Identity

What the Hell Is a ‘Geriatric Millennial’ and How To Find Out if You're One

A new micro-gen term just dropped but many of those categorised in it are pissed.
May 19, 2021, 9:17am
geriatric millennial
Photo: Getty Images

Millennials, by now, should be used to being made fun of. 

While the generation above (OK, boomer) labelled them as avocado-loving, latte-swilling spendthrifts, the generation below has been roasting them for their hair side parts, skinny jeans, and excessive usage of the laughing emoji. Some of the basic millennials have even been called “cheugy” by these children who seem to be getting very specific with their insults.

Now though, the older millennials born in the early 1980s have been triggered all over again, thanks to a new term defining this micro generation: “geriatric millennials”. 

The term gained popularity online from a Medium piece by author and teamwork expert Erica Dhawan. Here, she argued that geriatric millennials are the best to lead hybrid workforces, thanks to their expertise in both digital and analog communication. 

While Dhawan — a geriatric millennial herself — only wrote positively about those born between 1980 and 1985, the internet wasn’t quite pleased with being equated with a word full of medical and elderly connotations.

Famous geriatric millennials include Beyoncé (born in 1981), Seth Rogen (1982) and Mark Zuckerberg (1984). Previously, this generation was also known as the “Cuspers” or “Xennials” because of their age proximity to Gen X. 

“Geriatric millennials can read the subtext of an SMS just as well as they can pick up on a client’s hesitation in their facial expressions during an in-person meeting,” Dhawan wrote in her piece. “They are neither ignorant of technology nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear.” 

Dhawan also referred to the generation as “weathered internet veterans”, who’ve survived DailyBooth, Friendster, Myspace, and are “incredibly competent” at the thought of creating a TikTok or a Clubhouse panel discussion. 

But while Dhawan put out a largely positive piece lauding the early 80s kids, some of whom have just chuckled along, some others have been offended by the “ageist” terminology too.

“I reject and denounce the term geriatric millennial,” Meena Harris, an author and niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted. She then added: “Unless it comes with a discount code.”

After the article went viral, Medium conducted a poll on Twitter asking users to vote for an alternative term. “Original Millennial™” got the most votes followed by “Seasoned Millennials”, “Millennial Emeritus”, and “Preeminent Millennials”.

As someone categorised as Gen Z myself, it’s mildly funny to see some millennials lose their shit over this. I want to remind them that generations are fake and created for marketing purposes. 

But I also do feel like reminding them that they are kind of getting old, and it would be in their best interests to just accept that. Sure, the term is harsh and even real geriatrics don’t like to be called geriatric, but overall, the outrage at the term seems just as funny and pointless as the intergenerational wars. 

But who am I to talk? In 15 years, I’ll be geriatric too.

Follow Jaishree on Twitter and Instagram.