A Baby Boomer Primer for Millennials
A great article from Mediapost last week talking about my generation:
If you’ve already binge-watched the entire first season of “Grace and Frankie,” don’t despair. The Netflix–original show has been renewed for season two.
The show’s premise: Two longtime couples divorce when the husbands confess a 20-year affair — with each other. The award-winning cast includes Jane Fonda as buttoned-up beauty exec Grace, Lily Tomlin as hippy art teacher Frankie, and Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston as their attorney exes, Robert and Sal. The characters are at the forefront of the Boomer generation. (The oldest Boomers are now 70, the same age as Fonda’s character.)
“Grace and Frankie” provides insights into the experience of growing older in an age-obsessed society. Boomers are binge-watching one of the few shows that understands the way they think, feel and act.
Here are seven things real-life Boomers have in common with the characters on “Grace and Frankie”:
1. They log on. Grace navigates the online dating world with ease. Frankie struggles with technology, yet uses her smartphone and laptop with a little help from her friends in tech support. Their real-life counterparts are frequently online, too: Boomers make 200% more online purchases than any other generation.
2. They’re not ready for a retirement home. In the episode in which Frankie gets mistaken for a potential nursing home resident, she runs for the door. Boomers are right there with her: Only one in five sees a retirement community in his or her future.
3. They get divorced. The Boomer divorce rate is higher than that of any other generation. And, dovetailing with the show’s theme, many couples are splitting later in life. Divorce rates in the over-50 demographic have doubled in the last 20 years.
4. They want to stay in the workforce. Grace is planning to return to the cosmetic firm from which she retired; Frankie’s looking for a job as an art teacher, and Robert and Sal work as lawyers. Like them, three-quarters of Boomers plan to work past traditional retirement age.
5. They have active love lives. “Grace and Frankie” characters date, fall in love and have sex. So do many of their generation. Studies have shown that the number of people who are sexually active over 50 has steadily risen since the ’70s.
6. They’re free spirits. Frankie lights up, and quite a few Boomers would approve. According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 50% of Boomers favor legalizing marijuana.
7. They feel younger than their age. Like high-energy Grace and Frankie, 79% of older adults feel younger than their actual age, yet they often experience age discrimination and feel “invisible” — an experience that Grace and Frankie have in an episode in which they are ignored by a store clerk.
“Grace and Frankie” has proven that Boomers will flock to a show that “gets them.” People of all ages are just people — and they want to be treated that way.