Make a Difference In YOUR Sixties
Make Your Sixties Like The 60s

by Andrew MacDonald

Yes, you were there whether you were a spaced-out flower child or not. The times were what they were and if you’re coming up to 60 now, you lived through them.

red heart on denim, hippie hearts make a difference in the 60sThe 60s was a time of cracking in the old order when something new struggled to break through.

Each of us has our own memories of the time. I remember underground papers on the street, political commentary in Ramparts magazine that we’ve hardly seen since, Robert Crumb cartoons (my favorite was Mr. Natural and his doltish acolyte Flakey Foont), and getting Rubber Soul for Christmas. There was Mary’s hair, drugs and Carnaby Street, a million song memories, soaring hopes and crashing lows, and the smell of rebellion in the air.

There was also the sense that we, the youth of the day, were unique, chosen ones, the first generation of youth to create the important music of the day. We wanted to make a difference. Yes, we did take ourselves seriously, but it wasn’t all gossamer, was it?

Today the same people -- that’s you and me -- are hitting our own sixties and now we’re changing the definition of old in every way possible. To an unprecedented extent we’re not “retiring,” which means pulling back. We’re pushing forward. If we dropped out way back when it was time to join, we’re dropping in in retirement when it used to be the time to snooze on the porch in the rocking chair. Go figure. We are not our parents in retirement any more than we were our parents when we were in our 20s. So what happens now?

Do I have your attention?

Anything is possible now. The only limitation is the one between our ears. And truth be told, we boomers can be a little too mature sometimes. That’s exactly why we do ourselves a favour by seeing our sixties like we saw the 60s, as a time of huge possibility, as a time of future not pasture. We can make a difference.

Make A Difference.
Make The World Better

And what possibility is that? The possibility of helping the world to be better than we found it. The world that needed changing 40 years ago needs it just as much now. The difference between then and now, gentle reader, is that we now have the opportunity to do something about the needed change. The equivalent of our youthful smarts today is our experience of how the world works, and our resources both emotional and material. Our big hearts are the same...

Sci-fi writer William Gibson said recently that old fashioned sci-fi has a hard time keeping up with reality these days. A writer writing sci-fi is outed by reality the next day. So he suggested an option for sci-fi writers was just to chronicle what is happening today, stripping fictional characters into the changing techno-landscape and you’ve got the marvels of what we used to call sci-fi. This is a time of unprecedented change. Even change is changing. It's time to make a difference.

Not that the 60s weren’t changeable too. Much of the era cleared away like the aftermath of a spectacular party to be only dimly remembered later. The shiny carriage of idealism ran into the brick wall of the world’s tired old truths. Basically, we didn’t realize the depth of the challenge before us. Flower children we were with all the naïve and fragile beauty the term implies. But there was beauty, was there not? In the music and the art, in the hope, in the sense that there was a future to be created and not merely a script to be filled out.

New And Improved Sixties

We’re older now, smarter, and wiser; probably our brain chemicals are more balanced, and maybe our hormones too, hot flashes aside. We’ve learned hard lessons. People we love have died. We’re aware of our own mortality, maybe more aware in general.

The challenge is to let greatness blossom now. As Rumi says, “Start something great. It doesn’t matter what others think of you.” Salvation isn’t going to come out of a Liverpool band or a pipe, but out of what all of us create together. Each of us can start or work on something that matches our personal dream and vision of what the world needs. Each of us can get the help we need to bring our vision forward.

The world will support your efforts and “play” with you to fulfill your earnest intentions. The future is challenging, but yours if you want it.

The music’s quieter now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not transformative. The change is quieter, too. It’s made moment by moment, little choice by little choice. When I’m very still, I can feel it humming away there, and so can you. It’s the truth that all the poets write about, that the activists work for and the lovers love.

©2007 Andrew MacDonald
Andrew C. MacDonald is a life coach who loves working with people in transition. His seniors website is Boomers Unbuttoned.

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