I like Michael Kinsley. I read him occasionally in Vanity Fair, the NY Times and Slate. And I might pick up his latest book: "Old Age: A Beginner's Guide" because fellow Canadian Michael J. Fox said "...this book is a must-read for newcomers to the world of old age."
'Age' is what I have in common with Kinsley. Well, not 'old' age, but certainly 'middle age'. You see, both of us turned 65 this year. I think my brain is 21, but apparently the rest of me continues to move on.
Where I take umbrage with Mr. Kinsley is with his rather dark views of what we Boomers are leaving, or can leave, behind once we've done our time on terra firma. The question is: what is, or could be, a Boomer's legacy? In his article: "Michael Kinsley has some advice for baby boomers" (Vanity Fair Magazine, April, 2016) he offers advice to Baby Boomers 'Who'd like to be remembered.'
He said this advice is for "those worried about their Legacy (or if they'll even have one)."
Oh dear. Of course every one of us will have a Legacy. Every breath, every footprint in the sand builds your Legacy. But I think conscious 'Legacy building' should begin early. Like at 40. Heck... 30'd be a good start. But, if you didn't happen to start then, Boomers can begin building life-affirming, connective, fun legacies now!
Mr. Kinsley said "OK Boomers, the race is over."
WRONG. The 'race' is, yes, a little slower... but we're running waaaaay smarter. Boomers are in their prime Legacy-creating years. It's not a 'race'. It's more a 'power walk'.
Now Kinsley gets dark. "In all probability you're going to be forgotten."
Oh Michael, you're being so glass-half-full. There's a big movement in families to collect 'your' story, and grandma's... and grandpa's.... and weird Uncle Charley's. And digital technology will ensure they get to be heard & seen by our families ten generations into the future. "Oh, look at him! That's Great Great Grandpa Michael! Kinda cute isn't he?".
"The ultimate baby boomer competition" says Kinsley, "is how will you be remembered after you die?"
Oh dear. It's not a competition. It's not how big the building is that your name is on. Today it's about how we Boomers are going to use our wisdom, values, skills, talents and resources to create a variety of Legacies. And Michael, the real change in thinking is that we are creating those Legacies NOW so they connect us to others and we enjoy them too. Those Legacies will give our lives more purpose long before the Grim Reaper visits. Boomers actively creating new Legacies = Happier Boomers. And we'll feel that way because we know our Legacies are going to positively affect lives long into the future.
"There is little you can do to affect your final score in the Boomer Olympics" says Kinsley.
Michael, if my only Legacy was to find a cure for Parkinson's disease, I'd do it in a second for you and Michael J. Failing that, my counsel for all Boomers is don't give up on your Legacy. Every Boomer has the values, skills, talents and resources to create unique Legacies, tiny to large, that enrich other lives Now, and will continue to enhance lives long after we've breathed our last smile. Give me a call. Maybe we can have some fun creating one together, eh?
Robb Lucy is author of "Legacies aren't just for dead people!"
"A convincing, step-by-step guide for self-discovery. An uplifting motivational guide for the Boomer generation." Foreword/Clarion Reviews
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