The continuum of living has been in large part replaced by a regimented code of life stations and appropriate conduct. This code came unnoticed from unwritten society rules brought on by the natural regimentation of persons who grew up in new suburbia, the results of GI loans and suburban homes additions offered to our returning servicemen at the end of WWII. (See blog A50L001) The code demands the following life’s stations: 1. Infanthood, 2. School days/Adolescence. 3. Productive years, 4. Retirement/Old age. In suburbia these were four conditions from which you could not escape. You were at all times classified in one of these four.
This phenomenon, which ingrained itself unknown into our very attitudes toward ourselves and others over the first several boomer family generations, resulted in each individual as well as society in general automatically placing all persons in one of these niches, treating them with attitudes required by their specific life station and clucking the tongue at natural behavior, not deemed appropriate for their specific station. It’s akin to a “class” society that no one can escape and still be thought of as accepted and “normal”. If society classifies a person as one thing he can’t do this, he’s not allowed to do that, or he has “no reason” to do the other thing.
Who made these rules? We did — over the years by, first by acknowledging and imposing artificial stations in life on others as well as on ourselves, and by celebrating each as if the celebration caused the person to change into something somehow different than who they were before — because the event occurred – and for no other reason. So, instead of having an all-you-want-to-eat bag of chips, each person, by edict or by convention, is given only a set number of chips by society and in their own mind-set.
Starting to school, graduating, finding employment, getting married, having children, buying a home, retiring – and then the last potato chip in the bag – senior citizen, growing old, golden years, post retirement, geezerhood – whatever it is called. The last potato chip.
Like a school of fish, moving in unison, everyone doing the same thing at the same time, no one getting out of line – manageable, easy, convenient — regimented.
Our Boomer Generation is the first generation to be cut off from the extended family unit. We’ve spent our lives, willingly and contentedly, in glorified “concentration camps” of our own invention. Now we are left staring at the last potato chip, apportioned by that regimen – sad, lost, and afraid. We’ve bought into this thing! And now we need to find our way out of it or be content knowing that the potato chip we hold in our hand is the last one. So. Maybe it’s not the last one. Maybe we want more.
We must find ourselves, not as a mass of people or a mob; but find ourselves, individually. But to do that we must first understand that we are missing. We are a product of the pretty concentration camps we grew up in. In that camp we forgot how to think for ourselves, make our own decisions, hold on the whole bag of chips. We can relearn.
Editor’s Notes: Danna G. Hallmark is a concept and training materials developer, philosopher, author, and writer, who has had a long career of “out of the box” thinking, guiding, and counseling in many venues. More of her writings can be found atwww.dannagrace.com, www.globaltanetwork.com, www.yourjewelryguide.com, www.t-foh.com. Danna is also published by Academia.edu. and has several books on the market, both in digital and hard copy. You can reach Danna by asking to connect on Skype dannagrace1, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.