Baby Boomers, Gen X, the Millennials and so on. Here in America, those terms denote age groupings, a way to define shared experiences. If someone says they’re a Baby Boomer, you know they were born sometime between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s. Included in all this are cultural references, societal mores and life stressors.
Stress can come in two broad varieties. Personal and collective. Examples of the former can include a troubled marriage, raising children or having a car accident. The latter might be about politics, religion or violence in the streets. Some of the personal ones we can control, the collective ones, usually, not so much.
The bigger problems can begin when that stress morphs into something like an anxiety disorder. The experts at the True Life Center For Wellbeing tell us that the diagnoses under this heading include:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Social Anxiety Disorder
The causes for these problems vary from generation to generation. During the Cold War, one of the overarching issues was the threat of a nuclear war with the USSR (which many people thought of as simply Russia, although that moniker wasn’t entirely accurate). School children had drills, reminiscent of fire drills, on where to go and what to do in the event of a warning being issued by the government.
For millennials, the worries come from different sources but are no less real. One of the dilemmas is the mixed-blessing we call social media. All the posts, tweets, hashtags, likes and follows, interconnect us like never before in human history. On the plus side, we can stay in touch with family and friends, virtually instantaneously, anywhere in the world. On the dark side, the constant presence of all those feeds can leave some people without a place of refuge. No longer can a child come in from outside and leave the bullies behind. Now, the bullies can spew the vitriol online, and dozens, even hundreds of others can pile on by simply hitting “like” to show they too agree with whatever is being said.
Each era has its own jokes and slang, many times revolving around the entertainment of the period. “Groovy” became “rad” which became “awesomesauce.” People who grew up in the 1980s know the correct answer to “who you gonna call?” is “Ghostbusters!” However, they may not know what a Pokemon is, or that you “gotta catch ‘em all.” A parent today might reminisce about being at Woodstock while giving their child a questioning look when they’re going on about Tay Tay (Taylor Swift).
It’s the Mores
While the sound similar, this isn’t about Dean Martin classic “That’s Amore.” Mores is a word that means culturally acceptable actions. Sometimes they change due to the actions of a person of note in the world. Before FDR became president, it was unheard of in “polite society” to crush the crackers in your hand into your soup. Nobody had the nerve to call him on it. Similarly, in the Victorian era, a woman would cause a scandal if her ankle was exposed in public. Today, we have become blase about extremely high hemlines.
Earth may continue in the same path around the sun year after year, century after century, never varying. Down here on the surface is a completely different story. How we dress, the words we use and the music we listen to constantly change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But, it sure does make life interesting!