The world is always changing, but that doesn’t mean people change along with it. Keeping on with habits developed over time is a normal and natural cause of what we call “the generation gap.” Older people who grew up without particular technologies or ways of doing things don’t always jump on board with a new generation's mentality. Why should they? Just because something is new or more technologically advanced doesn’t make it better. Old, comfortable habits make life easier and sometimes are superior to new ideas. Looking closely at the habits of older people is a way to both laugh from them and learn from them. Some old habits are undeniably outdated, but others are pretty cool and might be worth a try.
Older people love their drip coffee makers and don't seem to mind the work of grinding the coffee beans and carefully placing the paper filter into the basket. They also don't mind the few minutes wait until the coffee is ready to drink, nor that they have to clean and rinse the basket and carafe later. Maybe there's a simple joy in having a hot pot on the counter because you can drink it at your leisure throughout the day. Still, most young people prefer a coffee shop stop or those single-portion cups — one and done!
Most young people grew up with the understanding that cigarette smoking is terrible for your health and can lead to deadly diseases like lung cancer. If they smoke at all, it's with a hookah or a vape, not a nasty “coffin nail” that creates social isolation. In most cases, older people formed their smoking habits a long time ago, back when it was cool and rebellious, and never quit. Some of them will never change their ways, even though the young people are right on this one.
Older people have finally realized that nobody faxes anymore, but they still prefer to print important documents on their handy inkjet printers. Concert tickets, boarding passes, prescriptions, receipts, and invitations are all game. Young people keep everything on their phones, fumbling around at the airport gate to find the right email for the scan code. Most youth don't see the point of printing on paper when there's a digital copy available, and it's all good until the wi-fi goes out.
Older people didn't grow up with GPS systems that can precisely guide you to any point on the planet, so they haven't quite given up on the timeworn tradition of giving directions. Young people have to just nod and smile politely as Uncle Pete or Grandma Claire instructs them what road to travel and where to turn, knowing all the while that they'll just type the address into Google maps as soon as they're in the car.
Long lashes make anyone's eyes stand out better, a fact that has created an entire industry of lash extensions, lash strips, magnetic lashes, and lash growth serum. Then there's mascara, the cheap and easy lash solution that many older people prefer. Young people like the newer ways better because mascara is clumpy and hard to remove. And although a tube of mascara might do in a pinch, it can't replace the full-on Kardashian style of feathery falsies.
A sad fact of life is that foot pain is one of the first signs of aging. Many older people have conditions like bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and general achiness that keeps them from doing things they love. Fortunately, some extra foam and support can help make shoes more comfortable and support weak arches. Young people shouldn't laugh when they see their parents slip therapeutic insoles into a chic pair of running shoes. Someday, they'll be the ones with bunions and spurs.
Today's fitness scene is about ripping it and crushing it, and HIIT classes are the rage. After all, study after scientific study shows that high-intensity exercise segmented with short periods of rest is the best way to strengthen your heart and your entire body. That's why gyms are filled with people flinging ropes, running on treadmills, and doing reps with the TRX. Meanwhile, older people love their aerobics classes, where they get to dance, skip, and stretch out. They seem like they're having fun, so maybe they're onto something?
Debit cards and electronic wallets are easy to use. Tap or swipe and go on your way! But some older people still like to pay for purchases with good old-fashioned checks, taking the time to write out the dollar amount by hand and signing with a flourish. Checks are often placed into graduation and birthday cards, but some of the young recipients aren't sure what to do with them. (Hint: Sign the back, take a picture, and make an electronic deposit.)
Communicating with friends and family while vacationing means taking photos and posting them to social media. This way, everyone knows where you are and what you're up to. But some older people make a habit of sending postcards while they travel, a habit that puzzles the youth. Sending postcards requires an address, a stamp, and the card itself. Not to mention a mailbox! Why bother when a phone can do the same thing? There must be something special about postcards… maybe it’s that they endure through time?
A handshake is a way to formally greet someone or informally agree to a deal. Older people are comfortable with handshakes, holding a high level of admiration for a firm grip that indicates a steadfast character. But the youth don't get it — handshakes can spread dangerous germs and some people are uncomfortable with physical contact with strangers. Maybe it's time for this tradition to wither away. Plenty of us would prefer to fist bump instead!