"Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it."
— George Orwell
I’m standing at the edge of a gap. Right at the edge, with my toes dangling like a diver preparing to jump. I don’t exactly fit in on this side. I don’t exactly fit in on the other side, either. The other places on the other sides of the other gaps are so far away, I could never hope to reach them. How despairing a feeling, how isolated I am. So many gaps in humanity.
I speak of the generation gaps that are plaguing us. There are differences that we, depending on when we are born, must fit in and be matched with. Values, beliefs, politics (or lack thereof, if you’re a Millennial like me, sad to say), that we’re categorized under.
The youngest are the iGens. Like, OMFG, are the iGens the secret hate-child of the older generations? So totally spoiled, fam. Alright, you get the point. How clueless and fabulous their lives certainly are. In my readings, and general human conversations, I have gleaned that the iGens are more or less viewed by the American public to be deeply afraid of low batteries. They’re allergic to so many things, the poor sickly creatures. And, like, OMG, what’s a landline? Hold up, is there an app for that?
But it isn’t the iGens taking all the disrespect. Millennials also get loaded with generational pressure. They’re seemingly depicted as Tinder-obsessed, gluten-intolerant, sore losers who know nothing of the value of hard work and a valuable career.
I’m not here to just defend the poor, technology-advanced youngsters. The Greatest Generation (a title given to people over 70), are depicted as simple, cheap, and annoyed by life in America today. They fought Hitler, dammit. We repaid them with fidget spinners and skinny jeans.
There are some alliances that I’ve come upon that have brought me a dark sense of joy. For example; across the board, all generations can mostly agree we can’t trust our news sources. Har, har, sob.
Hasn’t it always been this way? Whether you're seven or 70, you’ve heard your elder say about you, “Kids these days…” in that dark, disappointed tone, dripping with fear for the future.
We all know the generation war has raged for as long as there have been generations to fight it. But with times changing rapidly and trends flickering by like flashes of lightning, it is becoming easier to separate generations into opposing tribes. It is not the news and the media arming us with spears to poke at each other, it is us. We simply cannot let go of our road rage behind slow Grandpa who can’t see two feet in front of him or idiot Chad who has to wear his stupid white-rimmed sunglasses indoors.
Truly, there could be no gaps. We have created them ourselves. If we stop focusing on the year we were born versus the year they were born, we might see that we are all just people repeating history with new distractions, that’s all. There is only age segregation between us, and that’s fairly optional.
I am a firm believer that we can be in any age bracket we feel and may pass between them depending on the situation. When my child and I are walking down a busy street, I am a vigilant and mature midlifer. As soon as we are home, I am a child. I lose much of my maturity, especially when I begin to write. Farts.
At a point in my Millennial life, I hated the gaps so much that I quit looking at them. I started looking at people and noticed something beautiful; we all have wings. So, I spread mine and I flew. Free of the generation gap!
It’s healthy, normal, and goddamn awesome to be outside of such generational restrictions. When I’m eighty I shall write a story that will make people laugh. I’ll read it to the young. Yes, I will also roll my eyes and sigh quite deeply at the next weird-ass thing they have to wear for that particular month, but it won’t become a label on the never-ending bumper-stickers that humanity is so keen to slap on others.
I just want to connect. Old, young, screen-addicted, or paper-user, I love you. Let’s just be people. Let’s help the young who are lost and have not the experience to find their way through the messy world we have all built together. Let’s protect the old who are uncomfortable with so many quick changes. The young need the old, the old need the young. No gaps necessary.