Updated: Mar 3
Just because I like to shock my kids by telling them I'm older than the Internet, DVDs, Netflix, and Downy Wrinkle Release, doesn't mean I'm prepared to admit I'm old. I mean, it's not like I'm "I iron my clothes" old.
In my head, I'm still young and hip. I mean, would an old person not know how to parallel park? Would an old person turn up the boombox when Kelly Clarkson comes on, use emojis, or sleep until 8:00 A.M. on the weekends? I don't think so.
Okay, so I may have some delusions about my youthfulness. Who doesn't? I'll bet the old people muttering about those dang millennials with their beards, tight pants, participation trophies, and social media fact-checking while they have a laugh over memes from 2018 think of themselves as young whipper-snappers or whatever they call themselves, too.
Aren't we all a little taken aback when we catch a glimpse of our reflection and momentarily think it's our elderly future self come to warn us of impending doom before remembering that's our actual face now?
A few more than one year ago, when I entered my thirties as reluctantly as Trump exited his presidency, I was surprised by how hard the age change hit me. Here I was, thirty years old, almost a decade out of college and I had done NOTHING with my life.
"There must have been SOMETHING I achieved in my thirty years on earth," I thought as I shooed my three beautiful children away, "Not now, sweethearts, mommy's having an existential crisis."
Now, with a tiny, itty-bitty, minuscule, microscopic dot of distance between myself and my 30th birthday, I'm finally coming to grips with my age.
You know, it's not even the actual age that gets me. It's those puzzling moments when some youngster rudely asks my age and I find myself scrambling to reconcile the age my brain reflexively told me I am with my actual age, which sends me spiraling into another existential crisis and then my decrepit brain cries out, "I'm so old, I don't even know how old I am! What do I want out of life? Why am I even here? What happens to me when I die?!"
Of course, just when I thought I had my crises under control, the Internet goes wild with Gen Z calling out Millennials for our skinny jeans and side parts. Not cool, Internet. I'm older than you, you know.
Well, I couldn't just let it go. No, really. I tried, but we Millennials spent the better years of our lives watching Full House. We have to talk out our disagreements with meaningful saxophone music softly playing in the background.
So, I wrote them a letter:
Dear sweet, naiive Gen Z,
It really hurt our feelings when you made us feel old. We aren't old. We just look old and stressed because Boomers blame us for everything (Who do they think raised us? They did! Boomers gave us those participation trophies and told us we were special. And we are so special.) We wear skinny jeans and part our hair to the side because your grandparents wore bell bottoms and parted their hair down the middle. We had to pave our own way. I admit, the nineties were rough, but side parts and jeans that aren't a fire hazard were the jewels of our generation's fashion trends and now you're making fun of them while wearing our mom's high-waisted acid wash jeans and fanny packs. If we're so dorky, why don't you take our scrunchies off your wrists?
It's a good thing I practiced layering skirts on top of jeans and short-sleeved shirts under spaghetti strap tops in the 2000s, cuz I'm gonna have to hide all this hurt and eye cream somewhere.
Gen Z should be careful who they pick a fight with. We know Tae Bo and you can’t hide from a generation born before Google Maps.
*Just to be clear, I am in no way encouraging Millennials to incite a Tae Bo street riot against Gen Z. Can’t we all just get along? 😭