Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Because generation labeling is bullshit.

Entire decades worth of births don’t lead lives in the same direction, or even pattern. Generation labeling is less akin to science and more to horoscopes. We combine common human truths with a speck of anecdotal evidence and a strong dose of confirmation bias, all designed to feed our inner narcissus.

The problem is human psychology is a science that is just on the border of being an art, occasionally knocking on its door for ideas. This makes it ripe for pseudoscientific maneuvering. People segment data in ways that lean toward their pre-existing ideas.

Having been in marketing for a couple of decades, never is this more clear than when I remember how the older generation talked about “Generation X’ers.” Entitled. Poorly raised. Over-indulged on media. Lost in games and fantasy, with no sense of purpose. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It sounds like any older generation talking about a younger one.

As we age, many of us humans look at our youth with a soup of conflicting emotions. Empathy and apathy. Jealousy and superiority. We want to nurture them but we also want them to conform to our primal, survival-of-the-fittest concept of humanity. We want them to be better and smarter than us but we don’t want our hard-earned wisdom to be undervalued. Every generation has this, it’s called being human.

We are not gods. We are creatures subject to the unceasing weathering of time, and the joke played on us is that, unlike lower animals, we’re aware of it. This wreaks havoc on our still-animal brains, and we struggle to bring order to it.

We see patterns in clouds. We see shapes in stars. We think celebrities die in threes.

And we label our youth.