It was the year 1973 that in many ways shaped my disposition on life. I was 18, just graduating from high school. In my senior year, we scrapped reading the history books as we watched it unfold real time on live TV. The Nixon administration — our government — was crumbling. There was the very real prospect of having my “number” be called for Selective Service. (The Vietnam War was still raging, but fortunately, the lottery draft ended in December 1973.) And then the Oil Crisis hit, as OPEC flexed its muscle by limiting supplies and causing shortages and gas prices to skyrocket. All this, unsurprisingly, led to a recession.
And that’s how my first year of adulthood started.
But here is the thing: my generation — the Baby Boomers — had it easy.
We knew we had it easy because our parents — the Greatest Generation — who went through the Great Depression and World War II, would never let us forget how much they sacrificed for us. And they were right.
Yes, our lives were shaped by those crises of confidence in our government, the realization that we did not control the world’s energy and hence didn’t have quite the dominance or independence we we thought we had, and, of course, by the quagmire in Vietnam. All these events and crises were significant. I still look at gas prices and I don’t even own a car. It’s a habit.
But those events, and the effect they had on my generation, are a mere pittance in comparison to how Corona Pandemic will shape the generation coming of age today.
This crisis is far from over. But I predict, that when it is, when we have survived and reflected and assessed what went wrong and what to do to prevent it again, the Boomers will be in their proverbial rockers.
The generations that follow — especially the Milennials and others who were old enough to remember this event and what life was like before — will have had their collective psyche altered.
And these generations will speak to their children and their grandchildren about it. They will have the stories to tell, for the rest of this century.