written by lily johnson, photographed by jalin cerillo
The phrase “I was born in the wrong generation” is commonly heard among people today. many wish they had grown up in decades past when times were simpler and their daily lives less influenced by technology. A UK survey by The Sun magazine found that 2,000 adults said children wish they had grown up in the same era as their parents and 15% would prefer to grow up in today’s world. surprisingly, the gen z group, born between 1997 and 2009, longs to see favorite classic bands of yesteryear, like the ramones or the beatles, perform live, or dreams of dressing up in polo shirts or poodle skirts to meet friends for milkshakes in the neighborhood restaurant, things from times gone by.
Reading: I was born in the wrong generation
The story is seen as a highlight reel that enhances the life of that time. today, generation z has taken elements such as fashion, technology or music from various moments in history and has used them to create a new version of pop culture for today’s audience. gen z seeks to live in a simpler time with less responsibility in order to maintain a clean image both on social media and in person.
Is this nostalgia for the past unique to Gen Z or do other generations feel the same way? This question was posed to a wide age-range of people and the answer was perhaps not a surprise. There is a definite sense of nostalgia for the past.
patricia wilkins, 77, who grew up in the era of hard rock with a generation enveloped in self-discovery, said “yeah! I grew up in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and I loved rock and roll, elvis and american bandstand.”
even though gen z trends tend to emphasize the 80’s and 90’s, there is still a love for the 50’s fashion trends and how people would go out and do various fun activities with their friends. it was a different kind of culture; Even in the 1980s, children would spontaneously go to a shopping center or park for the day.
perhaps generation z is seeing the past through rose-colored glasses. when they reminisce about the past, it is common for them to only focus on music, trends, and movies, but not on social, racial, or women’s rights issues.
“yeah, I think I was born in the right decade. I appreciate what I have as a woman in the modern age,” said millennial elise johnson. “Although many of us still feel that improvements are needed, we have come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century.”
trends in fashion and technology
Trends come and go, but recently mom jeans, band tees and hair scrunchies have made a comeback in popular gen z stores like urban outfitters. teenagers today even shop at thrift stores for vintage clothing.
“It’s all about aesthetics,” said Gen Z’s Tori Schnibbe. “People want to feel like they’re living in a simpler time when people went out and did things instead of relaxing at home.”
No matter what fashion trend is popular on social media, it’s guaranteed to make a comeback in a few years.
“i wish the 80s preppy look would come back. i loved the argyle sweaters, polo shirts and white sneakers,” said kelly jean of gen x.
It is not just fashion that’s influencing the teens today; it is also technology. Now more than ever people are forced to look at our screens for everything, school, work and leisure time. Everything is computerized. There are few things that people do not use technology for. Although technology has greatly advanced over the past few decades, there is still a longing for simplicity.
“I’m a little surprised that people are moving away from digital and downloading music and going back to vinyl,” Johnson said. “I myself went to thrift stores and bought some.”
Turntables have gained popularity especially in the last ten years among people who collect them for playing or as aesthetic decoration for their rooms.
People have also been looking for typewriters. there are even organized meetup groups that will get together to write poetry on their typewriters, like the typewriter poetry group or informational support from sites like the typewriter revolution.
“they are not the most efficient because if you make a mistake you have to rewrite the whole document”, explains jean. “But it is good to see that there is a following of people who appreciate the machinery of it. I miss the sound, the noise it makes when you write, the ringing. there’s nothing like it.”
With unlimited access to entertainment at all times, Gen Z appreciates the chance to unplug from time to time.
skills that have been lost in the new generations
all interviewees agreed that cell phones have caused new generations to have weak interpersonal communication skills.
“people have lost the ability to communicate with each other,” jean said. “Cell phones are a big reason for that. people prefer to send a text message than to talk on the phone. They don’t want to look at each other. It’s sad.”
“What is missing from today’s generation is eating dinner together every night as a family, being respectful of adults and authority, and being responsible for their actions,” Wilkins mentioned.
why do you think that generation z has been recovering trends from past decades?
“for them it is something old, something unique and different. there is a novelty in it,” said jean.
Newer generations can read old books, wear old-fashioned clothes, and watch old movies to feel different and escape the pressures of social media.
“I think they have become so obsessed with representing simpler times through the nostalgia of being a child where you were allowed to be carefree, debt free, job free and everything that comes from being an adult” , said. johnson.
Would zoomers really switch generations if given the chance or are they just romanticizing a bygone era? we may never know, but it’s safe to say that people of all generations seem comfortable with the simplicity of the past.