Did you have a nice weekend? I spent most of mine trying to push the words “geriatric millennial” firmly out of my brain. In case you missed it, a Medium article explaining the term went viral, categorizing anyone born between 1980 and 1985 as tech-smart, yet able to maintain a decent level of old-school professionalism when required. Shockingly, the internet did not care for author Erica Dhawan’s positive description of what it really means to be a geriatric millennial—even the well-mannered, digitally dextrous ones with the ability to use a telephone properly—and instead reacted with one collective emotion: disdain.
My colleagues’ reactions have spanned from “even ‘boomer’ sounds better than geriatric millennial,” to simply “fkn rude”—it’s safe to say our newly labelled group is triggered, taking specific issue with a word full of medical, elderly connotations. Does this reaction suggest we are actually anything other than a grumpy micro-generation on the wrong side of 35 emerging from a full year wearing slippers, complaining of backache? No. Are we concerned about rapidly depleting collagen levels and having to rely on tweakments from this point? Of course. But accepting “geriatric” now, after the endurance test that was 2020, and before many of us are yet to face turning 40? Get out of here.
Now considered an antiquated (how ironic) way to describe pregnancy over the age of 35, because not only is it insulting but in that particular instance, misogynistic too, we can all agree that “geriatric” has no place in modern vernacular. I would go as far as to say that even using it for those over 65—the point when, at least chronologically, the word is most appropriate—feels like an insult. It is a beyond unsuitable choice to describe the people underpinning a future hybrid workforce, the brave bridges connecting analogue and digital worlds, as the Medium article suggests. I understand that as humans we have an inexplicable need to label ourselves, seek out like-minded tribes, our “people,” but surely when it comes to using details of your birth to determine personality traits, horoscopes do the job perfectly well? Let those landing on the cusp of generational divides live.
Aside from feeling a sense of looming separation anxiety with our pandemic Birkenstocks, those that came of age around the new millennium have had a lot to contend with already this year. We were shook to see Kylie Jenner in jeans and a chainmail top. We smiled wearily at the side parting debate, knowing that the TikTok crowd will soon understand hairstyles should be dictated by one thing and one thing only: Your round, oval, square, or heart-shaped face, as all good noughties beauty articles taught us. We chose mom jeans over skinnies a long time ago, and while we understood the recent flash in the pan that was “cheugy” didn’t necessarily apply, what we did absorb felt a little close for comfort. Above all else, we are frankly giddy over the prospect of Bennifer being back on track.
Nostalgia, clearly, is another thing wise millennials will reign supreme at forevermore—just don’t call us geriatric in the process, k?
Originally Appeared on Vogue