Mike Rudd, RAF fighter jet pilot and Otahuhu College boy, puts aside his grumpy old man image, just for one day, to champion the Millennials.
Despite my well-justified “slightly grumpy” moniker I am inclined to optimism when it comes to the future for the next generations of adults, including the one known as Millennials. The economic problems due to the baby boomers sucking up the resources for pensions, benefits and healthcare will soon be solved demographically, providing a platform for the next highly impressive generation to get on with making their world a better place for all.
There seems to be a view forming about the younger generation in New Zealand, and particularly around the Bay of Plenty. This magazine has featured positive features about impressive teenagers and Louis Donovan, one of my colleagues on the column writers’ list, has turned a few heads with his thoughtful, entertaining and sometimes challenging ideas. But it’s wider than that and more significant.
Each successive generation, it seems to me, exhibits less prejudice about race, gender, religion, sexuality and opinion. Similarly there is a detectable and genuine improvement in important matters like respect, tolerance and civic responsibility. My generation, the Baby Boomers (so called as a result of the post-World War II surge in birth rates), has provided pretty well in material terms for ourselves and to an extent for our families. But there are plenty of areas needing improvement like wealth-sharing, international relations and bettering the lot of those in our world who suffer in serious ways.
Like most retirees I never tire of amusing anyone who will listen, by telling them that I am so busy that I have no idea how I ever found time to work. It is true though, sort of. The ‘sort of’ is that most of the business of being busy in retirement is optional. Initially retirement holds two main worries: Will there be enough money? And will I be bored out of my skull? As far as I observe, the money thing tends to be less of an issue than expected. Certainly there is less income but more scope and time available for actively reducing costs in order to live within the available resources. As far as the boredom issue is concerned, the initial frenzy of signing up to leisure activities (in my case the golf club, yoga classes and bridge club) becomes over-committing as the more experienced retirees welcome younger blood to provide energy and organisational capacity. And there’s a desire to engage significantly more with family than during the working years, so the fears of boredom are replaced with the opposite.
Spouses it seems, find these diversionary activities provide them with welcome relief from the shadow they suddenly acquired. All in all I, like many of my friends, find retirement hugely enjoyable. The games we invent to keep us busy are in my view as enjoyable and satisfying as the games we were required to play in the name of work. Additionally, if we are fortunate to be blessed with grandchildren or other youngsters, experiencing their company is a joy at least as exquisite as parenthood. I heard on the radio the other day that men are only truly happy when they are over 65. It surprised me to hear that sentiment expressed but on reflection I reckon there’s a good bit of truth in it.
Finally I send greetings from the Lytham Yacht Club, remembered perhaps by readers of my previous rambling as the establishment with all of the trappings expected of a sailing club, except boats and any association with water, unless mixed with whisky.