The baby boom really started in 1946 but those of us born in the years after the end of the second world war as well as the 10 years after 1946 have been declared happier, more cheerful, more confident, optimistic, relaxed and useful than generations before us. This even takes into account the common chronic illnesses which may come along. Dr Mai Stafford, programme leader from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing and University College London said "on average, levels of wellbeing increased during people's sixties. We found that one in five experienced a substantial increase in wellbeing in later life".
A Cambridge grandmother is proof of the freedom a determined baby boomer might have. Although born just before the boom, Janet Todd, after a long career as a successful academic combined with being a wife and mother, has just completed and launches her first novel next Tuesday. If you are near Heffer's bookshop in Cambridge at 6.00 pm she will be signing the book A Man of Genius, described by Natasha Solomons as "a mesmerising story of love and obsession in nineteenth century Venice: dark and utterly compelling."
When I met Janet, she said that writing a novel was a wonderful freedom after the rigour of academic life and researched biographies. I think her life is an example and gets to the heart of the freedom which today's baby boomer might find. I put it down to this; having worked hard in a disciplined way throughout a successful career, that once freedom from the constraints of those disciplines dissolve, the skill acquired combines with the innate creativity and whoopee a new voice might be born.
I will be one of the first in the queue for a signed copy and then I will rush back home to find the dark secrets hidden in the romantic setting which is Venice.