Those Were the Days

Captain’s Log    5,162

I am so glad I am almost to retirement age.  I can honestly say I am glad I am not just starting out now.  I am glad I have all of that behind me, because I think the ones coming up now are in for struggles I cannot even fathom.

Things are different for young people now.  They want everything because they think they deserve it, and that mindset will not serve them well.  Young people know if they try something and fail, mommy and daddy will be there to pick up the pieces.  That was never my moral code.  Once I left home, I left home.  That was it.  I could go back to visit, but I could not stay. My failures were my own responsibility, and I had many of those.

So I sculpted my life to reflect that value system.  I worked hard.  I lived in less than perfect conditions (sharing home space, stretching a Subway sandwich into two meals, driving shitty cars, etc.)

So what struggles to these millenials have?  They will always struggle to be responsible for themselves.  They will struggle to understand a work ethic that doesn’t allow you to burn up your vacation time the minute you accrue it in your paycheck.  They will struggle to come to work when they are not feeling quite right.  They will struggle to understand the importance of taking “ownership” for their mistakes.

Things that my generation took for granted are beyond the realm of these young people.  It is not uncommon for them to jump jobs every year or so.  Because they know they have a safety net.  They can always go back home and let mommy and daddy pay the bills.

I think I was more successful in my 20’s because I had to figure it out.  I had my own business at the age of 25.  It was not tremendously successful at that time, but it was a federally sanctioned non-profit, and I put in my last $18 to file the paperwork.  Why?  Because I believed in the work.  Until I actually started earning enough money to live, I took every job imaginable.  I sorted checks for one of my sister’s bookkeeping clients (a day labor company with about 7,000 checks a month).  I worked as a clown, an Easter bunny, and Mr. Peanut.  I demonstrated cameras.  I worked in a bindery.  I was signed up with every temp agency in town and spent at least one day a week as an office assistant.  The best job was catering because I could bring home leftovers.

I was willing to go through years of discomfort to make my dream happen.  I relied on nobody for anything.  I had no husband, no parents with deep pockets, no rich relative leaving me a ton of cash.  Even so, those were some of the best days of my life.  We learned to make our own fun.  We were whip smart, kind-hearted, politically active, and willing to take a stand for what we believed in.


I am proud to be one of the boomers.  We came out of the “American dream” and built the American future.  We knew the value of a dollar.  We had patience.

I feel sorry for these rather fucked up entitled little snots that stand before me now.  They think they are so smart and capable, but all they know is technology.  They can text and program computers, but do they have a sense of where we belong in the space-time continuum?  I think not.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

22 responses to “Those Were the Days

  1. Oh, I’ll be the one who differs. Then again, I must share that I failed at packing beans.

  2. Michael

    I, too, I am glad that I don’t have some of their challenges, but I’m also glad that I had to care for myself — from 17 on. It gave me the opportunity to screw up on a whole lot of stuff early and try to never do that again. And I did. Graduated from college having *just* turned 20. Went into the Army, which didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. Married far too young and divorced less than 10 years later. Moved here and there. Lost everything in the recession and followed my bliss into grad school and right into a field that didn’t pay a living wage. Moved some more. Happily left the workforce to care for Mom, but planned poorly and lost what little I’d recovered, so I’m starting again at 54. I don’t think I would have really learned much from all of that if I knew someone else was going to pull my chestnuts out of the fire.

  3. goatbarnwitch

    Don’t even get me started…. Ugh… with you 200% on this topic. I am mom to a young person in this group who looks around her and scratches her head… I of course cringe thinking about what I was doing at her age but….. better than the rest of that lot

  4. Patty O'

    Keep rantin’ Sister! It’s good to know we’re not alone out here. At the same time there are some terrific young people out there doing amazing things. I just wish there were more of them…and fewer cranky ultra-conservative old farts.

  5. Joanie

    I agree. Have to run, going to the bank to get some penny rolls. Ha ha

  6. Having lived in a car and a motel and raised a family of six on $4 an hour (and it wasn’t ancient history, either), I hear you. Yes, there are entirely too many kids who live with an inflated sense of entitlement. I have a feeling that with the trajectory of the new government, they have an extremely rough road ahead of them.

  7. I, too , remember the days when we were hoping our money lasted through the entire month. I babysat when I was twelve through high school. I also babysat when my son was 5 years old to earn extra money. We worked hard and we saved. We didn’t eat out at restaurants and a trip to McDonald’s was a BIG TREAT! Now I am living on my savings and my SS. Hopefully it lasts as long as I do….

  8. I don’t believe all of the millenia kids have this lack of self-sufficiency, but enough of them show up that we THINK they all do. I think this same thing would apply to my generation (pre-baby-boomer). You’ll always have a certain segment of the population who are happy just to go along with whatever comes their way.

  9. Edie

    This says it all. I’m older than you but was babysitting at 12 years old and my sister and I shared the phone bill. I would rather have lived the way we did because we really knew how to make fun with what we had. When we were first married and my husband was laid off for a while, he polished cars, cut grass and did all kind of odd jobs and our fun was with other couples playing board games at each others houses.

  10. Penny Tushingham

    Agree 1000%!

    Pen Pen

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