As the oldest boomers, now 60, approach the traditional age of retirement, the notion of a comfortable existence made possible by a stable pension is becoming quaint, she says. Many in this group can expect to work longer ... and longer ... and longer.
"The 44-to-55-year-olds are getting hit more now -- in terms of job security and loss of benefits -- than [at any time] since the Depression," says O'Rand of Duke. "And retiree health insurance is slowly being abandoned.
"Are boomers going to be able to dispel the notion of age bias?" asks Schlossberg. "Are they going to get past that notion that when people age, they can't do certain things? Up till now, we've thought someone's chronological age is the critical variable in how well they can perform."
She's not the only one who's wondering.
Take, for instance, attorney Dawna Cobb, 50, who recently became assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Maryland Law School after 16 years in the attorney general's office.
"I don't feel old," she says. "I feel like I have have a whole other professional life ahead of me ... They say 50 is the new 30, and I understand that."
Pat Yevics-Eisenberg, who directs law office management for the Maryland State Bar, just finished writing an article about the challenges facing businesses that have as many as four generations working in the office.
"I want to keep learning new things and not be afraid of new technology," she says. "I just hired another Web person who's 21. I'm 56. And it's extraordinarily interesting to learn where he's coming from."
"I'm doing my best to dispel any myths that middle age is old," says Clifton Cole, a 56-year-old electrical engineer from Catonsville who works out almost every day. "I think old is very much a function of how one takes care of himself. I know some very old young folks. On the other hand, my mother's 88 and still drives 220 miles from her house to mine."
None of these folks consider boomerhood essential to their identity portfolios. Boomer Nation we may be, but most of us seem more interested in other tribal affiliations, say, our communities, parenthood and status as children of truly aging parents.
Schlossberg, who possesses the wisdom, and biases, of a Depression-era baby, observes:
"If there's a big enough press about your generation, it's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a sense of entitlement that you will be able to keep your job as long as you want. That you'll be able to do what you want to do. That you're unstoppable."
Maybe. I remain skeptical of anybody over 30 who tells me the world is a certain way, including the world of the boomers. I plan to find out more about the satisfactions and struggles of this super-sized group.
Or to put it another way: As we boldly go toward our final frontier, I'll bring you details of the voyage.
A generation by the numbers
Population: There are about 78 million baby boomers in the United States -- people born between Jan. 1, 1946 and Dec. 31, 1964.
Residence: About 1.6 million baby boomers live in Maryland -- almost one-third of the state's population.
Health: One of every three baby boomer men and four of every 10 boomer women are obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Exercise: People over 55 represent nearly a quarter of all health-club members in the United States, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.
Longevity: Boomers who reach age 65 in 2011 can expect to live, on average, at least another 18 years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Parents: In 2005, 71 percent of boomers had at least one living parent, according to a Pew Research poll. In 1989, that was true of just 60 percent of people aged 41 to 59.
Offspring: Two-thirds of baby boomers say parents have a responsibility to pay for their children's college education, an opinion that varies little with income, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center.