“Hi Sweetie! It’s such a beautiful day here. We’re taking the dogs to the beach for a walk now, then getting takeout. Oh this one beagle just came up and is giving me kisses, so cute. Anyways, our neighbors might come over for dinner. Oh, I have a cute sweater you might want. Call me back!” This is a voicemail I recently got from my mom—one among many quite like this in recent weeks. Does she not know that, um, the world is burning?! She sounds so relaxed. I’ve had to remind her several times not to have the neighbors over for dinner and not to pet all the dogs she meets out on her walks.
I’ve been FaceTiming with one of my best friends every week during this economic shutdown, and her parents—both in their sixties—will eventually dance onto the screen. Literally dance onto the screen. They’re having wine and talking about stories from their wine club meetings last month.
What is going on with this generation of baby boomers? They do not seem to be sweating this pandemic. The more I talk to other friends, the more I learn that they feel the same way about their parents. My peers are panicking. We’re freaking out. You can see us talking about it on social media all of the time. There’s been a huge surge in Internet and data usage since this pandemic. My generation is on there, talking about it—posting about it and texting about it. Want to know what a few of my friends in their late fifties posted about the last week? “Looking for suggestions on what to do with a surplus of heirloom tomatoes” and “Anyone know a safe way to die a dog’s hair pink?” Hello…? People are dying and you’re looking for a marinara recipe!
Do they just understand something we don’t? Maybe. I started asking my parents, friends’ parents, and other baby boomer contacts why they seem so chill about this all. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Their careers are locked in
While older millennials, such as myself and my boyfriend, are having this terrible feeling of, “I was just making headway in my career and now all of that progress is lost!” our parents are well-established in their careers. They have been for a long time. A six-month economic lockdown won’t impact their reputations in their industries. A five-year lockdown wouldn’t!