Last night three Boomer couples visited over food and drink and shared our stories on a hot summer night, poolside under a bright shining moon. Even though we didn’t know each other in our younger days, our “drugs, sex, rock and roll” stories were similar. We all had the same cultural touch points, the JFK and MLK assassinations, civil rights, Viet Nam and Beatles vs. Stones.
Earlier that day, I attended a leadership retreat with my professional club, AAF-BR. I am now the oldest member on that board. What my sweetie told me is true; I’ll be the last Boomer president that organization has. Driving that point home, the 26-year old who followed me was our youngest president ever. At a conference we attended, someone assumed he was my son. I told him from now on, I was going to refer to him as my boy toy. Even though this group of professions is younger than me, we respect each other and I believe they enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs.
I’m pondering this, as it seems there’s been a rash of articles recently that makes it appear that Boomers and Millenials are at war with each other. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Boomers saying that Millenials are an entitled group of slackers who want everything handed to them without working for it. And Millenials saying the Boomers have screwed their environment, the economy and now they’re in debt and can’t get a job because Boomers won’t retire and can the Boomers just die off already.
No doubt there’s a generation gap. But wasn’t there an even larger generation gap between Boomers and their parents. And wasn’t it the Baby Boomer generation that said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” that is until they aged out of that belief?
I went to see The Great Gatsby with my 23-year-old daughter and a few of her friends and was reminded of the differences of our ages. We all enjoyed the movie and went out for a drink together after. I had to tweet a picture of my wine because it was time for the Generation Fabulous winehop and I wanted to be a part of it. I felt the need to apologize because I believe there’s rudeness to being more engaged with your phone than the company you’re with. ‘No Problem” they said, they really didn’t tweet but were into Vine and Snapchat. I thought I was social media savvy, but I realized these young ‘ens absorb the latest thing and intuitively know how to do it and have moved on to something else before I’ve ever heard of it.
There was also the conversation that Kanye West is this generation’s Bob Dylan. I patted the young fella’s hand and laughingly said, “Bless your heart, we’ll just have to accept the fact that we’re from different generations.”
These are the differences that continues to keep life interesting. I’ve learned a big lesson from this age group. They are fearless and feel they can do anything. I really love how they embrace people for who they are. They’re more color-blind and it doesn’t matter to them who their friends love.
My young friend, the AAF president recently went head-to-head with the State Governor about a proposed tax on creative services. I would have never had the chutzbah to face off with the Governor at a press conference. He attributed it to his age which is more WTF than OMG and to the fact that he’s passionate about the advertising industry that we’re both a part of. The Millenials have a “Yeah, I can do it and it doesn’t matter if I don’t know how, I’ll figure it out” attitude. It may come across to some as cocky, but I see it as fearless.
So this Boomer has tried to adopt that attitude. Instead of saying, “No, I don’t know how to do that, so I can’t.” I’ve learned to say, “Yeah I can do it, no problem.” And if I don’t know how, I can always get a young friend to show me the way.
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