Boomers, Generations, getting old, Life, NaBloPoMo

How the Boomers are Different from Gens X, Y, Z

If this pandemic has showed me anything, it’s the generational gap between younger generations and the Boomers.

First off, raise your hand if at the beginning of the pandemic you had trouble keeping your parents home. I thought I was going to have to put homing devices on everyone in my life over 70. I found myself saying things like, “How imperative is it that you have hot dog buns right now?” Finally, and thankfully, it clicked. And all of my Boomers finally took my (not so subtle) hints and stayed under house arrest home.

Second, TV coverage. My parents and in laws had their TVs on 24/7 following COVID coverage. The actual television is on. And sometimes, multiple TVs are on in different rooms, all on the same station. CNN has viewers for life with that crew.

But the dedication to physically watching news on television isn’t the only difference between me and the “older generation”. In fact, last year I wrote this post about how our generations do things differently.

But the differences don’t end there!

A few months ago, Mr. KK and I were at his parents house. His mother was showing us things she found after cleaning out an armoire, when she held up a large bag of metal.

“Look at all these belt buckles I found!” she said.

And there, in the bag, must’ve been about 20 belt buckles of varying shapes and sizes. Yes, I said belt buckles. Personally, I don’t own a belt (short, pear-shaped women should never wear a belt!). Mr. KK own two belts (one black and one brown). But the buckles are attached to the belt. There’s no switching up the buckle depending on his mood (“I’m feeling feisty, let’s bust out the turquoise studded silver!”).

Epsom salt. I recently was reading a book about a twenty-something who needed an epsom salt bath to help blisters that she had on her feet. (This book was obviously a book about millennials written by someone much, much older). Honestly, until I looked it up just now, I had no idea what epsom salt was even used for (it has 20 surprising uses! Who knew it could help with constipation and acne!). I do, however, distinctly remember it being in our linen closet growing up.

Over the summer – in an effort to complete at least ONE project during all of our time home together – Mr. KK needed to measure something. “I wish we had a yardstick,” he said, “that would be perfect right now.” There are three types of people who likely own a yardstick: mothers over 70, their mothers, and seamstresses. And I am none of the above. My mother had (has?) a yardstick. It was kept in the hallway closet, standing up in the corner (where and how else do you store something that’s 3 feet long?). I think we used it to measure how much snow we got during one of the blizzards.

The ye old address book. If you’re under 20, you likely don’t even know what an address book is. If you’re Gen X, you likely had one in your childhood for all those “pen pals” you might have corresponded with from summer vacations or camp. This is also the reason why you might still have stamps, because you’ve physically mailed a piece of parcel in your lifetime. Boomers live and die by the address book. Not only does it hold addresses and phone numbers (to LAND LINES), it usually is adorned with a variety of paper clips and scrap pieces of paper, the likes of which are not limited to: business cards for painters, exterminators or carpenters; reminder cards for doctor appointments; and a funny comic ripped from the newspaper.

Boomers have check books and they know how (and still do!) use them. I am the first person to tell you that I have a checkbook. I remember the day I got it with my Big Girl checking account. However, just because I HAVE a check book, doesn’t mean I USE a check book. I have had the same set of checks for years and years and years (and probably will until I die, frozen in time on the same check number from 2005 when I was issued checks with my new married name! If you owe me money and you want to pay me by check, just hold onto it…until you can pay me electronically.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel the generational gap between me (Gen X) and millennials. And I’m sure they could name a million things that I do – or own – that is completely foreign to them. Things such as: I enjoy flipping through magazines (PRINTED magazines), I always have a book of stamps, and I handwrite my to do list every day (so that I can physically cross things off!).

And I’m comfortable with my Gen X-ness. I’m sure Gen Z has never felt the little thrill of opening the mailbox and seeing the latest issue of their favorite glossy magazine just sitting there, begging for a creased spine and leisurely read. And honestly, I feel bad for them.

Boomers, Generations

Not for me, Boomer.

Every year when the weather gets cold, I get to break out my favorite winter hat. I’ve had this hat forever, and I LOVE it because it fits snugly and looks decent on my head.

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At the end of last year, however, one of the flowers on my hat started falling off. It’s literally hanging by a thread.

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It’s likely relatively easy to sew back on and it will be good as new again. And I THINK I have a needle and thread somewhere in the house. But, the thing is, I don’t sew.

Sewing is one of those things my parents’ generation did. And there are other things the Boomer generation do that you won’t ever find me doing.

Things the Boomer generation do that just aren’t for me.

Sewing.

I remember when I was little my mother had this pin cushion shaped like a tomato filled with stick pins with little balls on the ends in rainbow of colors. Also in the cushion was always a needle or two, long tail of thread hanging off of them. There was also an accompanying plastic box of straight pins because you never could have too many pins, I guess. But the thing was, she used that pin cushion all the time, to attach a button, sew a rip or hem pants. Me? I tend to ship out my sewing to my mother or mother-in-law.

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Ironing.

There is nothing I hate more than ironing. Though I feel every house should have an ironing board, and we have a full-sized one in our front hall closet. But my mother’s and grandmother’s generation, all they did was iron. My grandmother used to iron my grandfather’s handkerchiefs, jeans and sheets. Ironing clothes is somewhat of a ritual. There would be one night during the weekend that was “ironing night” and my mother would be downstairs, standing in front of the ironing board, watching the soap operas she had recorded on the VCR during the day (no digital cable back in the day) and she’d spend hours – yes hours – pressing clothes. I hate ironing so much, that I have shirts I’ve never worn again because they were too wrinkled.

Spring Cleaning.

Back in my past life I worked on a household cleaner brand. Every year we’d need to come up with clever campaigns for the Spring Cleaning season. And every year I’d have to fight the urge to tell the client ‘Spring Cleaning isn’t a thing anymore for the under 60 crowd!’ Maybe it’s just me, but when the weather starts to morph from winter to spring, I don’t dedicate a weekend to changing comforters, curtains and deep cleaning with Lysol. What do you say that instead of spring cleaning, how about we just do “regular cleaning” all year round?

Watch the news…on TV.

Admittedly, I don’t want any type of news (isn’t that was social media is for?) but the Boomer generation are die-hard news watchers. And they watch the news multiple times in one night – the 5pm, the 6pm and then sometimes the 11pm. Even though it’s the SAME NEWS told by a different set of plastic anchors covered in pancake makeup.

 

I’m embarrassed to say, that I tried to fix my hat with a piece of scotch tape. That’s right, I tried to tape the flower back on so it didn’t flop around when I was wearing it. But I just can’t bring myself to bust out a needle and thread.

It’s just not for me, Boomer.