My father was born in 1925, my mother in 1929 and me in 1963.
So much for the decor.
I am therefore 59 years old, my mother 93 and my father, no age left since he died in 2019.
I could be a cougar but it’s too tiring. You have to lie down on white sand in the middle of inane islands and drink cocktails in the evening, sitting on a rattan chair whose straw fits in your ass.
I’d rather be 59 for good and except for the mornings when the bags under my eyes sound like a metaphysical reminder to my eyes of my finiteness, I’m fine.
Well almost since for a few months a little music has been heard which spoils my moments of plenitude a little.
Boomers in what state did you leave the world ask me young converts to degrowth and ecology, like Greta Thunberg, a stubborn activist in a peacoat and an itchy woolen hat. This little girl has guts, enough in any case to pull me out of my torpor.
I will make a first remark.
My parents, in 1968, were respectively 43 and 39 years old. They don’t care about barricades in rue Gay-Lussac (they live in Normandy) and rumors of the Prague Spring have reached them from afar, busy as they are finding a piece of devil’s tail to pull to feed their two children. Already purchasing power.
They have known wars, not just one, and want to enjoy their Moulinex robot unhindered. My mother, when she watches the drum of the washing machine turn Chimene’s eyes for Rodrigue. She puts gluttonous enzymes in the laundry tub and buries her nose in the clean laundry that sends lily and lavender. In the evening, often in the summer, the two watch a soap opera in 15 episodes which takes place in Provence, where brothers and sisters tear each other apart to find out who will inherit. It is Jeanne, the most virtuous, in the fifteenth episode.
These would therefore be guilty of the current state of the world. Damn.
One could, as date purists, tell me that my parents weren’t boomers since you have to be born after the Second World War to win this title. They are the grandparents or late parents of those like me who were born in 1963.
Who am I then ?
A child of an old man who was 5 years old in 1968, brought up by parents who had come back from everything and who dreamed of silence and comfort. They respond sparingly to questions about their youth. Silent people.
If I understood the case correctly, the boomers were around 16/25 years old at the end of the 1960s and in France they only had to oppose De Gaulle at the end of their political life, then Pompidou, then in Giscard. The same will think that the cursed cycle finally ends in apotheosis with the return of the left to power, finally if you want because there, we are talking about the election of François Mitterrand in 1981.
What did these boomers do to incur the wrath of the younger generations in 2022 ? First, they are supposed to have all voted Emmanuel Macron, the one who promises retirement at 65, sweat and tears. The complaint is easy to understand. I’m going to work for your old scrap apple and you, you take it easy, scratching your Millionaire on the weekend and going on an organized trip to Turkey with other scraps of your kind. You deserve to die in a EHPAD Orpéa from stage 4 cancer and if the Covid decimates you and your old stove friends, so much the better, that’s only justice.
I am not exaggerating. I hear, in my entourage, remarks made without blushing by young political commissars who decided, behind closed doors, of my fault and that of my parents. Too bad for the approximations provided that we have the intoxication of rebellion. Talking about horrors is good, explains the world and prevents you from thinking too much about your own mistakes and contradictions. I understand and I did the same when I asked my father which resistance network he belonged to at the age of 15 in 40, galvanized by my history lessons in terminale, full of beardless heroes who died for France, shot at the Age of first love. At the time, I could recite Manouchian’s last letter to his wife Mélinée. My father seemed to me like a coward out of history. I resented him for not having any story to tell apart from the destruction of the town of Saint-Lô during the landing in 1944. A pecadilla.
However, irony cannot hide my embarrassment at these accusations. Basically, we are 15,20,25 years old and you, our elders, we are leaving the world in an advanced state of decay. If we don’t die of thirst, heat or hunger, terrible conflicts await us.
Like Alfred de Musset in his time who laments because he did not know 1789, the Napoleonic wars and the greatness of a revolutionary France or imperial, I and my fellow men took advantage of a narrow shooting window of a few decades where it was still possible to travel by plane without a bad conscience, happy to ransack Nature, this slave to our bundle of children stuffed with pleasure. We are targets.
Here we are. What to answer to these desperate hordes ? Of what nature are the reproaches they address to us ? Do they regret a fantasized paradise lost, stuck between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the wars of decolonization, the stolen years, torn from the mud of history? ? And these young women and these young boys who are they first ?
Not all are socially equal. Not all animated by the same aggressiveness, some more busy than others to ensure their survival. Nothing new under the sun of the class struggle. We don’t all have time to think. Time is a commodity that is expensive in our capitalist societies and being rich is preferable if you want to dispose of it.
The harshest criticism comes from the camp of the young bourgeoisie. Daughter and son of a choice of liberal professions, artists, middle or senior executives. In general, parents took care of the education of their children because they had the means and the latter grew up surrounded by care, culture and ease.
The bites are all the deeper in that they often come from privileged young people. No homogeneity of the youth (in 2022 as in 1950, a child from the underprivileged classes will drool more to get out of the social molasses) no more than boomers or any other category of people supposed to be a generation.
It would be easy to point out to our acrimonious, already gentrified children that they take advantage of the social position of their parents. Few of them break the moorings and renounce their status as heirs. They grunt, groan during family dinners, both feet in cotton wool. To renounce comfort, to think alone, to live the nothing behind and the nothing having to suppose such an effort that they give up and follow the road traced by the kinship. Too bad, we would like so much that the children were more audacious and courageous than their parents. We are unfair.
What to propose then to put an end to this confrontation between old people, suspected of being at the origin of today’s ills and young people who would perhaps like to continue living in unconsciousness but can no longer ?
First think about the past, go back in time. What drives the human being is his remarkable will to draw from his environment the possibility of a “ better be (probably illusory but that is not the question). No longer dying riveted to the land one cultivates, no longer dying in the mines, no longer working 70-hour weeks, moving more quickly, eating better, walking around in one’s free time (in France, 1936, the have we forgotten ? ), not giving a damn about the state of the world.
When Michelin, at the beginning of the 20e century gradually imposes the car, remodels the countryside to make it accessible to four wheels, no one manifests and guesses that a few decades later, the car will be one of the worst scourges on the planet and that thermal or electric, it will have our skin so collectively, we continue to cherish it like the Golden Calf.
The children of our children (if they still exist) will reproach their parents, this generation of egoists without conscience, for having succumbed to the sirens of the digital, of the Metaverse, of the globalized and connected global world, etc. What will our children answer ? That they hadn’t understood, that they had even found it neat, the web that worked of them flies and the most honest of them would remember that they had called men (yes, I know , and women) of the caves their parents dropped.
The search for culprits is a rather vain sport unless you want to put humanity on trial from its origins and think that the first idiot to have cut a flint or cooked its meat is responsible for global warming. Look no further, the bad guy is him, this low ceiling not sapiens for a round.
I propose to avoid, on both sides, easy shortcuts, invectives, lawsuits, postures. Boomers are born at a moment of collective orgasm. End of the war, end of the Nazi nightmare, end of the restrictions. In two horses, they would defeat the world on the National 7. All we need is love.
I am 59 years old and the world does not belong to me any more than to you who are 20. We can try to live side by side, to fight together and I can even watch your children when you leave, on foot, in weekend. On the other hand, don’t ever tell me again that I voted for Macron, invented pesticides, made the first car, cut down trees and sacrificed your future to stuff myself. Take me for who I am, a woman born in 1963, with good and bad who hopes her vindictive mood combined with yours will make the world last longer.
No hard feelings, daughter, son, grandchildren of boomers. Given what’s going on here and elsewhere, we can’t do without each other. For the worst ? Not to defend the best.