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The bus needs new drivers

It’s time to take the hands off the wheel, move to a seat in the bus and let someone younger steer it.

Everything comes to an end. Those of a “certain age” who had the desire and energy had his or her crack at driving the bus — in an occupation, in politics.

There comes a time to move aside and give others a chance. It is a wise person who knows when the time is right.

This is a serious matter for a growing number of Americans, and the suggestion herein will anger many. The idea is worthy of consideration, despite the blow to the ego.

A major element in our economic and social future is a growing number of Americans entering the final phases of the ride. Boomers have moved through American life like a puppy through a python and are emerging to find fewer places to utilize skills, fewer venues in which their participation is sought and valued, fewer chances for employment. Their skills, in fact, are often outdated, their place in the march forward moving farther back in the pack.

The intuitive reaction is to double down, to amp up participation, to seek employment and, too often, political office.

As the most pampered, entitled generation in human history leaves the workplace, a significant number of Boomers cannot accept the fact they are not driving the bus, that they are not in charge and admired by all. They cannot give up the illusion of importance, of power.

Most Boomers have labored for years, made their contributions, benefited from remuneration for the same. To suddenly stop, to attempt to find ways to fill leisure time that, perhaps, once seemed desirable but now weighs heavy and boring, is more than some can handle.

And “some” is growing, the numbers of retires increasing daily. Soon, the entire puppy will exit the python and many Boomers will be unable to find comfort in their new lives.

Counter to the intuitive response, one thing they shouldn’t do is compete for jobs in a difficult market — a market in which wage earners with families struggle to survive — or, perhaps worse, run for public office and, in particular, public office that pays.

Here is our opinion: Don’t.

It is time for retired folks to stay retired. It is time for employers and voters to send a message: Yes, you have skills; yes, you have done good work. Yes, you have experience but, no, you don’t get the job. Volunteer — there are plenty of options for this kind of work. Offer counsel when asked. Keep abreast of happenings and vote. But, get out of the way when it comes to jobs and politics.

It’s a tough pill to swallow. But, for many of us, it is time to get out of the way and let the folks who will shoulder the burden take the jobs and elected offices.

In Pagosa Country, we’ll enter a round of elections next year and the older generation needs to exhibit some wisdom and bow out of contention.

More important, though, it is time for the next generation to fill the voids.

If you are 30-50 years old, it is your bus. You, your children and grandchildren will live with what is put in place during the next 20 years, and you must be responsible for it.

The younger residents of Pagosa Country must begin to step up and, rather than impeding them, rather than competing with them, the Boomers should assist them. If we care about the future of the community, we need to shed our egos and move back in the bus.

Karl Isberg

This story was posted on August 8, 2013.
  • Pat Martinez-Lopez

    Right ON! This is also true for return-to-work school administrators who return-to-work to collect retirement and a salary at the same time. I call it, “Return to Doze.”

  • Monica Witzig Wamsley

    It looks as if it’s about to be my bus. Ready for the keys.