Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany my father to a 50-year reunion for a 1966 high school graduating class of his former students. 66 students were originally in the class. 34 of the 55 living classmates attended. These were early “Baby Boomers” (1946-1964), since most of them were born in 1948. Interestingly, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1966 was: “The Generation Twenty-Five and Under.”
As I listened to the music playing and the stories being shared, I remembered life as a 9-year old in 1966. I was immersed in sports (first Super Bowl), music (the Beatles), colored television for the first time (Bonanza), and, for reasons beyond my prepubescent understanding, I was also beginning to enjoy a certain fascination for starlets like Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren.
The innocent pleasures that I enjoyed in 1966 were not the same experiences shared by graduating seniors. They were on the threshold of major cultural change. Public opposition to Viet Nam was growing. Racial strife was increasing. Skirts were shrinking. Cigarette packs carried a warning. The cultural rumblings felt in 1966 would explode into riots after the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy in 1968. And, perhaps the defining moment for the counterculture generation came at Woodstock in the summer of 1969.
The reunion brought together people with varied life experiences - former hippies, military heroes, and a lot of folks who raised families, fashioned careers, and lived quiet lives for fifty years. I could not tell one from another, but it made me appreciate how celebrating what we share in common with others can support us throughout life. I salute the Class of 1966 for their resilience in the face of major social change, and their commitment to nurturing friendships that have lasted a lifetime.
M. J. White is the creator of “Lean Wellness”, a radically different approach to transforming health and well-being at work. It is inspired and supported from the top-down, but driven from the bottom-up by continuous learning and improvement. The result is a thriving work environment where people pursue becoming their best selves. To learn more, visit the website at: www.leanwellness.us or email him at: email@example.com.