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How to “Get” the 7 Living Generations

How to “Get” the 7 Living Generations

And Find Out Which One You’re In

The similarities of people in the same generation can be striking, from facial expressions to ways of walking and talking.

After all, we grow up together and go through much of the same challenges and victories. We experience the same big moments in history together, the trends and collective “vibe.”

So, here’s a quick guide to help understand each of the living generations of the 20th and 21st Century…

The Greatest Generation — born 1901–1924

They kept freedom ringing by winning World War II against insane odds. They came home to prosperity and raised the Boomers.

  • The Greatest Generation went through a pandemic (Spanish Flu) as they came of age (just like Gen Z)
  • The women took to factories (doing previously “male” jobs) while men took to arms, sacrificing everything to defeat The Axis of Evil.
  • The Greatest Generation are the models of doing it right, thus their GOAT status (Gen Z slang for Greatest Of All Time).
  • The only critique of the “Greatest” could be that they maybe gave their children (the Boomers) a little too much of the good life (some say they spoiled them)… But who can blame them after what they went through (pandemic/world war).

The Silent Generation — born 1925–1945

This astute and underrated generation has a huge accomplishment I’ve never seen hyped anywhere. These guys (and gals) are so freaking cool … I’ll list it in the last bullet point..

  • Overall the world was pretty serious for The Silent Generation when they exited the womb.
  • They were born in the aftermath of a pandemic, many during a world war.
  • The Silent Generation are some of the most honest, humble and dutiful people on the planet. They keep things going in the background while others take credit.
  • The Silent Generation invented the Internet! That’s right, Vinton Gray Cerf and Bob Kahn are called “the fathers of the Internet.” You never hear this Generation brag about this, or anything! The silent types are always so smart…

The Baby Boomers — born 1946–1964

Let’s partaaay!!! Whoo-hoo!! Cue the rock ‘n roll, fire up some weed and burn them bras! This most volatile generation was born during some of the greatest social changes in Western civilization.

It may come as a shock to the Zoomers (Gen Z) but the Boomers knew how to freaking throw down. There are still Boomers hung-over from Woodstock.

  • Baby Boomers were the first TV generation.
  • First to be mass-marketed to in a major way.
  • First equal rights / women’s rights / gay rights / anti-war generation.
  • “Make Love, Not War.”
  • “Flower Power.” 🌼
  • Many went “Yuppie”materialistic in the 80s which let down a lot of idealists.
  • A Boomer, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

Generation X — born 1965–1980

It appeared Gen X was dealt a bad hand, until timing made them one of the luckiest generations ever.

The “bad hand” was being born in the aftermath of Boomer craziness, like broken homes, abortion as birth control, SDTs, street violence. Gen X were the first “latch-key” kids to raise themselves, and quickly became “anti-fragile.”

But as luck would have it, they fought in arcade games instead of Vietnam, wore Polo shirts instead of anti-viral masks, and bought homes while they were still affordable.

  • Gen X built much of what we know today as our Digital World.
  • Gen X is hard to scare, hard to offend, and doesn’t need “safe spaces.”
  • Watched Star Wars, ET, Rocky and all the 80s classics in the theater as they happened, then on VHS, then digitally.
  • Watched typewriters become laptops, beepers become smart phones, Pong become Oculus VR, vinyl records become tapes then CDs then MP3s then back to vinyl records. 😉
  • Gen X takes a low key yet innovative approach to almost everything, including raising children (Gen Z).
  • One critique: Gen X perhaps gave their Gen Z kids too much screen time.

Millennials — born 1981–1996

This generation mirrors the Baby Boomers in ways. Even larger in size, they also came of age during great change and are resilient because of it.

When it was time to become adults, 9–11 happened and the “War on Terror” began. When it time to gets jobs, a recession hit. When it was time to get houses, the housing bubble burst. When it was time to raise kids, a pandemic struck and home values sky-rocketed.

Yet somehow, Millennials stay strong and even sweet.

  • Millennials are adventurous, and love taking those backpacks everywhere, an expression of their longing to travel
  • They’re as united as the Boomers in social causes, yet less drunk and stoned.
  • They’re “Shiny, happy people” when treated right, and some of the kindest souls on the planet.
  • Millennials are, against all odds, lovable, despite all the challenges thrown their way.
  • Their only critique is sometimes Millennials have unrealistic expectations, especially when the real world can be darker than what the Boomers prepared them for.
  • More compassionate than Generation X, Millennials really want the world to be fair and just for all. Together, they’re a beacon of light.

Gen Z — born 1997–2009

The hypersonic future of the planet, Gen Z is both highly informed yet detached, maybe even more so than the anti-social champs: Gen X. They’re also called Zoomers (not just because of the “Z” but because they are the Zoom generation).

  • Never challenge a Zoomer in a video game (even a retro one), it’s a hopeless cause.
  • Gen Z, like Gen X, is anti-fragile — can wear a mask all day and forget it’s even on.
  • Pandemic-proof. The next outbreak to them will be like, “Yawn … where’s my old mask?
  • I have a theory that Gen Z could be the next “Greatest Generation” in the making, meaning after they get through the pandemic, there may be another big challenge waiting (let’s hope not another world war)…
  • I realize the previous paragraph will perplex many, but all those video games may have a larger purpose, and their anti-social nature may be part of having to do the generational “dirty work.”

Gen Alpha — born 2010–2025

Some have already dubbed the new generation “Alpha,” but with reservations.

Some may recoil at the “alpha” name, as if they haven’t earned alpha status yet. The name was decided in haste as marketers wanted to label them (yikes!). They figured after Gen Z, we’ll just start over in the alphabet. Time will tell if this name spoils them at all…

  • Estimates say by the time all the members of Gen Alpha are born, there will be almost 2 billion of them — the largest generation in the history of the world.
  • Alphas may experience a “cloistered” effect by being overly sheltered and even hidden from the world in their formative years during a pandemic.
  • My personal prediction is that they will be very “alternative” in their approach to life, artistic, creative, seeking to do things in a new way (because the world they’re getting born into needs serious help).
  • They are mainly the children of Millennials. Time will tell more about the fruits of their philosophies.

Final thoughts

These collective traits make each generation unique. Of course, there are many exceptions, and some of us may identify more with another generation.

But did you know that relating with the younger generations can actually help keep us young! Studies show thinking young can help keep us young! So feel free to embrace the new slang of each generation, the music, art and literature, as that youthful “vibe” can extend your earthly ride.