Sunday, May 16, 2010

Zero to sixty? What's next?

Remember when all young men thought about was 'zero-to-sixty'?

We measured life in miles-per-hour (mph) in those days, lazy afternoons when a Chevy Belair was coloured olive-green and mustard yellow and had tailfins that only lasted a year. GM bent them all out of shape in 1958, then filled in the gaps in 1959. Nothing has been the same since.

Girls were still on the horizon, approaching slowly we thought, but faster than we knew.

What happened?

Suddenly it's zero-to-sixty in ... well, in sixty years damnit. How the hell else do you measure it?

We faintly remember noticing hair growing in our armpits and figured, "Well, that's it. We are Men." We were then left to saunter off, oscilating between ecstacy and despair, with nary a clue about other milestones along the way.

I wonder if that is peculiar to our generation, the one that has grown up with only two generations at home.

When our parents were kids, most of them had grandparents and granduncles and greataunts all within earshot. Our kids have virtual connections to similar resources. But we, products of the post-war-but-pre-boomer generation, have crawled, clawed and flown our way through life more alone and more on auto-pilot than possibly any generation before or since.

Women aren't quite so lost or clueless, until they reach sixty anyway. They've gathered that primeval green slime in their belly every moon, a regular tweet from the original universe that provides a substantial and persistent reminder that life happens, even when it stops.

Men stumble upon sixty. Without lunar, or solar, or saturnian reminders, we bumble along, oblivious to change or real other, until, suffering from the indescribable illusion and pain of thinking we cause everything, our carefully constructed parts (roles) begin to fall apart.

The real Boomers haven't a clue yet. They still think they're twenty-two, or forty-three, and won't begin looking to us for ideas until they're sixty-five or seventy.

That gives us about five years to get our third act together and, perhaps, offer them a more dignified example than we otherwise might.

That is the intent of this blog. To banish forever the mistaken idea that life spans only two parts. A debilitating model visited on us by the clueless term 'middle aged'. If life has a 'middle', it must come in two halves, right? Wrong! That model leaves us stranded. Too young during the first half and too old during the second.

Remember, one you're stuck, two is a dilemma, choice begins at three.

Thanks largely to science and prosperity, our generation is the first that will routinely expect a third act. Unless we are to be the only such generation among humans on this planet, it's time to map the way.

Club 6290 (sixty-two-ninety) is here. Call for a tow if you hit a bump on the road. Better yet, become a volunteer cartographer and help us map the terrain. The boomer-brats aren't far behind.

Sixty to Ninety is here.


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