So Brian and I had coffee a couple weeks ago at the Terra Café in Monroe. We’ve started to get together every 6-8 weeks at local coffee shops, McDonalds, or the snow bar I build in February. The snow bar is a story for another day but as a teaser there’s also a substantial bonfire plus Brian brings his world-famous potato soup. Brian and I worked together for a number of years developing one of those relationships we can pick up at any time discussing topics ranging from our families to raging world issues . . . and, of course, Generation Bridge.
When Brian asked if I would be interested in contributing to the blog, I very much appreciated the opportunity to join the conversation but also a bit selfishly to better understand my own situation within the Generation Bridge framework by thinking and writing. Some background. I’m about to turn 64, not working (“retirement” makes me feel old so allow me some editorial license), and have a family that spans four generations. My dad is 92 and lives with my brother in New Hampshire and my mom is 90 and lives by herself and, yes, still drives her own car in Massachusetts. I have 3 daughters and recently became “GrandBob” for the third time with the arrival of Carter Robert 3 weeks ago who was welcomed by cousins 3 ½ year old Cleo Alexandra and 1 year old George James.
So I consider myself to be in Generation Bridge’s sweet spot. Sometimes when I think about Generation Bridge conceptually, I view it in my mind as a continuum with one generation leading to the next with a “heat map” overlaid. A heat map is a pretty simple concept as the hotter colors reflect higher priorities while the cooler colors reflect areas that have become lesser concerns. For me right now the hottest colors are over my wife and me as we concentrate on financial, healthcare, and other issues as we transition into our next stage. But especially with older parents our priorities could shift at any time.
With the Generation Bridge framework I recognize that I’ve always done a juggling act across generational issues concentrating my focus/heat on predictable life stages (e.g., buying a house, the college years) and sometimes unpredictable or unplanned events (e.g., health issues, career changes). But in retrospect I recognize that I’ve been almost completely reactive and not proactive. Probably the biggest Generation Bridge prompt for me personally is that I should be more proactive in preparing for the inevitable events.
And a correction as I realize I’ve demonstrated Baby Boomer bias in stating I was in Generation Bridge’s “sweet spot”. Everyone is in the sweet spot. It’s just a question as to where you’re presently concentrating your focus/“heat” and how proactive/reactive you’re being.