Layer 3: Generation/Age – Example 1
I was born in 1958 at a hospital in Mexico City. This fact of life places me squarely in the last decade of the so-called Baby Boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964.
I was born 13 years after the end of World War II, at the tail end of the optimism that followed its conclusion. My birth came less than a year after the beginning of the Space Age marked by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in October of 1957, which triggered both a military/rocket race and the nuclear race that we refer to as the Cold War.
Being a Baby Boomer, a child to parents from the generation that fought World War II, imbued me with optimism for lasting peace brought about by new international institutions, including the United Nations and those in the Bretton Woods accord (the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Labor Organization and the World Trade Organization) as well as the post-war supranational idea, the European Union. Alas, that was not in the cards.
At the same time, my birth in 1958 also put my formative years squarely in the middle of the Cold War, with its proxy battles and the constant fear of worldwide nuclear annihilation, with both superpowers having an arsenal capable of blowing up the entire planet several times over.
I remember the way we, as Mexican teenagers, used to discuss the Vietnam War, wondering what may be like to be forcefully conscripted to go fight a far-away war, and whether some day it’d somehow involve us directly. More poignantly, I vividly recall—when I was exactly 20 years old—making the inner decision to never have children because, as I saw it then, what’s the point of bringing children into a world that is about to blow itself up in nuclear conflagration? As I rejoice now in my beautiful two sons, I am certainly glad that I decided to change my mind less than a decade later.
Reflecting on these events, and many others, reminds me of the amazing feats humans can do when at our best, as well as of the horrific acts of cruelty and violence when at our worst. It confirms my belief that we can make a better world if we focus on doing so and reenergizes me to, among other things, complete writing this book. The mindfulness required for both reflection and action in these pages may contribute a little grain of sand towards making this a better world.