Does the ”Baby Boomer” Generation have Unique Spiritual Developmental Needs?

Oct 10 2018

We can think of “Baby Boomers” ages as generally beginning in the mid-fifties and extending through the early seventies.  This time has been referred to as Midlife, or the “Third Age” of life, a time when people are generally freer to devote themselves more directly to interests, talents, and skills of their own choosing. 

Much has been written about the uniqueness of this age group, but suffice it to say the Boomers seem different than previous generations.

  • They are generally in better physical shape, are more highly educated, and have greater quality-of-life expectations.
  • Their global worldview has been greatly shaped by mass media, technological advances and world travel.
  • Boomers are generally more affluent than their parents and are said to be reconfiguring the nature of work, family, and retirement.
  • They are poised to extend the former boundaries of “middle age”.
  • They have divorced in significantly greater numbers and percentages than any previous generation.
  • More than any other generation they live in family configurations sometimes referred to as blended, mended, bended or simply ended.
  • Boomers are curious of mind and restless of spirit. They can delve into different philosophical and religious ideas.
  • They are hungry for “soul food”.

While every stage and phase of life has its own unique spiritual developmental work and growth tasks…   my investigation into midlife informs me that these five spiritual developmental tasks are central to the 20-25 years that the “Boomer” generation is addressing now in their inner life growth path.

Unique Midlife Spirituality

  1. Living Youthfully vs. Living as a Youth: The degree to which we can let go of those things of youth and take on a new spiritual maturity and a “holy youthfulness.”

  2. Assimilating Contradictions vs. Demanding Consistency: The degree to which we can begin to understand the role of paradox in your life and the fact that personal contradictions exist within us, as opposed to demanding that all things and persons remain forever constant and fixed.

  3. Evolving an "Other" Focus vs. Remaining "Self" Focused: The degree to which we can shift your primary concern from an egoistic viewpoint to one which places the needs and desires of others as at least equally important to our own.

  4. Reconstitution vs. Fragmentation: The degree to which you can reconcile with and integrate your own brokenness and the brokenness of the world and embark upon personal renewal. 
  1. Purposeful Living vs. Purposelessness: The degree to which you can discover or re-discover your personal dream, your individual mission and pursue it with passion.

 Midlife is a distinct pivot-point time for spiritual growth.  Midlife is a stage of life when we are called to gradually incorporate these five deeper into our soul and our life in general.  When this growth process is interrupted or abandoned  we can gradually slide away from inner growth altogether.  Addressing these five brings gifts of spiritual vitality, peace, and humility.  Failure to address them leaves holes in our spiritual fabric and can cause a descent into spiritual disease.

For more on midlife spirituality look at Johnson Institute Course 109 or read my only novel, The Nun and the Doctor.

Until next time…

Stay light and be bright in the Lord.

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