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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Tweener Trippin’, or Avoiding The Void

Elaine’s back after a too-long absence. I’ve been missing her pithy, incisive, and challenging voice. If you want lessons in how to write effectively about your own experience, read Elaine.

She’s coping with the demands of caring for an elderly parent. It’s the kind of situation where you wish that you could pitch in and do something to help. But, we in the virtual community, separated by physical miles, can only express our admiration and emotional solidarity—and continue to attempt to express ourselves half as well in our blogging as Elaine does in hers.

In describing her situation, Elaine opens with words that are completely dead-on with respect to my own situation—words that I could have written about myself had I her talent:

I've often felt out of place, out of time -- born too late or too early. I was a little too young to really be a "beatnik" and too old to be a "hippie." I'm too old to be a Boomer and too young to be a Solid Senior. I'm neither theist nor atheist, neither New Ager nor Old Fart. I've always have to keep struggling to keep from falling between life's cracks, to find a place of my own.”

As for a “place of my own,” thank God for my wife and children. Without them, I’d very likely be deep in one of those crevices of life somewhere.

As for the generational chronology, I’m in what could be called the Invisible Category—The Tweeners—sandwiched into obscurity by the giant shadows of the “Greatest Generation” (World War II) and the Boisterous Boomers. Being invisible, we were skipped over in political leadership, for example. In ’92, the reins went directly from the WWII guys--straight to the Boomers.

And there’s no looking back. We are in the dustbin, forgotten and unnoticed. And for good reason. There’s precious little contribution to our popular or political culture from my tiny cohort of Depression Babies. We’re a blip on the screen.

If you found yourself in an in-between sub-group like mine, you didn’t go out and create a new world. You either embraced the old, or latched on to the Boomer comet—if you were loose enough to be allowed in, and agile enough to hang on.

Those of us who chose the latter route were derided as “not acting our age.” So be it. I shake my head in dismay at most of my age peers. The great majority blindly went along with the elders, They think rock ‘n roll is noise; they thought burning down Vietnam was our moral duty—in the name of “stopping Communism"; and they surely wouldn’t countenance any cohabitation before marriage. Gay rights? You’ve got to be kidding.

People think I’m a Boomer because I look younger than I am, I have a Boomer wife, kids still in their twenties, and I’m a rock ‘n roll fan. But my dirty little secret is that I’m a Tweener—and in my heart of hearts, like Elaine, I never feel like I belong anywhere.

My wonderful family keeps me from the abyss. And the blogosphere certainly helps. How magically it blurs the gaps of age as well as the physical miles. Praise be to the virtual community out there!

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