8 Things Totally Awesome Things 'Geriatric Millennial' Parents Do

The term "geriatric millennial" was used in a Medium story to describe people born in the early '80s. Here's how to know if you're a geriatric millennial parent—and why that's a good thing.

The definition of "millennial" is a moving target. To some, it's a label for avocado toast-loving 20-somethings. To others, like psychologist Jean Twenge, it's anyone who just happened to be born 1980–1994.

But those of us born in the early '80s specifically have been told we're part of a microgeneration referred to as Xennials (a portmaneau of Gen X and millennial) or the Oregon Trail Generation. We're the ones who grew up knowing what life was like before even dial-up internet let alone smart devices, and yet, we were early adopters of that technology. We're a bridge generation. But now, we're just really freaking old—"geriatric" even.

An image of a mom and her sons.
Getty Images.

Since a Medium piece written by author and teamwork expert Erica Dhawan went viral, people of all generations have been snickering about her use of the term "geriatric millennial." She argues that thanks to our expertise in both digital and analog communication, we're best suited to leading hybrid workforces. Unfortunately, the world can't help but equate the word "geriatric" with Medicare, and someone born in 1980 is still very much a fresh-faced newbie to their 40s, thank you very much.

Nonetheless, here are eight things that make you a "geriatric millennial" parent.

1. You're a genius with subtext—over text or in-person.

According to Dhawan, "Geriatric millennials can read the subtext of an SMS just as well as they can pick up on a client's hesitation in their facial expressions during an in-person meeting." In other words, you probably know full well what your tween is up to when sending a string of emojis, and you're also able to tell when they're attempting to pull one over you face-to-face.

2. You can actually answer the phone or listen to a voicemail (when necessary).

It might not be your favorite thing to do, but becauseIyou're so comfortable with technology and have good boundaries around it, having to tend to a voicemail left by your kid's doctor or school isn't going to "inspire fear" as it would for someone older or younger.

3. Getting comfy making TikToks was easy-peasy.

You've already been on Friendster, MySpace, signed up with Facebook when it was for college kids only, and used Instagram when it was just hipster-y, filtered photos, etc. So it's NBD to learn and hop onto whatever the next big social platform is—even if Gen Z thinks you're at the point that you can barely figure out how to use your hearing aid.

4. You can actually help your kid write a real letter to Santa, POTUS, or whoever.

Because we remember a time before emails and texts were de rigeur, we fully understand how to use the good old USPS and can easily help our children do the same.

5. You know what it's like to spend summers playing outside.

Our "analog" years were spent riding bikes, going to the recreation department's pool, playing a sport, or just listening to the same couple of CDs on a boombox. We know what life is like without device addiction and we're not afraid to remind our kids that they too can—and should—be enjoying the offline world.

6. You hate new math but were likely taught cursive.

You could be super frustrated by your kid's "new math" homework, but you'll also be able to teach them a thing or two that they might not be learning these days, like cursive. OK, maybe that isn't something they'll have to use every day, but experts say it can "lead to increased comprehension and participation."

7. You're equal parts "cynical" and "bubbly."

According to a Buzzfeed piece about our microgen, we "geriatric millennials" can feel as gloomy as Gen X and as upbeat as millennials, which sounds like the ultimate, pragmatic balance, right?

8. You never quite fit in—and that's a good thing.

You don't feel like you were 100% a grunge-loving, latchkey kid or a device-addicted, helicopter-parented kid. You're a super-unique member of a microgeneration who's apparently better equipped to step into leadership positions—like being a parent—than people born at any other time. And that should definitely give you a confidence boost, utterly ridiculous "geriatric" label be damned.

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