It might surprise you to learn that the term “generation gap” was only defined as recently as 1992. It’s a concept as old as time—the idea that, as VeryWell puts it, the “differences between generations... cause difference in opinions and communication.” For as long as there have been parents, there have also been children whose habits and perspective feel foreign. So, then, why have we only recently decided to label it as a gap?
The answer is that there’s more distance between generations than ever before. Because we’re living longer than ever, the senior population is larger than ever and is projected to grow a whopping 84% between 2010 and 2030.
At the same time, boomers are remaining in the workforce—and working alongside the massive contingent of millennial professionals—until well into their 60s and 70s. As Gen Z comes of age, we’ll see and unprecedented three generations working alongside one another—and sometimes struggling to communicate.
While it takes creativity and cooperation to form relationships across generational lines, the benefits are well worth the effort. And with these larger dynamics at play impacting our society for decades to come, it’s in all our best interests to open ourselves to the possibility of intergenerational relationships.