Generational feuds are certainly nothing new. It’s not even a novel idea for the Millennials to be on the receiving end of the hate. I was barely out of high school when I started to hear about all the ways “people my age” were ruining things. How if we would just stop buying coffee all our money troubles would be solved! I have spent almost two decades frustrated by the generalizations that have been made about those that were born around the same time that I was. The truth is we are not all the same, but we are tied together by shared life event and economical barriers. We do have many of the same struggles but in the end, we will make different choices. Even though we seem to be greatly misunderstood by previous generations, most of us are hard workers adults. 39% precent of Millennials graduated from college. This is 10% higher than any previous generation. Unfortunately, we came out of college with more debt and less job opportunities. We have now lived through two recessions. We work more hours when compared to previous generations (especially considering that technology allows us to take work with us everywhere). With inflation, we make substantially less than previous generations. (I have enough in my 401k to retire for 3 whole months!) Millennials are fighting tooth and nail for homeownership with about 47% of us accomplishing this dream by the end 2020. We will keep fighting just as we always must improve our lives, our children’s lives, and the lives of those around us.
So, I had mixed feelings when I learned of the new feud that was brewing. Gen Z versus Millennials. Initially I thought “Flare jeans are coming back into style! Yes! Those are my favorite!” I have been wearing some of the same flared jeans since I was in high school and I will be super glad to get some new pairs!
But Gen Z seems to have two other main complaints. Side parts- I have a natural middle part so whatever. And apparently our emoji choices are dated. I don’t much care here either way. My most used emoji is eye roll anyway.
None of this made me mad but something still bothered me. I read articles about all the other ways that Millennial are old, outdated, and just need to give it up. I asked my youngest son (12 years old) today if he knew about the feud and he did. I asked if he could explain it to me. He said that his generation just felt that we were old. We had already had our time and now we need to move aside. Our desire to hold on to things and pretend to be young was sad.
That helped to focus my feelings about this generational feud. You see, it makes me indescribably sad. I had no choice but to become financially independent when I was 18 years old. I have spent my whole adult life fighting to not just improve my life but to give my Gen Z sons a good life. I thought they were watching and listening. I thought they had some appreciation. I was hopeful for our future with Gen Z. I admire the tenacity, the activism, and the drive to improve their world that they have demonstrated thus far. I looked forward to welcoming them into the professional and adult world. I thought that together we could improve things. Maybe this is just a passing “my parents are uncool” phase. However, if this sets in as another generational divide, we are further separating each other based on nonsensical notions. At a whopping age of 35, I’m not giving up like they apparently feel I should. (My 401K won’t let me.) I do plan to wear a middle part and flare jeans because I was going to anyway. And when those go out of style again, I’m going to keep wearing them. Just like I did the last time they went out of style. I will also be here to support the Gen Z adults when they are ready for it. Millennials have been fighting for them our whole lives. So many were raised by Millennial parents who sacrificed so they would have everything they need to be successful human beings. If they want to throw silly shade at our style, that’s fine. Just don’t disrespect and discount the Millennial generation as others have done.