“I can’t go out tonight. I am sorry… I know. I am such a grandma,” she says with a sigh. Setting down the phone, the 20-something puts the hot water on and then turns the volume on her laptop up a little louder.
Female millennials have discovered that it’s trending to be a grandma. The desire to go out for a night on the town dwindles as these women sink deeper into the blankets. Though laughing off sluggish tendencies as being geriatric is the next trending stereotypes, this disrespects the generation known for having spunk and energy during some of the world’s darkest times.
Pinterest feeds abound with photographs of effortlessly cozy young women, clad in soft looking pajama bottoms, fluffy socks, and oversized sweaters. They clasp painted mugs of steaming tea in simply manicured hands. Gazing introspectively out the window, they sit with their feet tucked up in a loose-knit afghan.
Young ladies of 2017 readily accept this cozy culture; when asked to go out for a good time, they already sense the warmth leaving their cup of Earl Gray. In an attempt to justify their sluggish tendency to remain in the glow of the candles burning on the coffee table, they call themselves “grandmas” and stay in.
In 2014, “The New Yorker” published an article called, “Grandmas Rise up Against Millennials’ ‘Grandma’ Life Style.” Author Cathy Lewis features here the opinions of actual grandmothers: the original generation. These women do more than raise a dainty eyebrow at this comparison of lifestyles.
Many elderly people, according to the article, claim they live dynamic lives, occupied with daily activity. They insist that what young people today refer to as “the grandma-lifestyle” is, in fact, a mockery of their vivacious reality.
On a winter day in the early 2000s, an 80-year-old woman from my church tobogganed down our neighborhood sledding hill. On her belly. My short and sassy grandmother bales hay with 20-year-old men. To associate these women’s existence with a merely vegetative lifestyle only exposes our ignorance.
Perhaps the women in the New Yorker article see only the negative side of this movement, however. Possibly, young women today choose to imitate the behavior of this older generation whom they admire for living life with so much spunk and pizazz and who can choose to stay a night in with honor. The younger ones aspire to mirror the attitude of those women who will kick your ass into shape in their orthopedic shoes only after they finish their tea.
The danger with any stereotype is the variety within the genre. Pinning laziness on grandmas might not be entirely fair because many of those women are not lazy. Associating the lifestyle of women who lived through The Great Depression and World War II with that of a lazy young adult is neither fair nor accurate. Numerous older women have the energy to to wreak havoc on the road or storm the halls of the nursing home, sneaking seasoning into their bland vegetables.
Recognizing the beauty and grace in the taste of women who have lived for many, many more years than we have-learning from the example of women who earned the right to put their feet up, we should follow in their footsteps.
Perchance the tea at Trader Joe’s goes on sale, and the British Baking Show appears on Netflix. Maybe we enjoy the background of talk radio as we water the succulents and cook our turkey bacon. Maybe we like to write mail in cursive and wave at the postman. Before we roll all of this into one stereotype and slap the “grandma-label” on it, maybe we can think about our willingness to buy into trends.
The next time somebody compliments the flowers in the vase on the kitchen table or the color of the rug against the tiles in the kitchen, pause and say, “Thank you. I was inspired by my grandma.”