In No Corvette for Me, we talked about how to tell if you’re headed towards a midlife crisis. To continue the conversation today we will focus on COVID’s role in all of this and how it’s actually invited Gen Z to the midlife crisis party. I mean, if that’s what you wanna call it!
A midlife crisis usually starts in your late 30s to mid-40s. That’s the typical range. Super interesting to me because I was reading this article by a 20-something named Julie Austin. She feels like COVID is making them go through an early midlife crisis. At first when I read it, I was like,
“Girl! You’re in your 20s! Go back to doing whatever you were doing.”
In my mind, 20-somethings have not taken COVID as seriously and maybe that’s because the media I’m watching. You see these parties. You see they’re going out. I live in downtown Chicago and when bars were open, even though it was very restricted, you look inside, and it was all 20-somethings. It makes sense because when you’re in your 20s, you feel invincible and nothing’s ever gonna happen to you. So of course they’re going to be out and about because they’re not worried of dying like the rest of us.
When I saw this article, it shocked and intrigued me, so of course I had to look into it. I know in a couple of these episodes I’ve made fun of Gen Z and I’ll continue to make fun of them. But I will say, I have this love-hate relationship with Gen Z which I imagine almost every generation has for the generation after. Right? We love to judge the generation under us but with Gen Z, I have this mixture because I come in contact with a lot of them through work or being in a big city.
I love how they’re super passionate. They’re really resourceful. They make things happen for themselves. They’re creative on how to make money. When I was growing up, you had a very clear path that you followed. You went to school, then college, then you got your first job and worked hard to move up. That was what I considered the American dream. For them, they’re really living their life. Asking for what they want and demanding change from older generations and our country. I love all of that! This younger generation is going to move us forward. They seem to be more open-minded than the rest of us have been in the past and that’s good for us!
There’s a lot of good things coming out of Gen Z but in saying that, you also think they just don’t know what they’re talking about and think,
“Maybe it’s time you let the adults handle this one.”
There’s sometimes a little bit of that which is super condescending and annoying, I understand. I’m just being honest. I’m doing this podcast as part of my midlife crisis. I’m an almost 40-year-old woman and when I see this 20-something year old saying that she might be going through one, I had to see what she meant.
I will say, some of it was a little funny and made me wonder why it mattered to her. Maybe it was just harder for me to relate. For example, one was around how dating is going to change. It’s so fun to meet strangers and bed hop and go on random dates and crowded bars which COVID makes all more dangerous than ever.
I don’t know, for me bed hopping was always terrifying because I was scared I would get something that I couldn’t undo. Right? And then for the rest of my life I would have to tell every person that I have something they could get. That was always my biggest fear. Now, you could get syphilis, but also COVID-19 so yeah, I could see how that would be scary. It’s been a while since I was on the dating scene, over 9 years, but I guess I could see what she’s saying although I don’t think it would be my top priority of things I was worried about it at this time.
Another point she made was how there’s a new fixation that life can be taken in an instant. This made me think maybe COVID took away that feeling of invincibility earlier for 20-somethings. Right? At first the stories they were seeing were only older people getting COVID so maybe they thought it wasn’t something they had to worry about except to not give it to an older person. But then they started seeing more and more news stories and seeing it could have long term impacts even for young, healthy people. So that sense of mortality, which is a huge indicator of starting a midlife crisis, actually is starting earlier because of COVID. I didn’t think about that, but pretty crazy.
The next point she made maybe annoys me, not sure. You decide. She feels like she’s losing her chance at showing off her youth. She doesn’t have as many opportunities to do her hair and makeup, wear clothes that show off her body and misses doing that. I think that’s interesting, I don’t know. I’d love to know what you think but for me, I’m kind of like,
“Girl, shut up! Oh, you’re sad you can’t walk around in skimpy clothes?”
I feel like that doesn’t matter because I see you all over TikTok pretty much stripping and doing challenges where you’re constantly twerking. If anything, you’re really maximizing the reach of showing off your scantily-clad body on social media. Maybe she’s not on TikTok but maybe she’s figured it out by now to help her feel better. But while she’s not showing it off, it helps me not feel as bad about where I’m at. Good for me.
