I'm looking at Gen-Z and see them just vibing in a crazy world - Laura Waddell
Today, my wee cousin Emma will marry her beau Lyndon.
I wish them all the happiness in the world, the adaptability to meet life’s challenges, and that essential spark of joy in one another to see them through. Although she’s only a few years younger than me, a gap that seems to shrink as we both age, it’s a strange feeling to see someone I played with as a toddler doing something so decidedly grown up, a commitment so firmly adult, as walking down the aisle. It’s a big thing to do. And so it makes me feel, as the big cousin, as old as the hills.Before the pandemic I had far fewer grey hairs. Lockdown has been my dividing line between feeling remotely ‘with it’, when my life busily rolled along with some momentum and my late 20s weren’t that far behind me in the mirror, and how I feel now, which is more like the woman in Titanic who utters the line ‘It’s been 84 years.’
As I was deciding what to wear to this happy family occasion, the first event I’ve been to for quite some time where it seems to be expected guests will wear shoes - so far as I can tell from the venue’s ‘no stilettos on our wooden floors’ request - a new decision came into play. Whether to disguise the white, wiry strands that show up against my dark wavy hair, or embrace salt and pepper chic. I’ve seen women before me handle this moment in different ways, some forsaking dye forever to protest oppressive beauty standards, others who feel more like themselves after a touch up of the roots. I appreciate that in 2022, I feel relatively free to choose - not without some flickers of anxiety about showing signs of aging, and not without hyping myself up about how sophisticated the silver fox look can be - but pretty content to go either way, styling it however I feel in the moment.As an elderly Millenial of 35, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the difference between us and Gen Z, not least because their 1990s revival freaks me out a bit. Although handily, kitten heels in observance of the stiletto rule are readily available. On those two sunny, bright weekends we had in March, the parks were packed. When it’s taps aff weather, the Scots promenade.I notice Kelvingrove Park feels tamer than it once did. The police van still does its rounds, creeping back and forth at the bottom of ‘the big hill’, a favourite of protesters and sunbathers, the widest stretch of grass sloping down towards the duck pond. A CCTV pole now watches at all hours, in all weathers. But Gen Z drinks less, anyway, than previous generations. On the big hill, on the first sunny day of Spring, the atmosphere felt more chilled out and less manic than it did fifteen years ago. Fewer cans rolling about on the grass, fewer boomboxes dominating the soundscape (like the Limmy sketch). There’s something stiller about the air, even, other than barbecue smoke drifting in the distance, near the fountain. Gen Z-ers, who have come of age in an undeniably crazy world, are good at just vibing.