Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? I do it all the time. I turned 40 without checking most of the boxes for a person – a woman – my age.
I do not own a home and have no children. I was the youngest in my family and the only girl, and I pay a therapist to help me analyze how these early experiences might fuel my feelings of alienation.
I often worry about not doing life “right” and this possibility on Google in the wee hours of the morning. Google reassures me that I am not alone in this fear. I started buying lawyers around 2014 in what I now suspect was an attempt to fit in with my younger and unfairly maligned millennial peers. They were there, turning the economy upside down with their lattes and exotic “nature butter” and I didn’t feel out of place either.
Imagine my joy then when I was recently introduced to a cohort that I truly belonged to: Geriatric Millennials
I was born in 1980. A year too early to be considered a true Millennial and a little too late to be equated with the negative fairness of Gen X and the Commodore 64 gathering dust in the attic. I fell between two stools of generational marketing lingo and felt the isolation deeply – ironically, a textbook of the first millennium of the millennium if ever I heard one.
Imagine my joy then when I was recently introduced to a cohort that I truly belonged to: Geriatric Millennials. The term Geriatric Millennial started circulating online a few months ago after an article by workplace expert Erica Dhawan went viral. Dhawan said these elderly Millennials, born in the early 1980s, were great leaders because they bridged the digital / analog divide perfectly. I had found a place to belong to, if only on the battlefield of generational culture wars.
Okay, so the term Geriatric Millennial has a bit of a trademark issue in the same way that telling women over 35 that they have “geriatric pregnancies” is only slightly more acceptable than telling women over 35 that they have “geriatric pregnancies”. being told that they are “of advanced maternal age”. .
I am delighted with the label, however. I felt left out of the real Millennial gang because I’m old enough to remember when it was all fields and although it may be patronizing to insist that proverbial fields cannot be remembered. that if they were born before 1985, I’m afraid these are just the rules.
Millennials were sold to us as tech-savvy 1990s kids who barely remember a moment before being online. They were on social media as a teenager and were the first fully literate generation on the internet. I remember learning on the internet when I was about 16 and thinking no thanks, it sounds awfully vast, I’m going to stay with my Encarta 95 CD-Rom on the Hewlett Packard family in the corner of the living room. I started college without knowing how email worked.
Millennials suffer a lot from nostalgia for the childhood of the 1990s, but I often felt out of step with it. I was a little too old by the time Pokemon and Harry Potter arrived and to this day I have never seen an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. Reclassifying as a geriatric millennial means that I have found my people; those of us just old enough to remember the Italia 90, Riverdance, and Bishop Eamon Casey Halloween costumes with maximum teenage innocence.
Of course, each generation blames the previous one
Being a geriatric millennial feels safe. This is somewhat immune to the extremely unfair denigration that true Millennials have endured for years in the media, blamed for everything from the failure of the grain industry to the drop in diamond sales and therefore, so much. of lazy avocado jibes. I also feel sorry for the slag that Millennials have received more recently from their Gen Z successors, aka the Tik Tok generation. Gen Z is letting Millennials walk away with nothing. Skinny jeans, side dividers and crying laughing emoji are all ridiculous items for Gen Z while their 2021 clothes racks are filled with copies of the outfits I wanted from the 1996 issues of Just Seventeen magazine. .
Of course, each generation blames the previous one – depending on what generational record you find yourself in, you might recognize this line from Mike and the Mechanics, the top of the charts of the late 1980s, The Living Years – and the Millennials. in turn tore their predecessors to pieces. to accumulate wealth and maintain a more conservative status quo. Geriatric millennials may remember the days when it was okay to smoke in supermarkets, but at least we are largely left alone with our memories of Ian Dempsey-on-The-Den.
When my writing partner Sarah Breen and I envisioned the character of Complete Aisling almost 15 years ago, we had no idea we were creating a fictional Irish Millennial that would find a place in the hearts of people of all generations. We are both in geriatrics but Aisling is a true millennial, our youngest of 10 years. We throw problems at her and then worry if this is true for a 31 year old woman? We find that Aisling’s problems are often universal, even though they are presented through the lens of a very white culchie with a mother who cannot use Facetime. You can worry about the same things if you are 20 or 70 years old.
Generational labels are largely unnecessary and we should focus on uniting against Big Pharma and Japanese knotweed. I suspect there are a lot of 20’s and 70’s who have googled if they are doing life “right”. They are all my people.