When Woodstock Meets Margaritaville for Seniors

While the culture’s dominant messages continue to lead to Margaritaville, we should instead be trying to climb the stairway to heaven.

Credit: ‘Miosotis Jade’, CC BY-SA 4.0
Credit: ‘Miosotis Jade’, CC BY-SA 4.0 (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Not growing up is one of the selling points for the new senior community, named after singer Jimmy Buffett's best-known song, "Margaritaville.” Latitude Margaritaville, opening soon in Daytona Beach, Florida is for "those looking to live the Margaritaville lifestyle as they grow older, but not up," according to a news release.

Margaritaville is a successful brand that includes restaurants, hotels, and lifestyle products spawned by the 1970s escapist song about “wasting away in Margaritaville.” I don’t want to pick on Buffett, but Margaritaville for senior living represents a culture that promises a forever-young-party-on lifestyle that has always been sold to the Baby Boom generation.

Baby Boomers largely came of age during the Woodstock era.  I hate to be a Negative Nancy but I think that the 1969 iconic music festival that was chock full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, was a page out of the devil’s playbook.  Time magazine called Woodstock “the greatest peaceful event in history.” New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller called it a disaster area and declared it so.

Rampant nudity and 797 documented drug overdoses were not wholesome activities, no matter how good the music was.  Lots of old hippies traded in bell-bottoms and sexual freedom for religion and the freedom that only Jesus can give, but the spirit of Woodstock lives on in our culture in many ways.


Setting the Pace

Baby boomers have made their impact all along the demographic trail. According to a recent report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035, the number of Americans over 80 will double, from 6 million to 12 million, in the next two decades.

By 2035, one out of three U.S. households—79 million—will be headed by someone over 65.

 As the Woodstock generation prepares for their twilight years, however, it’s clear that many failed to invest in the next generation. Senior housing is booming while many preschools go bust. Of course not everyone in that generation is to blame, but it was a trend that started in the 1960s and keeps on rolling.

In the midst of rocking out and taking “the pill” or waiting in line for abortions, many swallowed "the earth won't sustain us" lie.  There are a lot of people that should be here but are not. That was the goal of Zero Population Growth started in the 1960s, bringing us slogans such as: "The pill in time saves nine!" When people started hugging trees instead of babies, the fertility rate dropped.  It is now below replacement in the U.S. sitting at 1.87.

A future with so many elderly relying on so few young is skewed. The Biblical directive to be fruitful and multiply has not been amended.  Just a year before Woodstock, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae vitae (Latin Of Human Life) regarding married love, responsible parenthood, continuing the constant teaching against contraception. It explains Church teaching including that couples can use natural fertility cycles to plan their family in union with God.  Science has advanced and understands a woman’s fertility so as to make this easier.  Pope Paul also warned in his encyclical—with prophetic precision—what would come from rebelling against God’s will for his gift of sexuality. St. Pope John Paul II continued to promote sacredness in relationships rather than abuse through his teaching on Theology of the Body explaining the beauty of intimacy in marriage.

Regardless of age and place, without a God-centered life, our time is wasted, whether we are drinking margaritas or skipping Mass to sleep in or ignoring Church teaching. While the culture’s dominant messages continue to lead to Margaritaville, we should instead be trying to climb the stairway to heaven.