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COLUMN: Baby Boomers work ethic

‘It seems our work ethic extends to and includes our hearts as well’

Baby Boomers, as you likely know, represent the demographic born between 1946 and 1964.

There was a baby ‘boom’ (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) when the soldiers returned home after the Second World War.

We are known to be a hard-working group with a high work ethic. We were an economically influential generation and believe in family values.

We have made some changes along the way. We fought for social freedoms and social change.

We have witnessed some of the most important world events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, John and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations, Woodstock, the first landing on Moon, Beatlemania and more.

We demonstrated for women’s rights, gay and civil rights. Progress has been made in all these areas, but we still have things we need to work on.

We marched against Nuclear Weapons. (1, 2, 3, 4 – we don’t want a nuclear war! 2, 4, 6, 8 – we don’t want to radiate!)

We helped to influence the ending of the Vietnam War. We believe in helping others and volunteer our time generously.

I recently witnessed people volunteering their time in the townhouse complex where I live.

It is run by a strata council and that includes a president, vice-president, secretary…the usual council positions.

You have likely heard horror stories about stratas. Some of them can be bureaucratic nightmares, with retired folks fighting for control over a whole variety of issues.

Most of strata council members have years of work experience under their belts and depending on what their particular career was, can find it difficult to work together. Also, a lot of them do not suffer fools gladly. Wisdom becomes more prominent with age and patience less so (sometimes).

Our group is uniquely different. There is always laughter when they are working together and everyone is so willing to step up and help out.

Our president sends out a call for help and six to eight people show up, work gloves and shovels in hand. The work they help out with is frequently physical. Most of them are in their 70s, with some closer to 80 than others. (So you see, there is still some brawn, along with the brain, when you are in your seventh decade.)

Last year they chopped down a rather large tree, then cut it up and gave it all away. Recently they worked on buried lines (not electrical), which required moving huge amounts of 40 mm mixed rock. Rakes, wheelbarrows, shovels and brooms were all brought to the worksite and everyone just naturally did what was needed, respectfully consulting one another when necessary.

They are an interesting mix and all their individual skills contribute to each project.

We have carpenters, construction workers, a machinist, a tree faller, someone who worked for BC Hydro, another person who did RV repairs and also some cattle ranching, a teacher and a couple of entrepreneurs. Yours truly contributes by running the strata library and Block Watch.

All this volunteer work helps to keep our expenses lower and our strata fees reasonable.

We’ve kept each other bolstered up during the COVID-19 pandemic, as during the good weather, we gather, sitting six feet apart in a big circle in front of one of the townhouses.

We share stories, experiences and kind of keep an eye on each other, without being intrusive.

We also laugh together, releasing endorphins that make us feel good, despite the pandemic.

I look around at the group and think how fortunate I am to live here. We are almost like a family in a way, and we know that should something untoward happen in the middle of the night, we just need to make a phone call.

It seems our work ethic extends to and includes our hearts as well.

Carole Fawcett is an editor, freelance writer, retired counsellor. www.wordaffair.com

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