Aging Well Charting Your Second Half

Frustrated by Generational Labels? Pick a New One.

November 19, 2016

Is having meaningful work important to you? Do you appreciate opportunities for collaboration and freedom to decide the best path for you? Would you like to like to work in a fun environment? If so, then obviously you’re a millennial because, according to conventional wisdom, these “new” values are important only to you.

If you’re a baby boomer, then obviously you are competitive, relish long work hours and are extremely focused on your goals. And if you’re a Generation X-er, you clearly can’t related to any of this because what you want more than anything is work-life balance.

Well, guess what? This is bullshit. My born-in-the-most-technologically-savvy-generation-ever daughter was astonished yesterday when I showed her how to add and divide numbers using Excel. She’s also extremely competitive and the hardest worker I know. I know several women my age with blue and pink hair who rock awesome tattoos. No one I know wants to be defined by labels or forced to conform to expectations caused by the year they were born.  We’re all so much bigger than that.

It’s time to stop dividing ourselves with labels and get together based on our shared values, regardless of age. That’s why I was so taken with Gina Pell’s recent essay where she puts forth the revolutionary idea that we can all stop segregating ourselves by generation. Instead, we can choose to join a new group, the Perennials. Does this description of Perennials sound like you?

We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded, risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic.

I’m totally on-board with all of that. And in the harsh and divisive climate we seem to have found ourselves in, I’m looking to bond with as many people as possible. So I’d like to proudly come out today as a Perennial and invite you to join me. No tattoo, power suit, man bun or permed hairstyle required.

2 Comments

  • Reply Terri Schrandt November 23, 2016 at 12:08 am

    It’s really important to bust through restrictive labels, but our human brains cope best when we can place ideas in categories. I researched generational theories for my masters’ thesis and we do belong to a particular generation whether we exhibit all or just some of the traits and characteristics in each. As a younger boomer, I definitely have some X-er preferences but I know that spending my formative years in the 70s shaped my values a particular way, leaning toward the boomer side. Yes, they can be changed, adjusted or embraced, but it is nice to know that cultural influences we grew up with, did shape our beliefs somewhat. I like the idea of perennials!

    • Reply Katy November 23, 2016 at 6:53 am

      Thanks Terri. I agree that we are definitely shaped by the times in which we grow up but it’s nice to know that we can continue changing with the times even as we age. As someone who accidentally dated a note yesterday 11-22-63, I definitely get how you are forever changed by the experiences you went through.

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