Monday, May 12, 2014

Boomers losing our Boom

If there's any doubt in your mind that the aging of America is having an effect across the board, the census results should pretty much put that to bed.  Oh, we're not in any way the be all and end all in terms of population dynamics, but we Boomers--born between 1946 and 1964--make up 20% of the native-born population of this country, so you know that's going to mean something to the economy overall and the horse biz specifically.

My latest Boomer-friendlyfind--the Rhino Pick Brush.
The handle and leverage on this baby are perfect for those of us
who are suffering from athritis, and the
big-ass brush works like a champ to get the dirt out
of cracks and crevices...and our horses' hooves, too.

We're old.  We're retiring.  We're not in any condition to carry the torch forward any father than the nearest Starbucks.  So hard as it is to swallow, we're going to stop being so terribly important in the immediate future, and our progeny is going to be stuck dealing with the aftermath of our having existed at all.  Thanks to our incredibly horny post-war parents, we're leaving a pile of unfinished business and fewer and fewer people to handle it.

If you click the census link and look at the graphs, you can see that we aren't actually reducing the overall population of the US with our passing.  Our spot on the charts is being filled by immigrants fairly quickly.  So the workforce isn't going to suffer nearly as much as one might suspect.  We'll retire, move to warmer climes, and, finally, die, but there will be others to take our places.
The younger horsemen who will take on our burden
seem happily unaware of what we've done to them.  Yay!
I'd hate to have this group of NJ cowboys gunning for me.

What's lacking is the financing to continue the bizarre lifestyle we've created.  We were raised to be self-indulgent, and we've mastered that job with great enthusiasm.  Our parents wanted the best for us.  Many of them were immigrants, and they worked hard to see to it that our lives were better than theirs.  They instilled in us a desire to succeed and the equation of income and accumulation of stuff as the benchmark for success.

In their happy world, they saw us as moving the whole planet forward and bringing brilliance and wealth with us.  They weren't entirely sane.

The reality is that, while we did succeed in massive numbers, we didn't do a great job of shoring up the underpinnings of this society so that our children would have an equal shot at our parents' version of success.  It stands to reason that eventually there's a cap on Up.  We minted money and encouraged the production of things that future generations have little hope of ever accumulating for themselves.

The horse world has been in the throes of this change for a decade now.  The early

My Boomer butt riding out of frame, as it should be at this stage....
Boomers hit 65 in 2001, and hard as they (we) tried, it simply isn't always possible for folks in their mid-to-late 60's to keep on keeping on.  We continued to buy horses, ride horses, fall off horses, try to get our kids interested in our horses so we wouldn't have to sell them...and we did the best we could.  But it's not enough.

What would be best right now for the horse world and US society as a whole would be for us Boomers to back off a bit.  I'd like to see us pass on our collective wisdom to the next generations, but beyond that we need to stop making decisions that will affect lives long after we're gone.  We're a very controlling bunch, so this isn't going to be easy.

It's time for us to drop the interventionist attitude that made us Kings of the Universe and start thinking clearly about our legacy.  We really are not going to live forever, but our choices very well might.

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