My Sons the Millennials

By: Peggy Willms

(7 min read)

I am heading back to Sunny Florida ? Bouncing around in my cushy passenger seat, I find myself staring at the Colorado River as we wind the I-70 concluding my visit seeing family and friends. Oh, a side-note, I actually got out of the vehicle and took a video of the aspens which are so very different than my daily fix of Royal palm trees ?. Both a gift of nature.

After several weeks on the road, I have many memories tossing around in my busy brain.

–Most life-changing for me personally was I played “Coach” with my oldest son – at his request.  “Treat me like I am at a retreat at your house.” Huh, I thought. I raised him, and I had to literally force-feed my concepts back in the day. Oh, how I love when our kiddos grow up and start understanding and respecting what we do. (PS: he nailed it and embedded lots of healthy habits putting him 16 pounds down, though he may not ask me to stay with him for 4 weeks again-bahaha).

–More memories: I Snap Chatted with my sister and niece until we about pissed our pants. Yes, that is me at my most gorgeous, male self. BAHAHA

–I baked apple crisp with my Dad and famous cookies with my Mom.

–I laughed until I cried listening to my sons recall old stories.

–I hiked a few times with a dear friend.

–I had lots of coffee with old clients. I ate out more than I have in a year. Lord… breakfast, lunch and dinner. I sooooooo dislike eating out evenwhen I make good choices. I just feel so yucky after, however – be clear – I sure would eat out any meal, any time to see my wonderful friends. Receiving less complaint from me, is the few chunks of flan and two trips I made to devour home-made, flavor-of-the -week ice cream stuffed into cake cones from my favorite, local dairy.

–I shopped til I dropped. Yes, I consider eight hours worthy of a descriptive drop. I dislike shopping.

–Yes, I worked out and, yes, I didn’t miss a beat with my clients, radio show or other work tasks. I mean duh.

All in all, a very, very memorable visit, and I leave smiling and so grateful for the visit. Unbelievably though – I didn’t take one single picture. WTH. I guess that means I was living in the moment. Not a common occurrence for me. Just say’n say’n…

HOWEVER, there is one story that sticks out a bit above the rest…the story of Millennials I had with my superistical, long-time friend, Monika. She shared a recent experience going to a conference with a presenter by the name of Jason Dorsey who is a Millennial himself, and an international, generation research leader and speaker who devotes his life to understanding and bridging the gaps of generations.

–I am NOT going to assume that everyone knows the definition or difference between a Millennial and let’s say a Baby Boomer. I am not assuming you all know, because frankly I had to look it up.

–Here are the generation age groups Dorsey uses:

–The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945

–Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964

–Generation X: Born 1965-1976

–Millennials also known as Generation Y (Gen  Y): Born 1977-1995

–Post-Millennials also known as Generation Z (Gen Z): Born 1996-Present

The term “Millennials” was coined for the generation who would graduate from High School as the new millennium rolled around – post 2000. There are many references, opinions and even several authors who have focused their attention on this age group with a few not-so nice labels: the Me, Me Generation or the Peter Pan Generation. The first is self-explanatory and the latter meaning their rites of passage would last into adulthood such as still living with their parents much later than a previous generation.

Neither labels fair and neither all-inclusive. I have experienced this first hand because my two sons, who are seven years apart, Millennials/Gen Y’s, far represent those labels.

Generations are shaped/based on age, parenting, technology and economics. And I would add communication and understanding to the list.

Today I am only going to speak to the big gap I witness my sons’ age group battle personally and in the media between two generation with a century between: Baby Boomers trying to “get” the Millennials and vice-versus. Well no shit, Dick Tracy, they wouldn’t get each other THERE IS A CENTURY GAP. [insert: “Who is Dick Tracy?” a Millennial or Gen Y (interchangeable) might ask? Dick Tracy is an old comic strip and a reference used similar to how Sherlock is used for the same matter-it “validates” the reference to a comment made. Meaning the comment is a legit, no-duh comment].

Regardless of what we label or call each generation, many Baby Boomers who are now grandparents or managers or CEOs trying to lead, or mentor or just damn understand and communicate with Millennials. Trust me, the feelings are reciprocated. Don’t forget that most families have both generations not just business. Thus, vital we get this right.

Back to the hilarity of this reality. Monika brought to light many stats and tips from her conference and I drummed up a few more. Boy oh boy, many laugh out louds. The comparisons are so hysterical, I think I frothed at the mouth. For the record, she and I are Gen X. We are the buffer between the two age groups I am comparing. We ranted about communication and technology the most. The what, how and when the “Me Me Generation” (grrr to the reference) uses their hand-held devices simply made me roar. I will summarize in a made-up conversation:

“Why do you wear a watch, Mr. Baby Boomer” asks the serious-faced Millennial.

“Because I want to know the time, Bud. Why don’t you wear a watch?”

“Why would I it’s on my phone.”

“Where do you find your flashlight or your magnifying glass, Mr. Baby Boomer?”

“In the junk drawer, Bud.”

“Where do you find yours?”

“On my phone, Mr. Baby Boomer.”

“Where do you read the news, Mr. Baby Boomer?”

“It’s on at 5: 30, Bud.  Do you even know what is going on in the news? I mean did you even vote?”

“Yes, I did, Mr. Baby Boomer, and I know what is going on in my newsfeeds.”


“Yes, Mr. Baby Boomer it is on my phone. I have a question with all due respect, where do you shop for your clothes, look at restaurant menus, find a recipe, read a book, get emails, watch a movie or listen to an entire album, Mr. Baby Boomer?”

“Well uh, I buy my clothes at the store. I read the menu when I get to the restaurant. I use a recipe book handed down from my mom. I buy a book at the store. I use my computer for emails, watch a movie on TV, and I listen to CCR and the Doors on a cassette or 8-track.”

“So, I save time and money using my phone.”

“But you are missing out on human interaction.”

Both roll their eyes and under their breath, whisper “e)#$)&@$%N $#).”

See the communication gap.

A Baby Boomer wonders why a Millennial has their face buried in their phone. Well it is because their whole entire life is in their hand. According to some stats, Millennials are the first generation that doesn’t know what a wall phone is nor a cassette nor an 8-track nor that a TV used to require you to get up and change the channel. That generation apparently has the highest percentage of non-voters, might not have thought about a 401k plan, and could very well die of diabetes or other illness before their parents. Trudat.

Ultimately, the gap causes confusion and much emotion. We all, too, once were the younger generation that our parents and especially grandparents didn’t get. My generation walked around in leg-warmers, jamming to the Go-Go’s on their Ghetto Box while chomping on Hubba Bubba and my grandparents wondered why I drug the cord of the phone way down the hall and chatted for hours on the phone – “WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT, THEY WILL SEE EACH OTHER IN SCHOOL TOMORROW?”

Let’s just agree to do better. Our relationships need it. Our work place needs it. Our country needs it. Our world needs it.

PS: I learned NOT to leave a voicemail for my sons. If I feel the urge to call, and they don’t pick up asap, just text. Ask a one-liner question or leave a one-liner statement on the phone. I will do better. I don’t want to be “swiped left.” I love my Millennial sons, and I thank you, Monika, and Jason Dorsey for giving me a better understanding that Millennials aren’t lazy or unsociable (I never thought that). They are simply living their lives from the palm of their hands. Wait until the Post Millennials grow up, everyone!

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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