I used to think the world existed for the young. And certainly, there is plenty for the young, plenty that us older people are slightly jealous of. But now, as I age, I am seeing that the world does not revolve around the young. The young people only think it revolves around them. The rest of us coexist in this world with them, something for everyone. There are jokes in kids’ movies just for us adults, almost like a subtle reminder that we matter too. Because we’ve all got our things.
The young people have:
Snapchat, miniskirts, crop tops. Wet and Wild makeup. Bikinis and whipped cream vodka. Bikinis made out of whipped cream. Vodka. YouTube channels. Perky tits. Elastic skin. Tanning without worrying. Eating french fries without getting fat. Hundreds of texts a day, but zero emails that aren’t spam.
Us in middle age have:
Spanx, Pinterest, coupons. I think my generation will be the last one that ever gets really excited about office supplies. We have our VH1 list shows that remind us of when we were young. Buzzfeed is all us. We drive cars that are neither sexy nor ugly, but unabashedly practical. We remember planning dates with phone calls rather than a right swipe. We are a bit more personable than our younger counterparts, although admittedly not as technology-savvy. We talk about “the good ol’ days” as if we know anything about that, thinking that the 80s were the beginning of American history.
And the elderly have theirs:
Tea, buttons you push on strings in case of a fall. Spending time at donut and coffee shops without asking about the wifi password. Money stashed away in retirement accounts. Memories of some really great music, movies, and books that most grandchildren will never know of. They have worked jobs without computers and used their hands for something other than texting and driving. Pictures were sacred and scarce. Working hard was admirable. And they actually do know a thing or two about some good ol’ days – before screens ruled our world.
In youth we learn; in age we understand. ~Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
As I grow older, I learn that the world never really did revolve around me, I just thought it did. My perspective shifts as I see the same things in different lights. I have learned to appreciate the history that shaped the world for me as just as I am learning to adapt to the inventions that come from the generations after me.
The world does not belong to me or to the Millennials or to my children’s generation. It belongs to us each, whichever place we find ourselves in it. There is a niche for each of us. Or for us non-conformists, we can always carve our own.