Every generation seems to be christened with a one or two word descriptive label. Five U.S. generations have been labelled covering a span of more than 100 years.
- the Greatest Generation (or GI Generation) born 1924 or earlier
- the Silent Generation (also called Traditionalists); born 1925-1945
- Baby Boomers; born 1946-1964
- Generation X; born 1965-1980
- Millennials; born 1981-1997
This is as far as the list of generations goes. The subsequent generation of children and teens born after 1997 has not yet been formally named by demographers.
Perhaps we give far too much credence to such labels as they encourage us to put people into boxes each with their own group personality. Resulting from that, we tend to make corollary judgments on the people in all of those groups.
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Millennials have been dubbed “entitled” and they resent that rap. Baby boomers just want to feel young and alive as the marketing world obliges them to digest messages that reinforce they’re getting older and sicker. And many from the hard working Silent Generation have almost been shocked by the electronic information age which seemed to happen almost overnight. They can be tech-challenged and can also be among the slowest to change their work habits in order to adapt to new, more efficient means of productivity.
The first generation to grow up with computers, Generation X, embraces technology and works to live rather than lives to work as their parents did. And finally, the Greatest Generation may find themselves stunned by many current U. S. events. They're known for placing value on being accountable and taking personal responsibility where it should be taken. They tend to also be more humble and faithful people.
But this isn’t how everyone from each of these generations feels, especially not in the world of today where Maye Musk (born 1948), Elon Musk’s spectacular mother, is a health-conscious top model in the year 2018 and Stoneham Douglas high school students in Parkland, Florida, who might otherwise be called entitled and self-absorbed, are carrying the torch for the #MarchforOurLives movement all the way to the march on Washington, March 24, 2018.
Maybe we are all just one group, merging and intersecting with each other seeking the potential to find common ground together.
Influencer Gina Pell, Content Chief at The What, an avidly followed and eclectic weekly email with suggestions on what to read, eat, drink, and think about wrote an article in October 2016 in which she discusses an inclusive group of savvy ageless-minded people. She coined a new name for them: Perennials.
The article entitled, “Meet the Perennials: Because age ain’t nothin’ but a number,” says it all.
Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.
That’s how a growing number of people these days feel. Pell says:
“I spent the past year ruminating on an appropriate sobriquet to describe a set of people based on psychographics not demographics that would include Millennials, as well as people of all ages. I turned to my husband Dave, the dude who writes NextDraft and king of catchy headlines. He was dozing off next to me on an airplane, ‘I got it,’ he said, ‘You should call them Perennials.’ I quickly searched all definitions of perennial: enduring, perpetual, ever-lasting, recurrent, ever-blooming. Thus, Perennials was born.”
Pell goes on to say:
“Perennials are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, and are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers.”
That definition fits almost all of us, right? Ever-blooming people who know what’s happing in the world, who are neverendingly curious and give back in every way we can. We are constantly creating the new in our lives even if it means taking a risk.
The term “perennial” might be the best “label” yet. It’s inclusive and unity-promoting rather than exclusive, separating and delineating. It encourages a sense of agelessness and acceptance among everyone. It has the potential, if embraced, to assist us all in the unity our world so desperately needs at this time.
Hardy, Leah. “Why Women of 40 and 50 Are the New 'Ageless Generation'.” The Telegraph, Lifestyle: Women, 2 July 2017. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/women-40-50-new-ageless-generation/
“American Generation Fast Facts.” CNN.com, CNN Library, 27 Aug. 2017, www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/us/baby-boomer-generation-fast-facts/index.html.
Pell, Gina. “Meet the Perennials Because Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number.” Medium.com, The What, 19 Oct. 2016, medium.com/the-what/meet-the-perennials-e91a7cd9f65f.