Generational Differences

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Earlobe spacer 1It is often so hard for distant generations to understand and accept each other and to even communicate.  Differences are greater as the years between generations increase. Behavioral and linguistic disparities between parents and children are hard enough, but it becomes more extreme between age spans separating grandparents and grandchildren or great grandchildren.  This, of course, can be extrapolated to anyone, not just family members.  However, if we are going to live together and benefit from each other, we must adapt and cope, as hard and confusing as it may be.

A few weeks ago, I had a young workman approximately age twenty fixing some damage to my wall.  He arrived with tools in his hands which were attached to fully tattooed arms.  This contrasted sharply with my tattooless ones.  In his earlobes were hole stretch earrings (also called gauges as Google informed me) which expanded those lobe holes to about a three quarter inch diameter.  My own lobe holes are pinhead width, my norm for voluntary body mutilations.

Click on this link for a how-to primer on ear lobe stretching for those so inclined:  As you can see, it’s not an easy thing to become a practitioner.  If you are still determined to stretch your lobes, here are Amazon’s offers of do-it-yourself kits:

Despite our stylistic differences, the young workman was a sweetheart.  He set to his task with diligence.  About an hour later, YW appeared at my office door and announced that he was finished.

“I’m sorry it took me so long,” he said.  “I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short, so I had to do it again.”


“I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short.  The reason I didn’t finish earlier is because I had to do it over.”

Yes, I had heard him correctly.  A brain fart.

I swallowed and just responded, “Oh.”

He had used that compound noun twice in his explanation with no sign of jest, sarcasm, or a goal to shock.  It was simply part of his natural speech, and he never even thought that it might be offensive to someone else.

Stretched ear lobes

I was not exactly offended—more surprised and amazed.  In my lifetime, I’ve experienced confusion, distraction, misunderstanding, mistakes, but never a brain fart.  Or, maybe I had but just didn’t know it. “A word is a word is a word,” as I’ve heard it said.

We should be grateful if the younger generation beings in our lives are loving, giving, goal oriented, etc.  Mild rebellions such as tattoos, shaved heads, trendy words and phrases, bodily piercings of various types, rainbow colored hair, etc. are tolerable and non-destructive—so much better than drug experimentation, criminal acts and the like which some use to rebel.  So, get in sync with the young people in your life; go ahead and stretch your earlobes.


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Bottom Photo: Photo credit: Rod Waddington via / CC BY-SA


1 Comment

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

One response to “Generational Differences

  1. Roger Trammell

    I’m not into tattoos or body piercings, LGG. The way I see it, my long scars on my knee, hip, shoulder, and back from numerous surgeries are body art enough. In terms of the generational divide, I’ve found that people tend to have more in common with their grand kids than their own kids. I think that it seems to skip a generation. All-in-all, I think it’s better if we don’t judge people by superficial things and look for the person underneath. Thanks for a thought-provoking blog.

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