It came as a surprise to me that this is now a thing. I recently saw a show explaining the nuances of this somewhat critical Gen Z’er response to any boomer offering advice. Part kidding, part dismissive, it is undeniably intended to remind us of our fading relevance. To be clear, things have gotten complicated since the end of the Greatest Generation’s reign. A tough act to follow indeed. The world is now mostly populated by the four subsequent generations: Boomers (‘46-‘64), Gen X’ers (‘65-’76), Millennials (’77-’95) and those whipper snappers, the Gen Z’ers (’96-TBD). Social scientists make these designations based on several markers such as; the things that shaped each generation, current characteristics, expectations, thought processes and what their priorities are for the long term.
We Boomers have been in charge for a long time. And while the X-ers/millennials have shown a degree of patience with our stewardship of the planet (they are our kids and grandkids), the Z’ers are not having any of it. It reminds me a bit of the early boomer days when our generation first made their voices felt and worked for change. I can’t pretend that we really are leaving the world better than we found it. As for the US, the Gen Z’ers will be the first generation to not exceed the standard of living of a previous one. We have some serious issues that we have failed to address. Last week it was announced that the life expectancy of the average American dropped for the 3rd straight year. Much of this is due to the ravaging of the younger demographics by social ills; poverty, addiction and suicide.
I get the fact that to those who will have to deal with the resulting national and global crises are not going to mince words. I don’t know the answer. Our time behind the wheel is almost up and it’s tempting to let go and coast. But it could be that key thing for us to do now is to stay in the fight. Most of us have the luxury of free time and relatively good health. What we do with it now is the question.
The mindset at the VOM Rotary is all about doing what we can, wherever we can. Being visible and involved in an array of world changing projects still gives us the ability to inspire those who will lead in the decades to come. Rotary gives us that opportunity. We go small and help so many of the disadvantaged in our community and we can go big. Eradicating polio has been a long-term Rotary project and it is within our grasp. There are also more ambitious ways to engage internationally like the upcoming East Africa project fair in Tanzania. It’s a forum for enabling Rotarians from the world over to form relationships and partnerships with members of local clubs there and work together on a variety of projects. Turns out a Rotary pin might just spare you any, OK Boomer’s.