A Baby Boomer Crossing Over into A Millennial, iGen World and Loving It

 

I’m a  Baby Boomer (a person born between 1946-1964). I’m also a grandmother and after I visited my grandkids, I went shopping because that is what Boomers do. I live in a rural area so I decided to immerse myself in the big city life of Syracuse, NY.  I went to Barnes and Noble (my generation still loves to hold books in our hands), Trader Joe’s, Marshalls, and The Carousel Mall. Since I was 80 miles from home and it was  getting late, I decided to stay overnight in a motel.  I was headed to a  Best Western or Hampton Inn but I came upon something new.  It was sleek, modern and it was something called a Tru Hilton.  Probably too expensive, I thought, but  I decided to go in and find out.

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I was greeted by colorful outdoor furniture and positive sayings on the entrance door.

I soon found out that the average price for rooms at the Tru was in the $90 to $100 range.  I was sold plus this place was interesting. The lobby was one big room with the reservation desk and “market”, as they called it, in the center. The market was open 24 hours a day and served snacks, soda and single serve beer and wine. A sign in the elevator invited guests to come down to the lobby at any time for “work, eats, or laughs.” There was free high speed internet throughout the hotel and free coffee and tea  24/7. Near the elevator  was an interactive dry erase board where guests and staff could list  local tourist attractions, music venues, restaurants, and places to shop.  Guests were invited pick up a marker and comment about their favorites.

Someone in the Hilton organization had put a lot of thought into the design and feel of this hotel. I looked up Tru Hilton online and found that their focus was “Millennials, those in their twenties and early thirties who tend to like modern design, public spaces where they can work and socialize, and advanced technology such as mobile check-in”.

With the individualist spirit of this younger generation in mind, the furniture offered all sorts of seating styles; swinging basket chairs, places to accommodate groups, and individual secluded nooks with computer tables. A trendy bright mural on one of the walls paid tribute to the Syracuse area.

I entered my room and was surprised to see it wasn’t carpeted. There were no pictures on the wall and instead of drapes the window was cover with rolling blinds.   A space  with hangers, everything needed to iron, and a raised platform  for a suitcase offered an efficient substitute for a closet. Pegs on an opposite wall  provided an additional  place to hang things. To me, the sparseness of this room was not unpleasant. With all the stories in the news about bed bugs, germs, and longer flu seasons,  I found this new style of lodging comforting. This was a room that could be easily and thoroughly cleaned by the housekeeping staff.

 

The bathroom had plenty of shelf space and a walk in shower.  Shampoo, lotion, body wash, and condition were in ample supply in squeeze bottles attached to the wall.

The next morning I went down to the lobby for coffee and breakfast and checked out

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Because I’m a Baby Boomer, I needed to go to one more store, Pier I.  And since I love sociology, am a bit of a geek, and always have to know why things are the way they are, I drove to another Barnes and Noble a few miles down the road.  I was curious. The Hilton corporation had created a new hotel line to reach a younger generation. This made sense because Millennials are a very large demographic and”demographics are destiny”.  I wanted to know more.

I went over to the sociology section, took three books off the shelf, got yet another cup a coffee, found a comfy chair, and dug in.  I opened  iGen by Jean M. Twenge and  immediately learned that iGen (born between 1995-2012) were the generation after The Millennials  (1980-1994).

These two groups of young Americans were similar but  iGens  are more practical, career focused, and cautious. Bogged down by student loans, the ever changing job market, the threat of automation, and income insecurity, they are more logical than emotional about their choices.  They are nonconformist, less impressed by celebrities and fame, and would rather have experiences than things. Their money goes money for housing, food, education, and medical expenses.  If they do have extra money they spend it on travel, being with friends or a good meal in a nice restaurant.  Quality of life is more important to them than stuff.

The longer I live the more I see the consistency of charge. Younger people are and will change the trends and the world we live in.  But this Baby Boomer kind of likes some of the changes.  I crossed into a Millennium, iGen world at Tru Hilton, learned a lot, and left feeling good.  I’ll be going back.

 

A Menopausal Odyssey, Day 10

July 2, 2001

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I caught the ferry to Mackinac Island and spent the day in Mackinaw, a quaint place where no cars are allowed. The amatuer sociologist in me was quick to notice the three social classes evident in this resort town. An upper class used to Western style indulgence and conspicuous consumption.  A middle class which has made me a person who is kept out of  The Grand Hotel because I won’t  pay the $10 just to look around. And the third class, Jamaicans who are the chambermaids, waiters, waitresses, and cleaners of the island.  Middle class and the service class were able to come together when I returned to the mainland and was able to talk to the Jamaicans at The Family Dollar where we both shop.  I asked them where they were from and they told me they come back to the island every summer to find employment. I didn’t ask them what they made and silently hoped they weren’t being taken advantage of.

Am I a selfish person to have what I want when others have to struggle for what they need? Am I willing to give what I have to others? I think back to Joni Mitchell’s song, “Both Sides Now”.  I gain truth but I don’t know what to do with it.   Am I just a coward? Maybe life is easier when you have no choices.  Adversity pares life down to one issue, survival.

Survival of the fittest? I have read about Darwin. Survival of the fittest has nothing to do with dominance. It all has to do with adaptability, dealing with change, switching gears. I’m no longer a young woman. I have to find out what that means or maybe figure out how to better live my life as a mature person. I’m still playing by old rules and the rules have changed.

So many things to think about but I am learning things on this trip. I’m not so linked to the past as I have been on other trips and my present moments are huge. Maybe the future is no longer as big as it was when when I was younger but unknown possibilities are still out there. It’s kind of nice not knowing what is coming next.