‘Okay, boomer’

By Laurel Stone

In this world filled with divisions of race, borders and politics, there is yet another gap that fuels much debate: generations. Many traditional Youngstown State University college students are either classified as millennials or Generation Z and likely suffer the criticisms of previous generations. We are often mocked by our predecessors for being technology obsessed, broke and destroyers of the economy.

Many times we are credited for the destruction of our economy for not conforming to previous societal standards. Fewer women are having children, we do not pay for historically common services, and young couples are marrying later and do not own homes. To those who critique us, know that many of the situations we find ourselves in are of your doing. 

Women are not having as many children because they have jobs. While it is great that sexist standards of women belonging in the kitchen are slowly being broken, many are forced to work to account for an inflated economy with barely-increasing minimum wage. No longer is a singular-income household a common occurrence with the elevated cost of living we now face. So, the next time you want to scream at your young barista for forgetting the extra cream in your coffee, remember that she is there to support herself and her dreams and does not live to serve you. 

How lovely would it be to have the luxury to afford a home of our own instead of working multiple jobs and barely making  monthly rent. Based on housing data from the U.S. Census, Millennials and Generation Z are paying 62% more for homes — even after factoring in inflation — than the baby boomers. 

We have been blamed for killing cable and print newspapers, preferring to subscribe to more-affordable streaming services and digital papers. Why would we allow our ever-decreasing number of trees to fall for a newspaper when we could access the same information online? And as much as I’d love to binge-watch the Hallmark Channel during the Christmas season, I don’t have spare money laying around to pay the average $80 monthly cable bill after paying for groceries, rent and student loans. 

To those who are tempted to critique us, take a step back and put yourself in our shoes, call forth your empathy. We are trying our absolute best with what we were given, from you. We have been handed a world of melting ice caps, dying polar bears and raging wildfires. We get treated like children yet get condemned when we do not act like adults. 

So many of these critiques of older generations are simply because we are refusing the unfair standards set before us in favor of what is best for us or are forced to do so because of the collapsing economy we were left with. Adaptation and progress are things to be commended, not condemned simply for being different. 

Before boomers say “back in my day,” they need to realize the past is past and this age is a whole new ball game. If you expect us to bear through your outdated “wisdom,” don’t be upset when you get hit with an “okay, boomer.”