Open Thread: Pivotal Events

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Last year we ran an Open Thread called “Don’t Call me ‘Senior Citizen.’” It listed the various names for people over 60….senior citizen, oldster, elder and others.

One commenter noted that other age cohorts are finely categorized into time periods of about 20 years each.  “Millennial” “Gen X” or “Gen Z’  – but once a person hits 60, they’re pretty much stuck in the ‘senior” category from 60 on.

Of course, one could make the point that ‘boomer” is a category, although it seems to have a pejorative tang to it.  Some have called it ‘the end of friendly intergenerational conversation.”

I prefer to consider that age cohorts are shaped by  epochal events.  Apparently Billy Joel thought so too.

These events are often but not exclusively experienced during the early years. For me, as it was for many, it was Kennedy’s assassination and the other assassinations that followed, like Martin Luther King, Jr., plus the moon landing, Vietnam (sweating out the draft lottery and praying my brothers and cousins didn’t ‘win”), the aftermath of Stonewall, disco, and AIDS, to name a few. The crime wave in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s gave me personal security habits I still use today. Of course, 9/11.

Privacy was a given, there was no internet, and we hid in basements and under our desks in case of nuclear attack.

But that’s me. How about you? What were the epochal events in the country and the world that shaped you? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to

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