Here’s to You, Gen Z!

So according to the TikTok generation, Millennials are, like, eww … so old. Which makes me, born on the edge of Gen X and the Millennial generation practically an ancient dinosaur. As a matter of fact, my husband who was born in the same year as I was once attended a seminar at a conference specifically curated to teach its audience how to deal with Millennials in the workplace. Spoiler alert: don’t criticize them too much and give lots of praise were the main takeaways.

Gen Z

My younger sister is firmly in the Millennial camp and was fervently clutching her pearls the other day as my almost 14 year old daughter was giggling over the latest attack on our side parts and skinny jeans.

First of all, how DARE they?

How dare this generation who is walking around with scrunchies and Doc Martens be making fun of us? I’m literally looking into a mirror image of myself in 1997. All of the trends from 25 years ago are coming back in full force (hey kids, your middle part is one of them!) and everywhere you go it seems like you could be running into extras from the set of Clueless. There’s irony there as well. Girls these days think it’s cute to be into things like crocheting and other “old people stuff.” In many cases there are also things we take pride in and maybe even want a little of the credit for. This young generation features teens into social activism and politics in ways many of us were too timid to be. Feminism and fighting social injustice is a hallmark of some. So even though we cringe a little that butterfly clips are making a comeback, we puff out our chests a bit that we’ve raised a generation of young women not afraid to speak out.

So now that we have expressed our collective outrage that Generation Z has the audacity to snicker at their elders, let’s explain to them what they’re missing out on. It’s not a competition to see who’s cooler at this point. We’ve certainly learned enough to know that trying to convince a teen of anything that wasn’t their idea to begin with is a futile effort. But I’d like to take a moment to relish in some of the things we love about our generation.

cassette tape

  • Side parts hide a multitude of sins. A center part is cute when you’ve got a slim face and perfect skin, but come let me show you how to hide that big hormonal pimple you’ve got on your left cheek. 
  • In the same way that side parts camouflage flaws, skinny jeans and a blousy top half tucked will always fare better after that second slice of pizza than a bodysuit tucked into high-waisted jeans.
  • If I’m dancing in a grocery store, no one’s filming it for TikTok … it’s just that I heard “Backstreet’s Back, ALRIGHT!”
  • We don’t need an “aesthetic” which means that we can focus that energy on other things.
  • We cry in private. Big, ugly, red-faced crying without photographic evidence.
  • Our dreams in life rarely include being “famous.”
  • We knew what being “emo” really meant and no current musical artists can capture that phase like the ones of my youth. My Chemical Romance, anyone?
  • Our under eye dark circles are authentic. We will never need to pretend to be as tired as we inevitably always are.
  • We never tried to eat Tide Pods. Do you know how expensive those are?!
  • We grew up in a time where we didn’t have to be constantly afraid of what photos and videos might show up on social media.
  • When we dated, “sexting” wasn’t really a thing. Making a mixed tape was.

Not least of all, we’ve reached a point in our lives where we know who we are and are unapologetic about it. We are more comfortable in our skin(ny jeans). We know who our real friends are. We know how to enjoy a good meal. We navigate social media with caution and comfort with the motto that less is more. We are confident enough not to engage with those who are undeserving of our mental bandwith. And most of all, we get to raise children who take all the best parts of us and make them adaptable to a time the likes of which we’ve never experienced.

So hike up those skinny jeans and flip that side-parted hair. Shake off the shade from Generation Z and tell us: what’s your favorite thing about being a Millennial or Gen Xer?


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