Dear Gen Z:
While Boomers and Millennials are busy screaming at each other, let’s have a chat. You’ll be taking over all this mess called “America” someday, and there are some things you should know:
Gen X sees you, and it’s not just because we’re probably your parents. We hear your concerns, and you should know we share them. Politically, Gen X is at a disadvantage right now. Our generation is smaller than the generation ahead of us — the Boomers — so even though we’re starting to move into positions of power, we’re still outnumbered. (Please know that I am not picking on Boomers. But I think it’s safe to say that, in general, Boomers and Gen X have differing values.) Somehow, my generation can successfully produce all kinds of totally awesome superhero reboot movies, but we don’t have the power to create real political change in our country. Hopefully, when you’re getting to be the age we are now, we’ll be able to lend our votes to help you out, unless our retirement homes have been washed into the ocean because of climate change.
We hate that you have to do active shooter drills in your classrooms. Hate it. This is a huge failure on the part of American adults, and if we continue to fail you on gun control and public safety, please know our votes will join yours as you age into voting.
We’re sorry we haven’t worked hard enough to fix this country’s environmental problems. Please know we will continue to work with you and support you in this effort. Maybe together we can still tackle climate change before it’s too late.
Please let us know when we mis-gender you. It’s not that we’re not down with your fluidity, it’s just that to us, you all look non-binary. Seriously. All of you. All that registers in our brains “young.”
We are trying to learn your pronouns. Really. Please be patient with us when we mess up. Our brains are slowing down a little as we get older, and we need time to retrain them. We’ve spent 40+ years only using he and she. Give us time.
We agree you shouldn’t have to go into lifelong debt to get an education. We don’t think you should have to work until you drop dead. We think your kids deserve the same sorts of opportunities we had, and it breaks our hearts to know many of you won’t be able to afford college. Having said that, we support you in your quest to find real fulfillment at work, instead of the depression cubicles we chose. That might mean going to a trade school and learning to work with your hands. Our generation often looked too far to the future, thinking an honest day’s work that ended with dirty nails wasn’t as important a job as sitting in front of a computer. We were wrong. And now there aren’t enough people out there who know how to build and fix and create with their hands. So if that appeals to you, you go for it. The world needs more plumbers and artists and fewer marketers and lawyers.
Anyway, we love you. Go play Fortnite.
Much love and respect,
P.S. Please put us in a decent assisted living facility someday. Preferably one with an 80s dance floor and a bar.