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.


Why I’m Giving You the Cold Shoulder

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 9.32.45 PM

Comedian Greg Behrendt had a funny bit about getting old.

It goes something like this:

“One day, you’re a vital dude with a plan and information and then the next day, BOOM, you’re an old man with a new vocabulary. A word you’re using: ointment. Ointment! Not as a joke, but because you need one. How come? ‘Cause you’re sore. From what? From f*cking sleeping wrong. That’s a real thing: sleeping wrong!”

When Mr. KK and I first heard this bit a decade ago, we thought it was hilarious. Fast forward ten years, when our bones crack when we kneel down, and simple tasks such as brushing our teeth can incur neck pain, and we’re no longer laughing.

When I turned 40, I accepted that I needed little cheater reader glasses. It’s because I stare at the computer screen all day, I rationalized to myself. Plus, I needed only the lowest magnification, so it wasn’t like I really needed them.

Then, I started noticing other things.

My eyes got worse. Those .75 strength reader glasses just weren’t cutting it anymore. So I upgraded to the 1.00. Then the 1.25. Then the 1.5. At that point, I figured I might just need glasses all the time, so I went to the eye doctor. She wrote me a prescription for 1.75 cheaters. But I still use the 1.5 because I’m just not ready to admit that I need them.

All-over body aches. I would wake up in the morning and I would hobble out of bed like I was 100 years old. I couldn’t even stand up straight. I’m not sure what happened from the time I laid down until when my alarm went off, but it’s like my body deteriorated while I slept.

Zero flexibility. For someone who used to dance and be able to do a split, I can no longer get into criss-cross apple sauce without the assistance of my hands. What happened to me? I used to be able to do pliés without the use of a barre, now I’m lucky if I could get up off the floor with rolling onto my knees and pushing off my thigh.

Debilitating back pain. Every few months, my lower back finally gives out to stabbing pain, making it nearly impossible to stand up/walk/lie down/sit. This lasts for about 4-5 days. It’s super fun, especially when it happens on the morning of your beach vacation before you get in a car for 4 hours. (True story). Turns out, working from home and sitting so long is causing my hips to be stuck in a position so long that’s weakening my back. Awesome!

Shoulder pain. I pretty much haven’t used my left arm in a few months. The pain is in the front of my left shoulder, at the curve. It hurts to raise my arm above my head, grab a glass out of the cabinet, hold my hair dryer. I can’t pick up the Little Mister, pull the covers up or lift a grocery bag. Not wanting to make this a bigger deal that it was (the onset of old age), I went to a massage therapist, hoping he could work out the pain.

“How old are you?” he asked me. When I answer, he says, “That’s just about right. Ma’am, you have frozen shoulder. Many women around your age get it.”

Excuse me? Around my age? And what’s with the ‘ma’am’?

Because this sounded like a completely made up diagnosis, I consulted with Dr. Google who confirmed that Frozen Shoulder actually WAS a thing. Not only was it a thing, but there were three stages, as described by the Mayo Clinic: Freezing, Frozen and Thawed (I am not making this up, people). Treatment is stretching and exercising, and it will typically resolve itself within – wait for it – up to 2 YEARS.

So, let’s recap:

I can’t stand up straight in the mornings.
Every few months I can’t walk/sit/stand/lie down without excruciating pain.
Oh, and my shoulder is frozen for the next 2 years.

So…what’s new with you?