Picture it: a college campus two weeks ago (if you’re envisioning Sophia from Golden Girls, this article may be for you). I stood in front of a bunch of 18-year-olds on the cusp of their college career and posed an ice breaker question about their favorite childhood show. I went first and proudly proclaimed “Salute Your Shorts” on Nickelodeon and “Mama’s Family” reruns on CMT as delightful highlights from my childhood. <crickets> None of them had heard of either show.
Working in higher education, I am constantly reminded that I’m getting older while my target demographic stays the same age. I’m now squarely old enough to be their mother. And sometimes that is quite obvious.
Sometimes, I’m not sure where I fit, and in an article about the changing workforce, Erica Dwahan penned the term “geriatric millennial” which couldn’t be more accurate to my feelings! Geriatric millennials are a subsection of people born between 1980 and 1985, a micro-generation.
Do these questions hit home?
Are you old enough to remember using encyclopedias and a real card catalog at the library?
Did you get your first cell phone after you got your first driver’s license?
Do you remember when Blockbuster was a regular Friday night go-to and Netflix had mail-in DVDs in stock?
Do you know the Friday night line-up of TGIF (or what TGIF is)?
Do you remember black and green screen of Oregon Trail?
Never fear; there is hope for our old bones yet. I am confident we are contributing to society, even with our aging status. Here’s what we have going for us…
- An appreciation of technology – we remember what it’s like not to have it and we grew up as technology was growing around us as well. We have a healthier respect for it than most.
- We’re adaptable – we’ve lived through cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, Napster, Blockbuster, and now our beloved streaming services. We can and will adjust (and adjust and adjust).
- We’re trailblazers – we’ve had to learn as new things came to be; the first generation (I think) to be trained for jobs that hadn’t even been created yet.
- We’ve got the best movie quotes and song lyrics just rolling through our minds at all times. Give me late ’90s pop, country, R&B and throw in some Adam Sandler movies and Aladdin, and I’m a happy gal.
- We love all ages of people because we can live with one foot in each camp – remembering some good old days (ok, Boomer) and appreciating the advances in modern life (looking at you Gen Z).
On this, the year of my 40th birthday, I’m starting to learn how amazing it is to be in my niche age bracket. Maybe you prefer millennial grandma or original millennial or maybe you don’t like being labeled, but I’m going to embrace my geriatric millennial status since I never felt like your standard variety millennial anyway. I mean, geriatric never looked so good, am I right?