By Jennifer Duval, HOA Co-President
“Everyone hates a millennial, until it’s time to convert a pdf to a word document”@saramvalentine via Twitter/ HT Buzzfeed
The infamous tweet above made me chuckle the first time I saw it, and even though most humor is grounded in truth I challenge both parts of the post – I don’t dislike Millennials at all, and even though I’m of Generation X I DO know how to convert word files!
If you don’t quite have a grasp of who is who, here are the broad generational definitions (without getting into the stereotypes often associated with each – those can be patently unfair!):
- Baby Boomers or “Boomers” were born between 1946 and 1964. The term refers to the massive surge in the American birth rate immediately after World War II.
- Gen Xers were generally born between 1965 and 1980 (please don’t ask which year I was born… there’s a good chance I will lie about it). The name “Generation X” was coined from a couple of books about this group, who are sometimes also referred to as “latchkey kids” because theirs was the first group of children who had both parents likely working outside the home.
- Millennials or Generation Y were basically born between 1981 and 1996. “Millennial” refers to the fact that they came of age near the millennium.
The current crop of kids, born after 1997, is generally referred to as “Generation Z,” although according to my research, that name is considered a place holder until we can agree on some identify factors for that group.
During my time the as part of the Town Creek HOA the past few years, many of the we, ahem, older members have asked each other “How do we reach our younger neighbors in Town Creek? What can we do to get them more involved?” We unfortunately haven’t had much involvement in the HOA organization from people who fall into the “Millennial” group above.
Typically, we have family events and adult socials throughout the year that provide fun ways for Town Creek residents of ALL ages to meet their neighbors, but of course the pandemic has prevented those types of gatherings this year.
The upside, at least for me, is that it’s not just our neighborhood – two in three Millennials don’t feel like they belong to the communities in which they live, according to a study from the OnePoll and CNote organizations. More than half indicate they feel disconnected and estranged from their neighbors. And 43 percent report feeling more connected to their online communities than their real-world neighborhoods.
Why are our young adults widely expressing these feelings of isolation? The study reveals a few insights:
- They’re just too busy. Millennials are statistically twice as likely to say they don’t have enough time to get involved with their communities compared to non-Millennials (51 percent vs. 33 percent).
- One in five say they aren’t friends with anyone in their neighborhood.
- 27 percent say they aren’t sure how to make friends with their neighbors.
- Many are focused more on family life – they’re newlyweds, newly cohabitating, or new parents.
- They grew up with the internet and social media, which has shaped how they interact with people (34 percent of Millennials indicated online communities are “more convenient,” easier to access, and enhance their comfort levels).
But the good news is, at least according to this survey, Millennials widely report that they want to be more active locally… they recognize that being physically isolated can lead to feelings of loneliness and even depression (I think EVERY generation has felt that this year!).
So if you’re a Millennial, please feel free to join OUR Town Creek online communities – we have a private Facebook group and a neighborhood designation on Nextdoor. Or just email me! We can get together for craft beer or avocado toast! (Kidding! Feel free to hit me back with a Generation X joke about liking grunge music, not having kids, or watching MTV back when it only played music videos!)
And no matter what generation we belong to – we can ALL make the effort to introduce ourselves to neighbors we see in nearby yards, people we encounter while walking the creek, or arrange get-togethers with people we see in the online groups. Social events are already being planned post-pandemic (and if you haven’t seen the new plan for the holiday hayride next month, please check it out)! We hope you’ll attend and meet your neighbors IRL (that’s young person text-speak for “in real life!”). And feel free to email me about any interest in getting involved with Town Creek, its HOA, or its HOA board. All are welcome and encouraged – we have so much we can learn and enjoy from each other (and not just online)!