The Lowe Down: Generational Gap

By: Grace Lowe

On the way back from a trip I took over the summer to Washington DC with my grandparents, I was waiting in the back seat with my great grandmother and she started naming fast food lunch prospects she could see out the window. When she saw Hooters, she stopped and asked me what it was and said she’d never heard of it. Having spent the entire last two weeks with most of my social interaction being  with people over 60, I kept my headphones in because explaining the reason we couldn’t go to Hooters to my great grandmother seemed too exhausting.

Obviously there is a generational gap in political views and religious views and things of that nature, but until recently I hadn’t realized how vastly different millennials are from baby boomers. Not only do we differ in our opinions, the younger generation tending to be more liberal than the older, we use different language and have extremely different interests. Our basic understandings of the world are shaped differently.

I am fascinated by my grandparents and all they have accomplished. I love to listen to their stories, and while spending an extended amount of time with them over the summer, I realized how big of a difference there is between what we find captivating. On the way to DC we stopped in Virginia and spent a few days at one of my grandparents’ friend’s homes and I enjoyed lots of cake, casseroles, and breakfast foods as one expects at a grandparent’s home. What I did not expect was a huge excitement about what cemeteries we would be able to visit and how nice they looked in different lighting. This seemed morbid to me, but super interesting to all of my fellow travelers and I was taken aback. They are completely unaware of things I find commonplace. For example, my trip was documented on my social medias, and my grandparents were shocked the amount of people following our journey and how quickly so many people would view and respond to my posts.

I’ve noticed that there is a huge difference in each generation’s diction as well. I have an ongoing Twitter thread of things my grandparents say, and my grandad has informed me that he too wants a twitter because he thinks my word choice is just as odd as I find their sayings. Some of my favorites include, “I wouldn’t spit on him if his guts was on fire,” and on holding a baby- “Eh I didn’t hold him, I thought I’d wait until he knew me better.” In just normal conversation with people over 60 I have noticed that there is almost a communication block and lots of misunderstandings occur. Many of them don’t understand my constant meme references and usage of words like lit and heckin and their jargon is confusing to me.

We’re all living in the same world now and experiencing relatively the same things, but my elders have had so many experiences before I was even imagined that their way of thinking is insanely different from mine. I’ll be interested to see how this feels in reverse in my old age.