I am Generation X. My sons are generation Z.
They can’t stand Millennial culture.
You know, because that’s a thing…hating on Millennials.
Many people in my generation, or at least those I talk to about this individually, have ideas about Millennials that are unfavorable…
…and these judgments don’t line up with my direct experience with those of that generation nor pop culture.
I have a deep, abiding affection for all the generations, including Millennials. (I mean, c’mon, they make astounding TV…)
Sure, I will agree that there are differences between generations.
How could that not be true?
In childhood, we are incubated in schoolrooms of 20-30 people, cross-pollinating pop culture, learning beliefs formed from a limited data set of inputs.
Of course that is going to have an impression when you extrapolate it out to “people of a certain age.”
What I don’t vibe with is hating on other generations.
I coach people from 18 to 80, literally.
I find that being able to have generational fluency and an appreciation for generational culture are wonderful attributes to bring to my work.
Underneath all the generational differences are these commonalities:
- Most people want to be seen and understood but then accepted and loved for who we are as individuals
- Most people have a deep desire to do meaningful work
- Most people have the desire to be connected with other people, even if the generations define this very differently
Getting older is, well, a somewhat predictable process. It’s a matter of trade offs, it seems.
As we get older, we collect experiences, see patterns and trends, and that shapes our perspective on life.
Same with being young.
Older or younger, we each have a big ol’ bag of marvelous opportunity and bullshit, 50% awesome and 50% suckage.
Feeling like our dreams are just beyond our grasp seems to transcend the generations.
Passion and creativity appear to be timeless.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that age is a number.
Being “old” or “young” is a mindset.
I adore seeing how history and culture morph to create new “truths.”
What was right, true, and “known” 50 years ago is different than what we presume to “know” today.
It’s fascinating to see politics and science evolve.
Where will technology take us? Who knows.
What will time reveal? Wait ‘n’ see, I suppose.
And, underneath it all, the individual’s desire to have a life that’s “worthy” transcends all of it.
To my “older” readers, keep your heart open to the younger generations.
If you can see what they create with sheer delight and respect, well, it will help you feel younger.
To my “younger” readers, start saving.
Seriously, time is on your side (assuming a standard lifespan, that is).
All of these amazing generations are all here together in this chunky soup of a culture.
Why not choose to see the best in each other?
My homework this week is to take an assessment of your social circle.
Do you have 4+ generations represented?
Maybe you could extend an invitation to someone in an underrepresented group.
Show up prepared to offer and receive wisdom, humor, and connection.
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday Funday!
Here’s a good article on generations with a “born by” chart by Pew Research. Interesting reading!
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