Are you also being bombarded with memes and clips about the how different people from different generations act in certain circumstances? Some of these clips are hilarious because they hit the nail right on the head and are absolutely true.


I love how the Gen X people are described, seeing that I am one, and have often burst out laughing when they describe my obsession with Facebook, my insecurities and cynicism.


What I do not like is that these comedians hardly ever mention the older generations, as if they do not exist at all, yet we get to work with them on a daily basis. So, here is a very unscientific recap of where the different generations fit in:


The lost generation 1890 -1915 (Okay, I have none of them with me at the moment but I thought I would just “gooi” them in here so that it looks like I did my research thoroughly). Apparently they were known for patriotism, courage and masculinity. They were also known for drinking heavily, having affairs and showing signs of spectacular PTSD and other undiagnosed mental health issues. Their stories might have been colourful, but I’m not convinced caring for them or working for them would have blown my hair back.


The Interbellum Generation 1901 – 1913 This is a strange little generation that almost never gets mentioned as it straddles the lost and the silent generation, but it’s worth mentioning as they were rather lucky since they were of an age where they were too young to serve in the First World War and too old to serve in the Second. I’m not sure that I would call growing up in this period  “lucky”, but then again, no one asked my opinion and no one of that generation reads this blog anyway.


The Greatest Generation 1919 – 1924 – The name is derived from this group’s resilience as they survived the great depression and then went on to fight in the Second World War. It is not, as many believe, a stated fact, since the GenXers are obviously the greatest generation (and are really humble to boot). We have had a few of this generation stay with us, and I have no words for their tenacity and sheer will power. I also got the feeling that they really lived until they died. All the guests from this era who stayed with us were almost perfectly healthy and then died quickly. They had no dramatic exit or suffering, and those who did not pass away with us, got better and went home, strong as oxen.


The Silent Generation 1925 – 1945 – This is quite cool as these guys were known to work within the system and put their heads down and shut up, unlike the previous generation who had fought to change the system. A large number of members  of the Silent generation stay with us, but as I am typing this, one of these guys has forgotten that his nurse call button is NOT the Netflix remote and has pressed it a hundred times today. There is nothing silent about him! What is lovely is to see is how these people are incredibly respectful, looked after their money and saved, loved their families  in a traditional way, and more often than not, the nuclear family loves and supports their mom or dad with little drama. To me, it is proof that traditional family values still work despite all the alternatives out there. They were / are determined, ethical and resilient. I often mention Daphne, who despite all the odds against her keeps on living week after week. She also has her hair and nails done each week. That is more than what I get done!


On a side note, I am glad that these guys are usually guests and not people with whom I have to try to Zoom or video call, as I think it might be quicker to communicate via a written letter sent with the South African Post Office than to explain to a person in their 80’s that they need to get the laptop’s camera view out their nostril.


The baby boomers 1946 -1964 – This name is derived from the spike in birth rates after the second world war and has nothing to do with the actual behaviour of the people themselves. Very vanilla, just like many of them (I’m joking obviously as I am married to one). We deal with this generation a lot, both as guests and as loved ones of guests. They still like face-to-face meetings and feel no “skaam” in phoning you and actually speaking to you on the phone, 24/7! There are no boundaries when it comes to phone calls and they are known to just happily sit  down in my office without any hurry to leave. Dare to facetime them, or put them on Zoom, and they’ll act as if they have been asked to split the atom whilst being tortured with hot wax.


They are described as resourceful, goal-orientated and respectful, but sadly have little work/life balance. Their schedules are often frantic and they are known to be the first generation in which  family life was disintegrating. We see this with exhausted, guilt-ridden children visiting their ill parents late at night while keeping an eye on their phones. They are dying younger and getting much sicker much more quickly than the generations before them. I respect them very much,  especially as so many of them are the sandwich generation: taking care of ailing parents while their own adult children are not leaving the home.


Generation X (Baby bust) 1965 – 1979 – We are sadly coined as Generation X from a generational theory in the 90’s, a time when the x-symbol stood for an unknown variable or a desire not to be defined. So, either we were so incredible they could not find a suitable term, or they just could not be bothered to figure us out? Is that why most of us are insecure and in constant need of affirmation? We are known as the latch-key kids. Our moms wanted careers instead of raising us. We embrace change, are independent and adaptable, but it seems we are touchy, need affirmation and are rather interfering. Working with this age group as guests or patients is easier as they are less frail and not prone to confusion like the older generations. We are also knowledgeable and happy to question health care practitioners, where the other generations were happy to assume all doctors and dominees were gods. On the other hand, we are also keen to Google and waste doctors’ and dominees’ time by confusing the outcome of our internet search with their years of study.


Xennials 1975 – 1985 – What is up with this sneaky added little micro-generation? As if the Gen X people are not already feeling like a bland blanket statement, we now need an added reminder that if you were born within this period within the Gen X period you are described as – a blend of two generations. Apparently, they have the relentless drive of the Gen-Xers and the optimism of the Millenials, but feel as if they don’t fit in anywhere. Ag shame. I blame Oprah. Everyone is special, everyone is unique, let’s see each other at the CCMA.

Millennials (or Gen Y or Gen Next) 1980 – 1994 –  Here we have the first digital natives (so clearly the rest of us are just visiting; hence me having my computer angel on my speed dial). They are the largest work force at the moment (No wonder things are looking so bad, some would say) and are known to be curious, wanting constant feedback, to be innovative and desperately individual. Now these guys get lot of flak from the Gen-Xers. I have attended many a dinner party where we moan about how tough it is to employ them, but I quite like them. They bring great humour and are wonderfully honest. They also don’t waste your time. If you employ them and they are not CEO in two weeks, at least they quit rather than just being unfulfilled and unbalanced.


iGen or Gen Z 1995 – 2012 – Now these guys must have been born with an ego since they are named after the last letter in the alphabet and therefore must think the world ends with them. I see that the date range for this generation makes our ANC government also a GenZ product, which explains the inflated ego and entitlement. They are accused of being tech-addicted, anti-social social justice warriors without understanding the real issues (Think Gretha Thunberg). They are often the kids and grandkids of our guests/patients and what really interests me is their casual ways. They seem to never be in a hurry, often in outfits that either resemble beach wear or sleep wear and are happy to lie on their sick parent’s bed while the patient themself is sitting upright like a dassie on the chair. Anyway, I will not criticise.  I need these guys to fix my Mac. My teenagers also fall into this group, and if I look at them, I am simply filled with hope and ashamed at my own lack of activism when it comes to the rights of everyone and everything with whom we share the planet.



Gen Alpha 2012 – 2025 – These poor oakes had to start at the beginning of the alphabet again but I suspect their name will change to the “pandemickers” or “Covidials” as these were the guys being affected most in their formative years by how the world suddenly stopped and changed. Finlay Christie said that the person that named the generations clearly thought there would be no people left after Gen Z and that the arrival of this generation surprised us all. It is therefore no coincidence that their favourite app is called Tiktok…..tiktok…..tiktok…..


I don’t know many of them, but have read that they are hyperconnected, visual, independent and socially awkward. What I do love is the way they light up their parents’ and grandparents’ faces when they come to visit, and how they allow their parents to relax a bit while they are glued to their electronics for hours and hours.


While reading up on the different generations, the one thing that stood out is that there is so much more that unites us than what separates us. We all still need touch, affirmation, kindness and care. Nothing, no matter how advanced, damaged or frail we are, nothing can ever replace human connectedness and love.