Both boomers and millennial generations are imperative to a thriving and sustainable future, and we must make sure they blend for the greater good. Boomers bring advice and experience to the table, while youth mold our futures and bring us hope. We must learn and not bash each other as each side has equally as much to offer. Easily, situations can morph into dueling generations, grating on each other’s nerves when communication styles clash. But take heart: we don’t have to sell the relationship between the two short! With a little understanding, these generations create a natural and positive flow in society. We must mesh on topics that intertwine us: employment, retirement, environment, equal rights, open-mindedness regarding genders, all leading to opportunities for both sides. If we can work together, no one cheated as we come together in this new age (even the emerging Gen Z!).
Boomers and Millennials really have more in common than you may think. Since communication is essential to success, we must be on the same team. We Boomers must leap on the technology train; no, you need not become a software engineer, but you must make an effort to be computer literate. It’s like when you go to France, if you open up with “Bonjour…” they’ll snobbishly appreciate the effort and help you by speaking English.
Boomers must understand our once-beloved typewriters are archaeological fossils. We have adapted in droves, already! Boomers now realize the world no longer uses a phone to call each other, we all must text … otherwise, you won’t know if your fellow boomers are dead or alive. Celebrate the positives. Long gone are those arduous and awkward phone conversations. If you want to know about an upcoming day trip in a nearby city, find the best price on your shampoo, or where the best burger in town is located, Google it or go to the website. The Yellow Pages are officially 6’ under the dirt! Want to learn how to do something simple like an easy house repair? YouTube is your new BFF. Everything now is fast, quick, and short. Hurry! Throw away those instruction manuals, online advice is just a click away.
Surprise, surprise. Boomers and millennials want the same things in their lives. Cost-efficient housing, a great food scene, good music, walkable neighborhoods … but maybe they want all this at different times and at a different pace. Let the seniors eat dinner at 4pm if they want and the “younguns” can arrive later at 8pm. And remember, don’t call for a reservation, just click on the webpage. Both generations still enjoy the same great food! In addition, it may seem far-fetched to build senior housing in a university setting but sit back, relax, and see what happens. They mesh beautifully. Each age group learns from the other. People of all ages, colors and genders should be integrated together. It’s a beautiful thing when Boomers start spouting the new-age slang. My young BFF said one day in a Starbucks, “That is so my jam!” I’m thinking, is she talking about the flavor blackberry Smucker’s jelly I mentioned the other day? Of course not! She was referring to the background music. I soon learned after that when a woman walked into same coffee house, “She is so fresh!” Was she referring to the coffee or pastries??? No, it meant the woman looked very cool! So, my vocabulary abundantly grows with my millennial.
Think of how nice not to dress your age unless you want to be stuck in the 80’s and it is your choice. Transparently speaking, my BFF is 37 years old, and we both feel no difference in age. She makes me so brave as I intentionally put on leopard tights, a bold bohemian shirt and sometimes…bright, gorgeous turbans. I naturally absorb her creativity and love her non-judgmental opinions about the world. We both really get each other, and it causes me to take chances and not wear cement shoes. When I’m with her, I’m a risk-taker and adventurous. Most of all, I’m comfortable with myself.
Growing up in New Orleans, what I give her in return are off-the-wall stories of my toxic childhood, never afraid she might “freak” out. She loves my outrageous past and I never have to think before I speak with my very own personal millennial. I can own my senior moments and she’ll laugh, never criticizes. I love her slant and edginess on life and hope I am forever absorbing it all. Neither of us are textile moguls as we traipse into thrift shops, our hearts beating over any item over 50 years old. I’m with a gal who is not doing “Ann Taylor,” and neither am I. We could walk out of there easily wearing tutus for all I know.
Times change, our bodies change, and we should not be so fast to throw either generation under the bus. Different generations have lots to teach each other so it’s best not to go with stereotypes. Neither generation is lazy or old-fashioned. What we get from each other is the great gift of time and as we team up together, take risks and make every moment count. Engage. Live. Millennials can teach us compassion and Boomers can share wisdom. It’s a win-win for life.