We used to talk about the generation gap, but in 2019, when everybody’s put in a category and set against each other like political gladiators, it’s more of a generation chasm.
Worse, it’s not just about old and new: there are several generations, all apparently at each others’ throats.
I’m Generation X, who hate everyone and everything else because we just know we’re better.
My generation enjoyed the best music, films, books and so on, so anyone different from us deserves contempt.
After us came Gen Y, the millennials. They’re the Schrodinger’s cat of generations, somehow seen as immature and ineffectual while at the same time being to blame for the decline of modern society.
Look beyond that sorry bunch and you’ll get Gen Z, including my children. This group’s collective personal traits (and therefore cruel generalisations) are still developing, but we know its members are tech-literate, spoiled, unaware they are spoiled, and – based on my experience with the representatives in my house – deeply annoying.
But none of those groups are the best targets. Obviously, I’m going to pick on the baby boomers now. How could I resist?
The boomers, representing my parents’ generation, are often called “the worst generation” because they inherited a world of plenty and broke it. Amusingly, the boomers are pushing back against this idea, sharing memes about how the world of their youth was so much better, with its food in brown paper bags, summer holidays in leaky tents and long walks to school through snowdrifts and hurricanes.
This ignores the fact the world changed while the boomers were in charge, thus undermining their argument because they could have stopped it. It is also a ridiculously sentimental waste of everyone’s time.
Of course, all pigeon-holing is a waste of time. In each of these categories, the variety is enormous, and I’m convinced main reason for describing generational traits is to give marketing departments something to put in their quarterly reports.
Instead, let’s think of each other as people; complicated, wonderful, difficult people. Let’s quit the infighting and consider each others’ needs and points of views. And let’s narrow the gaps between generations and listen to each other better, however difficult that may seem.