5 things boomers did better (a love letter from a Millennial)

A little boy riding his bicycle looking out at the sunset.
Photo by Nadezhda1906/Shutterstock

There seems to be a form of ongoing war between Boomers and Millennials (of which the writer of this article is admittedly the latter). We’re constantly pointing fingers, taking things (or each other) for granted, and fighting over who’s happier, or which generation had it better growing up—so perhaps it’s time we take a break from all that and sing some praise for the greatest generation to live so far: the baby boomers. Here’s why!

You pioneered the modern music festival

Two acoustic guitars and blankets on some grass.

Photo by wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Summer music festivals are all the rage today and take place all over the world year-round, but we’d be nowhere without those that paved the partying road before us. Maybe you went to Woodstock, or Monterey Pop, or had your own local version of the summer of love. You may have even made it to some of the real raves. Music festivals today are mostly sad simulacra of the love-fests of the past and with hefty price tags to boot. 

You lived in the moment

A sunset at the cottage.

Photo by Ray Esteves/Shutterstock

You weren’t tied to your cell phones, in fact, there were no cell phones. You weren’t expected to constantly check in with anyone and you weren’t checked in on just the same. You didn’t know if your friends were “maybe attending,” you just showed up to the bar and hoped that you’d have a good time. You couldn’t just “google it,” learning and discovering took some time and may have even included a library card. You let the moment happen, while nowadays we try to “life-hack” just about everything. Mindfulness and being present are things that millennials chase after, while for you, it was more organic because there weren’t as many all-consuming distractions like e-mail. 

You dressed to impress

Beautiful girl in classic image of the '60s.

Photo by Ellya/Shutterstock

It’s pretty obvious that millennials admire your taste in fashion; there’s a whole industry dedicated to re-selling your old duds. Not only were clothes better made (prior to fast-fashion’s monolithic hold), but the looks were so iconic. The circle skirts and polished looks of the ’50s, mini-skirts and psychedelic prints in the ‘60s, and bell bottoms, platforms, and punk in the ’70s (just to name some of our faves). These looks will always be remembered, will always be in style, and will continue to inspire new fashion trends today and tomorrow.

The choices weren’t endless and that was a good thing

A million plastic dolls.

Photo by Estudi Vaque/Shutterstock

While some might say that variety is the spice of life, it’s also the bane of our existence. In the past, if you needed a new pair of shoes, jacket, home phone, etc., whatever it may have been, the options were limited and you took what was available to you without too much thought. Fewer choices at the store (and without the option of spending hours on e-commerce sites) meant getting exactly what you needed instead of being inundated with endless possibilities. These days, we spend hours browsing online and in stores looking for the perfect item, or buying too much of something we like. There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing (because you need those shoes in six colours, don’t you?). Choice might be liberating, but it can also be debilitating.

You were the original hipsters

A black and white picture of teenagers in the '70s.

Photo courtesy of indiedesignkids.tumblr.com

Okay okay, so technically the original hipsters were jazz-loving hepcats and be-boppers of the 1940s but maybe some of you were lucky enough to be born in that brilliant era, soaking up all of the cool from within the womb. Regardless of when you were born, you know what we’re talking about; you were cool, interesting, and inspirational. You lived through the most amazing moments in subculture (mods, rockers, punks, early hip hop) and through some of the most fascinating and impactful political happenings (civil rights, the women’s movement, student protests of the ‘60s and ‘70s). Plus, you lived in the big cities first and you paid a hell of a lot less in rent than we did! Lucky you. We’re still cool, but you did it all first.

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