Sometimes I think my generation may have drawn the short straw on a number of levels.
Not for us the trail-blazing glory of the early Baby Boomers. No such luck. We don’t have a cool title like Gen X or the iconic status sounding label of the Millennials.
What we have is the rather underwhelming label of Generation Jones.
Impressed? No I didn’t think you would be. Even heard of it? No to that one too, I suppose.
What is in a name you might say. Quite a lot actually. I am beginning to wonder whether that is at the root of our discontent.
Jonathan Pontell came up with the term several decades ago to describe people born between the late 1950s and 1965. It is believed to have arisen due to our need to “keep up with the Jones’s” or it could be from the slang word Jones meaning to yearn or crave.
It gets worse.
We were raised with high expectations but came of age in an era of mass unemployment. Pontell says we are less optimistic, more distrustful and more cynical than the early baby boomers.
I don’t remember feeling that way as a teenager. I was probably distracted by the Bay City Rollers and Donny Osmond (nice, safe girl educated by Nuns) but I do have an increasing feeling of unease that the future will not be an easy one for me and my cohort. We are faced with a possible pension nightmare, a working life that extends to 75, a huge increase in Dementia, very little progress in extending our health in later years and now we face a silent epidemic of clinical depression in our adolescent and teenage children.
All that and we have a dud title too.
So I decided the time has come for a new name. Generation Fabulous. GenFab – to use the abbreviation – may have been listing in the backwaters of cultural anonymity but I feel we are about to emerge with a new outlook and a new profile.
Of course we have to reform a few bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption, inactivity and a little too much materialism in favour of a few new ones like eating home cooked food, introducing dynamic exercise into our daily lives and replacing the vino with a mug of tea – but that shouldn’t be too difficult. It is a lot easier than fighting a world war – although the Middle East is a powder keg waiting to blow and who knows what is going on in North Korea.
We can be older, wiser and fitter. We can find new, challenging ways of keeping fit. Jude Kelly Artistic Director at the South Bank, I salute for taking up surfing in her sixties and hanging out with cool blokes down in Newquay….we need more examples like her. We can start putting some spiritual depth into our lives and counter balance that with regular deliveries from Zara. In short we can scrub up and be truly, madly fabulous.
Here is a key point.
When I coach people – either for presentations or media appearances – I make sure they understand the difference between practice and rehearsal. Practice is a continuous habit and rehearsal is the big push before an event. It is the same in life. New, good habits can be ingrained and then, when opportunity arises, there’s a big push; it could be a new date, a career break or a great speaking opportunity – a bit of judicious soap box time is good for instilling self-belief.
For performance coaching use a quadrant-based model which looks at developing work, relationships, soul and advanced hobbies (I don’t mean to offend anyone but macramé and bowls don’t fit into this section while surfing, climbing, serious physical fitness and learning another language do).
Join clubs, support your community, develop new friendships and feed your brain with trips to every interesting exhibition you can find. Get out to see all the best films, plays and concerts and while you are out there, look amazing. Think Wonder Woman as opposed to Invisible Woman.
Above all else be Fabulous….