Somewhere in Instagram earlier this year, someone started a meme poking fun at the derision baby boomers show millennials and captioned it, “Ok, Boomer.” This went viral, including a trip to the New Zealand Parliament when 25-year-old lawmaker Chloe Swarbrick used the phrase to shut down a heckler.1 But such language seems only to highlight generational differences, rather than celebrate common ground. It also oversimplifies the relationship between people, distilling their interconnections to a single variable: the generation to which they belong. More important, it implies that boomers are outdated or have nothing to offer younger generations.
As a millennial, I take exception to the eye-rolling. I have realized the importance of the lessons those boomer officers were trying to teach me. Some of the wisdom was readily apparent; some would take me years to fully appreciate. Consider the lessons below an ode to boomers by a grumpy millennial.
1. “‘OK, Boomer’: 25-year-old New Zealand MP Uses Viral Term in Parliament,” BBC News, 7 November 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50327034.