So, it seems I am a ‘baby boomer’ if you go by definitions, as noted below. Yes, I googled, something my generation has learned to do, and the following comes up:
Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 – TBD.
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 – 1995.
Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976.
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964.
Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before.
And it should be noted that the only one officially designated by the US Census Bureau is the baby-boomer generation.
So, what does this tell me? Something I already knew, that I am not old. I am older, but not old. I’m sure you’ve seen as many old age quotes as I have.
Yes, they are all inspirational and thought-provoking but I’m not there yet. I’m someplace in the middle.
I’m from a time when networking was going to an office party or, even better, a cocktail party. The meet-and-greet part started with the numerous phone calls it took to make the plans. The words social and media were not used in the same sentence; we had to do the leg work.
Phone books, phone booths, collect calls, person-to-person, having enough dimes when you had to pay into the phone, literally. By the time you had the date and place set, you had already had several conversations with the very person or people you were going to meet.
Keeping up is not always easy but we – my generation – do our best; in fact we do better than that, we rock!
And to take this one step further, for those of us who are trying to build a business based on social media, although we are working harder now than we ever did, it doesn’t feel like the work we knew. It’s not a job most of us trained for; it has become a way of life. A life that is hard to recognize if you don’t keep up.
So, yes, when I need help, I will usually ask anyone who is around that I can grab, because one of the many advantages of this generation is that we don’t get embarrassed. Been there, done that! But we may have to ask you a second time or even a third time, not because we are too old to remember what you said, but because what you literally learned in school, we are teaching ourselves and sometimes it takes a few times to sink in. These concepts are foreign to us and it is only our sheer determination that keeps us going.
This generation may not be clear to me, but what I do know is we don’t quit. It was never an option for us. We couldn’t unfriend anyone, remove an app, ghost a person or even block them. We had to face the issue, the person, the debate, and deal with the consequences, whatever they were.
The only advantage we had was that we could slam a phone down when a conversation aggravated us enough. Even when the flip phone came around, at least we could flip it harder. Now you would just break your very expensive iphone. So, yes, I do miss that part.
There is a freedom that comes with today’s generation that we did not have. Social media does have its advantages. Working from Starbucks on my mini laptop with my phone next to me to stay on top of my emails and posts as I write this is a perfect example. But it took work just to get to this point. It’s like a double-edged sword – the more we accomplish, the more we have to learn, and it moves fast, so we have to keep up.
Unfortunately, the blunt of my ignorance falls on my children. My 19-year-old daughter and my 17-year-old son are stuck with this woman between generations. For the most part they each have the patience to deal with me, but when I ask a second or third time, I am pushing their limits. That’s the part that makes me want to spell out “don’t you understand how hard I am trying”, but I don’t, because my unclear generation doesn’t want our children to feel the stress we did. It is in that brief moment that I might feel just a little older than I am.
It is a blessing that my father is still alive, and there have been times I am short with him, but recently I have been putting that part of myself in check. I know what it feels like now, and, if my generation is in the middle, I can’t imagine what his generation feels, so I actively work at being more understanding.
We can say “my generation” for discussion purposes but the truth is it does not define me any more than my father’s generation defines him.
We are left no choice; we can’t live in the past because it doesn’t exist anymore. We can’t do things like we did and, although it’s very hard sometimes to ask for help, we will continue to do so because of who we are, and any negativity we experience will only make us stronger, as it always has.