Lazy Runner Viewpoint
Life can be tough for this BB (Baby Boomer) trying to contend with all the other generations in my life. I was only a third of the way through figuring out my two Gen Xs before they flew the coop, and now I’m trying to figure out what goes on in the heads of my two Gen Y’s.
I got a shock the other day when, what I thought was my youngest Gen Y announced that she is actually Gen Z and a ground breaking one at that, as she was born in 1995, when Gen Z commenced.
Which means I have given birth to three generations!! What was I thinking? The ever clever Gen Z told me if I get pregnant now I can have the new 2010 Gen Alpha baby, then I will have four generations….I asked her if Gen Alpha relates to alfalfa sprouts, because that’s what would be growing in my brain if I did something like that.
One thing I have noted with the younger generations is how fast and simple they make everything, especially their communications. I was listening to the principal of my girls school recently, at an assembly. She talked so glowingly about the Gen Z's, and how they are so bright and clever, and how they can do ten things at once, one of the brave fathers asked, ‘But if they are doing the 10 things at once, is any of those things getting done or getting done properly?’, the Principal said that doesn’t matter to them, they just enjoy taking it all on. If it doesn’t work they just take something else on, they don’t worry about the failure of keeping all the balls in the air, if some drop there are plenty more out there to pick up and juggle
And just to prove the principals point the other day my Gen Z, was in her room, on her bed. She had a big hunk of chocolate in one hand and my brand new ipad on her lap (those two things shouldn’t be in the same room let alone the same sentence), she had the TV on with a DVD playing, she had her mobile phone on the bed on speaker phone talking to a friend, she had the ipod touch on the bed on speaker belting out music, and just to add an olde world feel to the picture, she had a book opened beside her. I said to her ’What are you doing?’ her response was ‘What does it look like, my homework of course’!!!
Now it is very hard to not be impressed with the level of technical multi-skilling she has, because she is quite a sensible girl, she does really well at school, is involved in a lot of after school activity, works a part time job and has a big social network, so I can’t say she is slacking off…but like the typical BB that I am, I just don’t get how she does it…
However, the biggest hurdle I find between BB and Gen Z is the communication skills. To have a conversation with my Gen Z, I am going down three generations levels, and unfortunately my staying hip ended when the term ‘staying hip’ did in about 1970.
Gen Y and Z have simplified all communications to the point where they are uncommunicable! They abbreviate everything not just the written (or should I say txt) word but even when they talk, to this BB its like a foreign language.
For instance my gen Z has found just one phrase that covers every situation, emotion and thought that she could ever have, ‘Oh My God’ , commonly known as OMG. She has got the usage of this down to a fine art and basically it begins most sentences for her.
She uses OMG as a high pitched and excited when she’s happy to see her friends
She uses OMG sad and slow when something is tragic, like Dr Chris looking after a sick puppy on Bondi Vet
She uses OMG in shocked indignation, like when she gets off the phone from her boss who has dared to tell her she is working the next day
But the mother of the OMG and no I don’t mean the ‘black rapper mother’, is directed at the real mother, I mean me., when she is angry, shocked or even horrified by something I’ve said or asked her to do….remember back in the days of telegrams, well this OMG comes out like that..
It is very dramatic and often if I’m quick enough I nip it in the ‘ My..stop’ bud
So as you can see she has adapted the phrase to suit all purposes, it’s just the tone and delivery that change to suit the occasion….very clever I think
It is hard though for older generations to accept the OMG speak. I was brought up as a strict, practising Roman Catholic. I went to catholic school, was taught by nuns and attended church more than once a week. So if I uttered the OMG phrase, getting a clip over the ear hole was a treat, compared to the other impending punishment, burning in the fires of hell for eternity for breaking one of the 10 commandments….
I must admit, that although I very rarely blasphemed sometimes I pretended I did, because you just had to have something to go to confessions with once a month, and it was by far the best one. It was always a good sin to kick you off with. ‘Bless me father for I have sinned…I have taken the Lords name in vain...it always seemed to go down a treat with father, like a bit of an ice breaker really…of course then he would have to ask, ‘any other sins my child?’ and then I threw in the obligatory, I didn’t obey my mother and father, I was mean to my brother usually that was enough to get you a light penance...once I made the bad blunder of adding in 'I had bad thoughts', thinking that might fast track me to my penance, but he asked 'And what were those thoughts my child?', I certainly never made that mistake again!
So for me the OMG is a bit of an assault on the moral senses. I also feel the OMG has lost its shock value. When I was young my parents only uttered the phrase in absolutely dire, shocking circumstances…you know like… ‘OMG , Father Brown has left the priesthood because he has turned gay’ (my mother always says ‘turned’ gay, when she talks of these things), or ‘OMG I’m pregnant with my ninth child, how did that happen?’, ‘OMG have you seen the price of a pound of butter?’…you always knew that a bombshell was going to be dropped if a sentence started with OMG.
I’m at a loss to know how we got from the ‘OMG JFK has been shot’ to today’s ‘OMG I’m out of lip gloss’,
Even though I am a BB and find it hard to listen too, I must admit that over the past 15 years of raising my teenagers, I have become desensitised to all the blasphemies my kids come out with, but spare a thought for the generation above me. When poor mum come to stay with us from Victoria, and Gen Z was at the height of the OMGing. One morning Nana was sitting at the breakfast bar enjoying her cup of tea and her porridge when an almighty OMG came from the laundry, poor Nana , looked like someone had just blown the air raid siren, and was just about to grab her bag and head down to the basement, which obviously to her was going to double as an air raid shelter . I told her not to worry; probably Gen Z just can’t find matching socks in there or some other such catastrophe.
When Gen Z surfaced with the odd socks, Nana gave her a good talking to and said if she had ever spoken like that as a child she would have had her mouth washed out with soap and water…the response from Gen Z, you guessed it Oh..stop…my…stop…God….!!!
Where is this tip going you ask? Do these rambling have anything to do with running…well they do...only just…
It's hard to shake off a lifetime of beliefs, (or some may say brain washing) and I have tried to stick to my non blaspheming ways, and I don’t believe in the can’t beat them join them philosophy, so I was determined to not become one of the cool and trendy OMG gen.
However, there is one thing that I have noticed in running, it brings out the best in us and of course it brings out the worst. Over twenty years it has at times made me ecstatically happy, and at times reduced me to frustrated tears. It has shown me landscapes and horizons I never even dreamed of visiting let alone running on, and it has introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met.
The problem is that you never know when it is going to be good to you or bring you down…A run up to the top of Timberwah in Noosa last weekend really challenged me. Timberwah is 7 kms up hill, and we are talking serious up hill, the day was Saturday, the time 4pm, the weather hot. I took off quite well but halfway up knew that it was going to take all I had to get to the top. I could see the last hardest peak, and I was determined to do it, but by that stage, I was feeling a little sick and way overheated, up the last stone ramps and steps, still going up, but at the end was in sight. I got up the last step, dropped my hands to my knees, lowered my head, and said…
There were no other words for it, and to tell you the truth it made me feel so much better getting that out of me..…and on the upside I finally felt a connection to my Gen Z…yeah, yeah, yeah I know...off for another round of ‘Bless me father….