Why Generation Y has been given a special gift

While there are differing opinions on what age group Generation Y actually consists of, I’ve decided to go with those born in the later-1970s to early-1990s.

I was born in 1977 and feel like I am right on the cusp of that generation. Too young to be included in Generation X, too old to be anywhere near Generation Z, so I go with Generation Y.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, I want to take a minute to speak to Generation Y and explain how I think we’ve been given a very special gift.

We had an analog childhood with a digital adulthood.

We got a taste of both worlds and the transition came right as we transitioned from childhood into adulthood, making it rather seamless for us.

Think about it for a minute. Did you play outdoors all the time while growing up? Did your television have a few cable channels at most, and maybe you even distinctly remember getting cable for the first time? Did you have no way of getting ahold of someone unless you called them on a phone, the one that is now referred to as a landline? Remember when pagers came on the scene? I never had one but that was part of the beginning…

Does it feel like time is moving faster than it ever has before?

It sure does to me. We, as Generation Y, never had all these devices and social media platforms to continually check and update. Perhaps things moved a little slower because of it. And I wonder if because our days are now filled with so much “stuff” – endless channels of social media and entertainment to choose from and let’s not forget, those pesky smartphones attached to everyone’s hands – time is just passing us by as we document what we had for lunch that day and who is dating whom.

Technology has crept into our lives in so many ways, from automated services to wearable devices, and while I understand and appreciate the many benefits of it, I can’t help but wonder if the children of today are losing a part of their childhood because of it all?

I watch my young nephews interact with smartphones and tablets and video gaming consoles with deft ease and I wonder if they will ever appreciate a lack of technology. They were born into the technological boom. It’s all they know.

Unlike Generation Y.

We grew up without endless technology at our fingertips. Our analog upbringing practically forced us to use our imaginations in playtime and fortunately, our teenage years will not be remembered via Facebook and Instagram but rather Polaroids and reels of film. We played in the dirt rather than watching it in a video. And while I understand that I write in generalizations for purposes of this blog post, I also understand that there was something very special about growing up in a world where connection was more often made with other people than with a wireless router.

Bookstores are alive and well…

I was faced with a dilemma tonight. As a book reader for a film production company (and an avid reader on my own) I sometimes read up to two books a week. That’s a lot for my eyes and brain to handle, but I love it and would do this job even if I didn’t need the money, but when I was given an assignment and the book was in digital form but totaled over four hundred pages, I had to pause.

Could I really read a four hundred plus page book in digital form in three days?

No, I decided, I didn’t even want to try. My eyes hate it and so do my mind and body. So I went to a bookstore and bought a hard copy.

I love actual books. The feel of the pages, the way they fit in my hands, even the smell of them, and truth be told, I am not ready to go digital with them.

I was surprised to see that many others feel the same…

As I walked into a Barnes and Noble around 9pm this Thursday night, I found the place hopping. People were all around. A woman entered right as I did and a man was in line ahead of me to pay at the counter. Everywhere I looked, people were perusing the many different sections of the store. I was walking behind a young couple when I spotted this and then, I knew. It was a sign for me.

Hard copy books will not die.

As my cashier rang me up, I asked him how business was after remarking about Borders going bankrupt. He mentioned Borders hadn’t had an online store, just a deal with Amazon and I remembered that was the case and I never really liked it. I always wondered why they didn’t have their own retail online store… He thought that had something to do with their going out of business. Who knows, but regardless, it was nice to see the written page is alive and well.

And I learned tonight, I’m not alone in believing that some things just don’t have to be digital.