I was shocked at the next concern as she explained she didn’t always understand emerging industries as people are living and spending money differently. They feel like things are changing so quickly and it makes them feel out of touch or not totally up to speed. She can relate to how her parents must have felt at some point, which is kind of crazy because I always think about Gen Z as that generation that grew up with an iPhone in their hand. I grew up with a beeper when I was 14 and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. My little Motorola beeper. So, I kind of like the fact they feel behind sometimes, especially with technology.
It actually gives me comfort that it’s not just me.
I love that we can come together on that one for once. I definitely thought that I was always going to be the one that was behind.
She discusses that she’s watching herself look older every day. She’s not keeping up with the hair salons. Not wearing makeup. Sweatpants make her look older than she is. I hear you girl and agree with you on this. As we don’t put on as much makeup everyday and don’t wear an underwire bra every day, I definitely start noticing the impact of that. Or at least appreciating the normal routine and how good it helps make you look. So yeah, we’re on the same page there.
One that made me laugh was she feels like she has the sex life of a 65-year-old. Most of the time she’s too tired and wants to watch the news instead of having sex. Listen, I’m not going to judge 65-year-olds. I feel like they’re having a hard enough time when we’re talking about COVID. I’m gonna let them off the hook on this one, but I’ll tell you what, if you’re retired at 65 I would imagine your sex life isn’t that boring. I mean, what else do you have to do? You have retired from work and are probably drinking more. You’re on permanent vacation and vacation usually leads to a lot of sex. Maybe she’s right that she feels older than she should on her COVID sex life, but I would say I don’t think it’s an age thing.
I think it has more to do with life stage. Maybe she feels like she has the sex life of a stay-at-home mom of four children. I think that’s probably more accurate. I would imagine a mom of four kids running around with puke on them all day doesn’t feel sexy or want to have sex. She’d probably rather have a glass of wine and a bubble bath without the kids for an hour. She’s probably thinking,
“The sexiest thing you could do for me is to leave me the hell alone.”
She believes laziness is taking over. Life is short so why not have fun? To this I say, “Please no Gen Z!” Please don’t do that because I’m really looking at them to turn our world around. They can’t lose their motivation. We really need them to stick with it. Like the Parkland students – I mean they are so motivated, making change and making waves in society. They can’t get lazy. We need them. We’re giving them a lot to deal with but we’re hoping they’re going to turn it around for us. It’s like in a movie when they wake up and the world has gone to shit and they’re the only ones that can save us.
The last point she makes is she’s been buying weird shit to overcompensate like a mini trampoline. That sounds awesome; I don’t know where the hell I’d put a miniature trampoline though. She also says she’s been buying niche books. No idea what that means but basically, she’s trying to buy herself happiness. I guess that helps the economy and I think we all can really relate. What did you buy during quarantine just to help lift your spirits? For me, I know I probably mentioned in every episode because I’m one of the cult members, but for me it was definitely my Peloton bike. The other one is when my fiancé Christian bought me a Bird scooter. If you’re not familiar with that, they’re little electric scooters that are foldable so you can pick it up and carry it. In Chicago there’s some neighborhoods, not everywhere yet, but in some neighborhood that you can rent them almost like a like one of those divvy bikes. In Old Town they have them and in the summer we rented them a couple of times because we weren’t comfortable taking Ubers.
It was so much fun riding down the street in a sun dress, wind blowing in my hair. It was just amazing, and I had so much fun riding it that Christian bought it for me for Christmas saying,
“It’s been a tough year and the last time I really saw you just so happy was riding a Bird.”
He was right. It’s been cold as hell out, so I haven’t really been able to use it, but there was one or two days it was 40 degrees, and I rode it. I’ve been living downtown for about 13 years now and I’ve never owned a scooter but now I kind of wish I had. Those are probably my two big ones: Peloton and a Bird (which I guess technically I acquired). I would love to hear what yours are!
So that’s it for today. I hope you got the feeling of comfort like I did that as we are headed into our midlife crisis, we can relate to a 20-something year old. Who would have thunk it? Maybe we can go through this together? So maybe next time you see a 20-something, go ahead and give a little head nod or a wink. Actually, don’t do that, that might be creepy. But understand we can relate to each other and maybe help each other out.