The New Baby Boomer Paradigm: Living A Life of Personal Value

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Increasingly what is deemed important is no longer material acquisition, but rather pursuing a lifestyle abundant in personal and societal value found in friends' laughter, an ocean breeze, or even just working outdoors on a community project.

As the Greatest Generation proudly walks into the sunset of their lives, lives characterized by insurmountable successes and tragic losses, their vast assets are increasingly transferring to their heirs; the Baby Boomers. The merger of this generational wealth is nearly incomprehensible. Vast real estate holdings, sizeable equity stakes, and venerable self-made businesses have all markedly appreciated in sync with the Boomers gradual transition from corporate executives to retirees.

The Baby Boomers now find themselves in opportunistic straits with their formal education, families, and many life goals completed the question certainly arises, now what? A growing trend amongst affluent Boomers is actually something quite Gen X; moving from traditionally suburban residences into metropolitan condominium living that offers decreased ownership responsibilities coupled with a new found interest in the arts, sporting events, and convenient access to major airline hubs.

Wine, foreign travel and living the dolce vita never required much arm-twisting to the Boomers, but some Boomers are going one step, or country rather, further; immersing themselves in wholly new cultures. A novelty? Superficial? Only on the surface.

La Paz, Mexico is just one example, but perhaps the best. It has become one of the top retirement destinations for both Americans and Canadians alike eager to shed their Northern winters in anticipation of peaceful, pleasant year-round sunshine. Another budding Florida? Think again, amigo. The Floridian retirement of their parents' generation is seemingly too passé for this growing group of expatriates who speak the language, adopt customs, and live (somewhat) like the locals.

With considerable assets providing a steady stream of income, the ability to experience a decidedly different culture has become the new rage. Tom Rapko's critically acclaimed novel "Diving The Seamount" provides a laudable segway into this trend's evolution.

"Diving The Seamount" is set in La Paz just before the imminent expatriate growth in the late 1990s and chronicles the adventures of eight characters, from both La Paz and the United States, as they collectively discover what it truly means to live a life of personal value while simultaneously shedding former identities. Over the course of the novel Rapko intricately reveals the Boomers' lifestyle dichotomy.    

Many Boomers have embraced a cultural identity shift, from say a Midwest small business owner who worked 80-hour weeks and put two children through Ivy-league schools to becoming a sail boat captain chartering out fishing tours or the proprietor of a locally-inspired restaurant perched on cliffs offering a panoramic ocean view.

The trend so clearly defined in "Diving The Seamount" is simplicity; simplifying life into what is important. Increasingly what is deemed important is no longer material acquisition, but rather pursuing a lifestyle abundant in personal and societal value found in friends' laughter, an ocean breeze, or even just working outdoors on a community project. A new paradigm indeed.

"Diving The Seamount" by Tom Rapko, ISBN 0595320856, is available for $11.95 at all major book retailers including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Tom Rapko is an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, and impromptu philosopher. With over a thousand dives on five continents, he holds a special place in his heart for the Baja peninsula. He lives in Boston's South End with his wonderful wife Angela and yellow Labrador puppy Juniper. His favorite authors include Leo Tolstoy, John Steinbeck, and Tony Robbins. Book reviewers, please contact the author directly for a complimentary review copy.

Tom Rapko

(617) 331-1784

bajadiver@netzero.com

All Images © Tom Rapko 2004

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