December 4, 2013

The One True Way to Make it in this World.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

~ Frank Sinatra

It goes without saying that those who don’t follow the rules tend to be more rebellious and headstrong, charting their own paths, listening to what they are supposed to do, yet continuing to go their own way.

Frank Sinatra was one of these beings.

Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Sir Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, even Oprah, to name a few; these visionaries possessed a strong capacity to see the bigger picture and dwell on what is possible, not what society told them to do, or be, but to take what was in their hearts and reach new levels of greatness.

They broke rules.

They didn’t conform. They cast a large net and reaped the benefits of changing the world, one word, song, deed and technological invention at a time.

Another group of individuals did the same thing way back when, and often went unnoticed or unannounced. They were considered the torchbearers of society, not following regular traditional norms of days gone by. Who were these accidental pioneers?

Women born between 1946-1964, and yes, these were the baby boomer generation, women who came after the “silent generation” and “traditionalists”, women who bucked the rules and lived with the consequences of their choices.

It wasn’t an easy path, but it heralded in every generation thereafter, who continue to make headlines with unmistakable and new-found ideas and creations. The baby boomer women weren’t just trailblazing with a purpose, as they weren’t even sure what their purpose looked like, but taking every rule and decision imposed by others, and shattering it into their own model of what needed to happen at that time.

Following the “silent generation” and “traditionalists” seemed like a natural step to foster change in the world.

Whether it lasted wasn’t the point.

What matters is the baby boomer women weren’t about giving up. They were about taking the bull by the horns and firing up an entire new attitude of living. Naturally, it wasn’t accepted by many, but the Busters (Gen X), Millennials (Gen Y), and the current Digital generation (Gen Z) are surely reaping the tempting paths being laid before them by this very pioneering age group.

It is easy to discount the importance that these women had on our world, but if they did not break rules, the three generations to follow would not possess the memories that their predecessors bestowed upon them, especially the women.

By defying rules and traditions, these women had all sorts of monikers attached to their wayward lifestyle:

The “me” generation; the rock and roll music generation which ushered in free love and societal “non-violent” protests triggering violence; self-righteous and self-centered; buy it now and use credit; the first divorce generation; a strong desire to reset or change the common values for the good of all; optimistic, driven, team-oriented; resourceful and self-sufficient; and of course, independent enough to make their own decisions.

It isn’t so much that baby boomer women strive for greatness, as it is that they want to continue to live with a reasonable sense of what is possible.

Once the former generations passed down their rules and traditions, it was up to the baby boomer women to bust it all up and never attempt to fit the pieces back together. Every move in their torch-bearing puzzle was designed to ignite fury in those who wanted to continue with traditions and their steadfast values.

What women of this generation said was “I admire what you have made of yourself, but I’m going to do it my way.”

This became their mantra for strength, courage, and a willingness to find their own light.

Why the need to extol the noteworthy tactics of this generation? Because they gave birth to the Gen X-ers and Millennials and opened up all the doors for a society that is now based on the very same philosophy: change and transformation.

We are indeed still undergoing and testing and busting through normal rules of the past behaviors of the boomer women. They aren’t a silent group at all, still forging paths and learning through mistakes they made back in their early years, but the one thing the current generation has that can be attributed to the rule-breaking of that era is courage.

Courage to try the unusual. Courage to defy the odds. Courage to do what is necessary to upend the system. Courage to take what is considered right and make it their own. Courage to be who they are and never look back.

The now generation has the greatest opportunity to run with the wolves (hopefully, before they are all extinct due to archaic measures of elimination) and be free of worry and full of hope. They have the boomer role models to back them up.

The one true way to make it in this world is to break the rules.

Baby boomer women, who grew up with the idea that life had to be done in a certain manner, said “no, we believe there is more excitement and adventure in store”. And thus began the torchbearers, with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, and so on. Their iconic natures of living and loving still revolutionize this country.

The final month of 2013 is here.

We can’t sit on our hands any longer. Whether boomer, buster, millennial, or digital being, we all must band together and see to it that this earth and its inhabitants have the best possible life for the next generation to come. It is up to us to keep innovating, creating, stimulating, motivating, and inspiring women to have their voice.

And yes, rules were meant to be broken!


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Wikimedia Commons.}

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