4 November 2011 by Tim Willis

Boomers? No, We’re Bloomers!

Note to all: stop calling 50-somethings baby boomers! We're not! We're a different generation, and many of us are at the most successful time in our life
Life at 50_Bloomers_New 620x349 All photos Corbis

In full bloom: Tom Ford, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Tina Brown, Wayne Hemingway and Hugh Grant. All photos: Corbis

Could everybody please shut up about the Baby Boomers? Their time has come and gone. Born in the post-WWII baby boom, they grew up between 1946 and 1964 into a life that their parents couldn’t even have dreamed of: an era of creativity, affluence and optimism. They helped shape our world musically, culturally and sexually, and for that we give thanks.  But it’s time to stop lumping everyone over 50 into that all-too-easy category.

Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant? All well into their sixties. Twiggy, Martin Amis, Joanna Lumley? Ditto. Al Pacino? 71. Jack Nicholson, 74. Dame Vivienne Westwood, 71. What do they have to do with us?

These good people prove that life doesn’t stop once you hit your half-century. Or the big six-oh. Or even the Biblical three-score and ten. And that’s something to aspire to. But if I read one more article or hear another social commentator describe a 50-something as a Baby Boomer, I shall spontaneously combust.

We’re the kids who were too young to be hippies, too young to dodge the draft or protest against it, too young to shop at Biba or Granny Takes a Trip or hitch a ride to India in search of our inner self. Our early teenage crushes weren’t on Julie Christie or Paul McCartney; they were more likely to be the decidedly un-hipper David Cassidy and Olivia Newton-John.

Some of us who have just turned 50 could even be the offspring of the oldest Baby Boomers. But now we’ve reached our half-century, we suddenly find ourselves part of the same clan. Well, it’s time for that to stop. They were older than us then and they’re older than us now.

We are the Baby Bloomers, the younger brothers and sisters of those Baby Boomers. Just as creative, just as groundbreaking; making a difference in all shapes and forms. Here at high50 Towers we recall the summer, spending hours arguing over who would make the list of our 50 over-50 role models: that roll call could have been twice as big and we would still have been arguing about merit. We Baby Bloomers are, if anything, flowering in our fifties, achieving even more than we did in our forties.

Pick any of the people from our role models list – Tilda Swinton, Tina Brown, Hugh Laurie, Tom Ford, Wayne Hemingway, Hugh Grant: they are all moving on to greater things.

But it’s not just the famous 50-somethings who are following that trend. Novelist Guy Kennaway, 54, has just published Bird Brain, the best book of his career; art collector-turned-hotelier Gary Kennedy is turning guests away from the door of his famed Oak House No. 1; our own high50 co-founder Robert Campbell, a successful advertising guru for decades, branched into the digital word with three innovative web communities. And thousands of you are doing the same.

There’s never been a better time to be a Bloomer. Our time is now.

 

Tim is a journalist, author and former editor-in-chief of high50.com. He has edited the Sunday Times Style section, the Evening Standard’s ES magazine, and Scotland on Sunday Magazine.

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