Friday, January 21, 2011

Talkin' 'bout my generation

P and I usually feel like we don't fit well into generational descriptions.  Perhaps that's because we bridge most classification schemes.  P is in the last years of Gen X, and no one can agree on where I fit in.  (Most precise classifications place me as the final year of Gen X, but some schemes put me as the oldest of Gen Y).  So we're generally lumped in with people who are either significantly older or significantly younger than us, and don't feel like we're clicking too well.

Which made me all the more excited when I saw this article from WSJ.com entitled "No McMansions for Millennials."  Generally when we drive past a new subdivision filled with McMansions, I turn to P and say, "Please let's not ever live there.  And he agrees, because he's learned that that's the easiest way to deal with me when I demand assurances about ridiculous, unrealistic hypotheticals.  All that is to say, I immediately clicked the link.

And for once, I felt like someone was describing us.  Apparently Gen Y is all about living in cities--okay, not us so much--but yes, we're totally willing to (and did) pay more for a location that will minimize our commuting time.  Apparently Gen Y'ers love to walk places.  7% walk to work. 

P and I mourn the days when it was easier for us to walk than drive.  I still bike to work in warmer weather (and when there's enough daylight).  A lot of my older colleagues look at me carrying my helmet, and (once they get over their shock) say, "I wish I lived close enough to bike to work!"  I never know how to politely respond to this comment, because I'm thinking to myself, "Well, why don't you, then?"

I also got a chuckled out of this line from the article: "Smaller rooms and fewer cavernous hallways to get everywhere, a bigger shower stall and skip the tub, he said."   P has been begging for months to tear out at least on of our bathtubs and put in a really nice walk-in shower.  I always say, "But what about resale?  Isn't a bathtub an aspirational item, if not a practical one?  Doesn't everyone dream of one day having enough time to soak in a tub?  And isn't home buying as much about aspiration as the daily realities of actual life?"

The article didn't put it in so many words, but it seems that Gen Y might be less about the dream, and more about adding a little elegance to everyday life.  So we never have time for a nice soak but we shower daily?  Have a nice shower, then.  How often do we have people over?  Right, and when we do, they're always friends who we don't need to impress.  Why would we spend money on a formal dining room and the furniture to fill it?  But a patio and a grill, yes!

Here's to adding a bit of class to daily life, and abandoning the dream!  After all, it just makes us feel guilty that we're not living up to it.  And we weren't the ones dreaming it anyway.

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