Who knew?

Author: admin

I don’t know who comes up with the names of various generations as the years pass. Never met anyone else who does, either.

But, we have “The Greatest Generation,” “Boomers,” “Millenials” “Gen Xers,” Gen Zers,” and so on. Every 30 years or so, we look back on a new group, a new name, move over and welcome them aboard. This process has been going on a long time. One bunch after the other. Normally, it’s a smooth transition. Normally.

Now, there seems to be a schism developing between Boomers and Millennials in some areas. Just a little distance, one from the other. And, it’s growing

Barb and I have some experience with generational differences. Living in a 55+ community in Arizona, we had more than 50 clubs. Just about everything you could name had at least one club. Auto repair, Olympic swimming, pickleball, several for those playing bridge (or any game), woodworking, quilting, fencing and on and on.

Some, like woodworking and auto repair, enjoyed large buildings with the very best equipment money could buy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars invested. Quilting clubs with large meeting places. Weavers and their looms. Photography. All costly. All first class!

Then, along came the Boomers. A new generation starting to retire. Lots and lots of Boomers who, we figured, would join the existing plethora of clubs and activities. “Something for everyone” we thought.

But, NO! Boomers, we learned, are “special.” If most wanted to join a club, it would be one they would create and occupy. The older folks, with clubs offering “something for everyone,” just “wouldn’t work for Boomers.”

So, there’s been a lot of duplication. Double a lot of everything. And, as older residents have died out or moved away, the existing clubs with beautiful existing facilities have begun to wither a bit. But, Boomers are thriving. At least for now.

So, we’re told, it seems, “Boomers are where the action is.” But, wait! Hold your horses! The Millennial generation has arrived. Those “kids” have reached retirement age. So, guess what. They don’t want to join the Boomers in anything. And, I mean anything!

Millennials, it seems, don’t want to do woodworking. They’ve got no use for face-to-face bridge playing. Or poker clubs. Or sewing groups. Or chess clubs. And, horror of horrors, they don’t play golf! Fact is, the city of Glendale, Arizona, closed one municipal course because of declining revenue. Built houses on it.

For Millenials, there’s no need to “waste” five or six hours at the links. No. They can play 18-holes on their iPads or smart phones and be done in less than 20-minutes.

Millennials can play bridge on their fancy gadgets. They can play chess around the world. Poker, too. Just about any activity you can name can be successfully played – or created – on their computer-oriented devices. No need for fancy club buildings. Or, auto repair equipment. No need for in-person bridge clubs or their bridge rooms.

Millennials, after all, are the first generation to grow up from birth with computers. Some were playing electronic games at about the same time they learned to walk. They went to computer equipped- schools, formed faceless groups of friends, preferred texting to calling, learned from the cradle to tap keys.

Now, guess what. Now, the Boomers are seeing their own duplicate groups and clubs beginning to thin out. Some Boomers are dying off. Some moving elsewhere. Boomers, it seems, are beginning to be the “older” generation in the retirement villages.

So, what’s going to happen to all those clubs? All those buildings filled with state-of-the-art expensive equipment? And, most of all, what’s going to happen to all those golf courses that have lured retirees to Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California and other warm climes for – careful now – for generations?

Maybe – just maybe – we’ve reached a generational turning point. Those of us who had to learn about computers in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are disappearing. We’re being replaced by “youngsters”at the same ages who are “computerized.” From birth!

What lies ahead for hundreds of 55+ retirement communities in several states will be very different. Nearly all were designed around golf courses. Nearly all have been run by thousands and thousands of volunteers.

But, Millennials aren’t golfers. And, as they’ve already proven, they don’t volunteer. Oh, they’ll write a check or two. They don’t mind paying for someone else to do the work. But, they won’t be the “heartbeat” of these communities that’s made them so successful. The volunteers and club-joiners who’ve been the driving forces.

Millennials, and the following generations, are going to retire later, they’ll be older and, as already exhibited. They’ll want someone else to do the many, many chores volunteers have traditionally done to make the Sun Cities of the world – and a lot of others – successful.

Boomers are starting to fade. Millennials, Gen-Xers, Gen Zers and more are coming. Whoever names the generations better sharpen that pencil – er – computer.

The times – they are a changin’. Again.

 

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