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Tags: baby boomer | retirement

Social Life Crucial to Successful Transitions

By    |   Monday, 29 June 2015 09:28 AM EDT

It was 9:30 in the morning outside a branch library. A couple was waiting for friend who they had not seen for quite a while. It was to be a gathering of baby boomers updating their past association with the facts and figures of the present.

Why meet at the library, you may ask? Well the woman coming to meet our couple (a boomer herself) was previously the library manager. In fact she had raised the money to remodel an old dilapidated building to create the local library for the town.

Once the library was fully functional, this librarian made a name for herself by carving out a place to go for people of all ages. As it turned out, it became especially popular with baby boomers — for as a sidebar to this story, baby boomers are in fact rediscovering their local libraries.

Back in 2011 when these three baby boomers first became acquainted, they would see each other nearly every day. But by now, it was the summer of 2015 and the circumstances had changed.

The librarian had retired, the baby boomer couple had moved, and they had lost touch with each other. But that was to change on this day.

The couple arrived about 10 minutes early for the encounter; yes, they were anxious, but they also knew their library friend was quite punctual. The librarian did not disappoint, for she was exactly on time.

She bounced out of her car, raced to the couple, and they all began chatting as if they had never missed a beat. That is one byproduct of this story — the importance of social relationships to baby boomers. But the librarian, a well-educated Stanford grad who had made library science her life's work, had more to discuss with her friends this morning.

She had an agenda of the mind and spirit. She wanted to share about her retirement and her new health and wellness plan. She also would share about her experience being one of the “sandwich boomers.”

These are the boomers who are still supporting children, while at the same time providing support and caregiving for their own parents.

So on this day, the librarian, once so quiet, much like the surroundings in a library, was now full of energy, like someone who had just been let out of school early. This is because she felt so comfortable with her baby boomer couple as friends. But there was also another dynamic that baby boomers will appreciate — the sharing of like-minded stories that only people of similar age and stage can fully appreciate.

One aspect of what took place in this story that can't be adequately put into words is the unspoken awareness of the understanding.

Finally the discussion gets around to the retirement. Is the librarian happy? Yes, by all accounts she is. Is the librarian fulfilled? Yes, she has a husband who has been a soulmate since their Palo Alto years.

They have moved from a two story house to a ranch, a good lesson for the couple as they plan for their future. The librarian who once made traveling a priority, explained that now it seemed that trying to get to far-away destinations involved some elements of near “torture,” leading her and her husband to become homebodies.

Does she have activities? She certainly does: she has a new exercise program and a new book club. But as we close the story of this morning’s 45 minute encounter, there was one lasting impression which sums up the day: the biggest smile the librarian had on her face was when the couple referred to her as “the library manager emeritus,” for at that moment, the librarian knew her life’s work counted.

You can read more about baby boomers thriving in this stage of their lives in my book, "In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation."

Rick Bava founded and was CEO of the Bava Group, which became the premier communications consulting firm serving the Fortune 500 community. Bava became known for his popular blog columns “Rick Bava on the Baby Boomer Generation.”  He is the author of "In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The importance of social relationships to baby boomers cannot be overstated.
baby boomer, retirement
Monday, 29 June 2015 09:28 AM
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