age of 50 may be found at aarp.org.
What do I wish for on my 55th birthday this year? I’d like to either see or talk on the phone with my millennial children. And, I always do love flowers.