Harvey — A study on aging populations by sociologists at University of New Brunswick has revealed that, when adults of the “baby boomer” generation talk about work, what they’re really talking about are their hobbies and self-imposed chores.
The study found that boomers are skilled in spreading out 30 minutes’ worth of tasks and activities over an entire day to seem as though they’re extremely busy.
“They’ll don a do-rag and some gardening gloves and while away the day doing things any actual working stiff has to book vacation time for,” explained sociologist Jane Van Horne. “Whether it be putting up a birdfeeder or buying a birthday card, it’s all work to them. In fact, they get rather irritable if you suggest otherwise.
“Actually, they’re a lot like that show Jersery Shore,” continued Van Horne, “except instead of the mantra ‘gym, tanning, laundry,’ it’s more like ‘Costco, The View, laundry.'”
“Whew, break time for this lady!” wrote 59-year-old Darlene Smithson on Facebook, referring to her taxing 15 minutes of planting pansies in a flower bed at her cottage in Harvey. “When I retired I thought I’d be working less, not more! So much for that!”
Within a fraction of a second the status had received dozens of reactions, including comments from other boomers detailing their own “swamped” schedules.
“Tell me about it!” commented Smithson’s Facebook friend Beth Allen, 60. “I have to bake cookies for a fundraiser today, and then find time to do my Sudoku! Stressed out!”
“I was up at the crack of dawn to walk the dog, and then later I have a book club meeting!” replied Francis Allaby, 61. “I’ll be lucky if I have time to go look for sandals at Walmart!”
Ken Driscoll, 62, retired five years ago; now he fixes up vintage cars and rants about how busy he is to his buddies at Tim Hortons.
“Wellsir, I gotta get to Canadian Tire today and buy a part, but first I’m going to catch up on the Gleaner — see what old Oland’s got himself into now — and try to get a coffee into me,” Driscoll is quoted as saying in the study. “Can’t be runnin’ on empty!”
Driscoll’s neghbours say he’s up by 5 every morning pretending to work on his equipment — either his snowblower or lawnmower, depending on the season — which he ends up breaking, resulting in his being forced to take it to an actual mechanic, in turn giving him another month’s worth of appearing to be busy.
“He’s so loud, waking me up even before my alarm goes off. I asked him to keep it down and he just says I’m not the only one who’s got shit to do,” said Brad Jeffers, 38. “Boomers…”
Van Horne and the other researchers explained that boomers will often act indignant if it’s brought to their attention that what they’re doing with their days is not exactly, in the strictest sense of the term, “work.”
“Especially if their offspring, who may be doing 40-hour workweeks at their jobs while raising two kids and trying to maintain a home and a social life, say they’re overwhelmed or tired,” said Van Horne. “Boomers will get ruffled and say ‘Well you’re not the only one who’s busy! I need a vacation from my retirement!’ It’s quite frustrating for everyone involved.”