I Just Learned What ‘Millennial’ Means, Now ‘Generation Z,’ You Say?!

If you were born anywhere from the early sixties to early eighties, you’re a GenXer. If, like me, you were born in the early eighties and raised on video and computer games, you may resonate with the Millennial mindset a little too.

But being Generation X is pretty cool. We’re characterized as being more socially aware and more open to new ideas about working conditions, parenting, religion, gender and sexuality, and race than Baby Boomers (mostly due to cynicism…). We have some strong ideas about how the work-life balance is way off-balance and more than a few opinions about how to few fix it up. Not to mention, we’re probably the last generation that can remember the world before and after cellphones and the Internet and tell you some great stories about searching for a payphone or a phone book. Some of us can even do a mean impression of a dial-up modem. This is not to say that Boomers are closed-minded, but the obvious trend is that society as a whole has been becoming more accepting of different lifestyle choices with each generation.

Millennials have gotten a lot of press lately, and so they should. After all, they are the largest cohort since the Boomers so their choices will make a profound impact on society. Millennials, or Generation Y, are even more accepting of different lifestyles. Gone is the ‘standard family’ or ‘typical home,’ and they know it and accept it – mixed religions, races, same sexes, whatever. They are one of the first generations to not blink an eye at anything other than nuclear. They also have some high standards when it comes to working conditions and health-consciousness that we can already see infiltrating our work week, work-life balance, and the prominence of flexi-time and telecommuting.

I’m consumed by this topic of generations and their contributions for two reasons this week. The first is a result of a chat I had with Lori Campbell of AgePotential.com. As a gerontologist (a person who studies age and aging), Lori focuses on each generation’s approach to aging and vitality. She’s also spent a lot of her career looking at slowing down the aging process and increasing vitality for all. We had a great chat about reaching a younger audience to make more GenYers and GenZers more aware of how aging can be staved off by putting some time and effort into learning about vitality and nutrition.

[This chat is only the tip of the iceberg and I hope to bring you more about Lori and maybe a formal interview in the near future (especially about how she has the science to prove she has reversed and slowed down the aging process on herself – yes please!)].

The second reason I’m fascinated about generations is because of one of the cutest and forward thinking stories that exploded all over social media this week. No, it’s not from a politician or activist, or even a celebrity looking for comeback press. I’m talking about the story of Jacob Lescenski, the straight junior who asked his gay best friend, Anthony Martinez, to prom. (Full story here).

CNN reports that the two teens are juniors, making them 16 or 17 (born in 1998/99), and therefore them part of    Generation Z. This is the generation born from the mid-late nineties through to about 2009 or 10 (depending on who you ask…). Though we don’t know too much about Generation Zers as far as their ‘adult’ characteristics or what their major contribution to society will be, this story is hopefully only the first of an even more open, loving attitude and perspective that is increasing with each generation.

So enjoy these positive thoughts about the future this week and dream about all the implications this shift will have on your boycomown life! Maybe you have GenZ children who will live to see multiple female, homosexual, and transgendered Presidents and Prime Ministers. And we should also give them a break! Just because they’re on their phones all the time, doesn’t mean that the next generation is doomed to fail. By the looks of it, it actually seems like they’ll show us all up.

Also, thanks so much to all who have downloaded and enjoyed the book. Please remember to leave a review at the BeingThirties Facebook page! Download The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Succcessful Goal-Making FREE until May 1st . If you have trouble downloading the book from WordPress, please visit ashewoodward.com.

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Main Photo credit to Cristóbal Cobo Romanà on flickr.com

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