It’s hard to believe the oldest members of the millennial generation will celebrate their 40th birthdays in January. Age often brings greater wisdom, and millennials are coming to grips with the fact members of the baby boom generation may have had it right all along.
Millennials, if you recall, perfected the term “Okay, boomer,” to deride members of the older generation for their outdated views and opinions. An article appearing this week on Fox News suggested that boomers, perhaps, were right in five key metrics when it comes to adulting.
“Every new generation is sure it has cornered the market on youth and brains, only to find out that youth turns to middle age and then the golden years,” wrote Dan Gainor.
It’s funny that when I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, university students were constantly proclaiming it was necessary to “question authority.” Now that baby boomers are in positions of authority, they demand complete obedience to their dominion.
Like the writer of Ecclesiastes notes repeatedly, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
This is why people over 50 have a duty and responsibility to temper the enthusiasm and energy of younger generations with practical knowledge and wisdom learned over a lifetime of difficult lessons.
According to Fox News, millennials are realizing baby boomers were correct in these areas:
Pick up the phone — In the business world, you need to get hold of people. Many of them are older than you and actually use phones to, you know, talk, Dan explained.
“You can’t tell inflection or tone in a text. A sarcastic comment that triggers you (and we know that happens a lot) might actually be a joke you would have laughed at, if you heard it out loud,” he added.
Yes, you have to work — The most accomplished people are the hardest workers, no matter their age.
When you think about it, it really doesn’t take a lot for someone to stand head-and-shoulders above their peers. Showing up on time, is a great start; then being fully present enables contribution; and following up by keeping promises will open lots of doors.
“The old expression is true, it’s not what you know, it’s who. Network, make friends, especially those who are good at either bringing in money or who know those who can. It’s the real reason people go to big-name colleges,” Dan wrote.
Math works — Math is power. It’s needed to figure out taxes, tips and how much you can spend on things. It’s also essential for holding others accountable for their spending.
So, when the government thinks its okay to owe $34 trillion to pay for “stuff” and to give money away, math helps to understand that figure really amounts to a 2,000-mile stack of $1,000 bills (or $1 million every four inches), which someone has to pay back someday.
“If you borrow $100,000 for a degree that will earn you $30,000 a year, you didn’t learn enough math,” Dan explained. “Do a budget so you can figure out where you spend your money. And cut out unnecessary things you can’t afford.”
Seasoned citizens can help younger folks prepare a budget because they never learned that discipline in school. For the same reason, seniors can also help younger folks make smart decisions about investing.
Learn to do things — The reason your parents could afford all those extras like food and clothes is they probably didn’t waste money, Dan wrote.
“Learn to cook. It’s a ton cheaper than buying carry-out or Uber Eats. You don’t have to be great at it,” he added. “Learn to cook the foods you like. Get recipes from family and ask them to walk you through it.”
I’ll admit that I don’t cook often enough myself. My air fryer has been a lifesaver for warming up leftovers. But, I know A LOT of seasoned citizens who love to cook. They would be appreciative of an opportunity to teach an eager young person how to make a delicious meal in exchange for some companionship from time-to-time.
Focus on your health — Millennials are learning health starts to decline, even in their 30s.
Isn’t that the truth? It also takes much, much longer to shed weight when you’re over 50. If I look at a piece of cheesecake, my weight goes up by three pounds. If I eat a slice, my weight rockets up by 10 pounds overnight and parachutes down over the next two weeks.
Dan noted it’s often easier to stop something from happening, than to fix it afterward. He suggested millennials establish relationships with a variety of medical professionals and see them regularly.
My health has been relatively stable for more than five years because I see a chiropractor monthly as well as a dentist and doctor every six months. Preventative care is significantly less expensive than to repair damage later.
I don’t think I would have listened to advice in my 20s or 30s, but I would have been more open to it when I started encountering my own signs of aging as I approached my 40th birthday. Of course, we can’t preach healthy living if we aren’t demonstrating it ourselves.
Dan’s story in Fox News was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek reflection on how aging generally softens attitudes and opens minds to contemplating new ways of thinking. It’s something we’ve all experienced ourselves.
Seasoned citizens can make a big impact and leave a lasting legacy by patiently sharing their accumulated wisdom and experiences with younger generations.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.