Younger generations are torn over inheriting boomer heirlooms. Here are 4 helpful tips.

The generational divide on this front is a big one, but there are better and worse ways to navigate it.

There are kind and gentle ways to handle hand-me-downs.

As the baby boomer generation reaches their "golden years," many of them are starting to think about what to do with their earthly possessions, much to the chagrin of some of their Gen X, millennial and Gen Z descendants.

How many of us really want to take over our grandma's collection of dolls or plates when we have no interest in collecting ourselves? How many people have homes filled with furniture we actually like, only to be offered antiques and heirlooms that we have neither the desire nor room for? What about china sets, artwork and other things our elders have loved that they want to see passed down in the family that no one in the family really wants?

It's a delicate road to navigate, as a post on X illustrated. Jodi-Ann Quarrie shared a screenshot of a story a man shared about his wife fighting with his mother-in-law about the china sets she wanted her children to have. She had four adult children and four sets of china for them to divvy amongst themselves, but all four kids refused. An argument ensued about how none of the china had ever been used, even on special occasions, and culminated in the wife telling the mother-in-law that she was going to use the plates as frisbees after she dies.

People's reactions to the story were mixed. Some pointed out that there's no reason for someone to say something so cruel to a family member (or anyone, for that matter). Others felt that the mother-in-law was being unreasonable by not accepting no for an answer.

Extreme as the story may have been, there is a clear generational divide between the post-Depression era folks who think passing down heirlooms is generous and the generations that are accustomed to replacing things every few years because of planned obsolescence. There is also a divide between people who attach their life story to their belongings to the point that if their things aren't valued then neither are they, and people who don't tie memories or sentimentality to material things at all.

How do we bridge these divides? Each family dynamic and situation is different, of course, but here are four principles to keep in mind if you're on the receiving end of an heirloom offer you don't really want.

1) Don't diminish the value—either monetary or sentimental—of what an elder is offering.

These things may mean nothing to you, but they obviously mean something to the person who wants you to have. There's no need to hurt their feelings by being brazen about how their outdated furniture isn't really worth anything anymore or to point out that you have no emotional attachment to it. That all might be true, but is it necessary to share that with someone who is nearing the end of their life and feeling sentimental? No. It doesn't meant you have to take it, either, but a little empathy, even if it's not how you would feel about your own belongings, goes a long way.

2) If they're trying to give you something now and you really don't want it or have room for it, offer alternatives.

It's perfectly reasonable to tell a loved one that on a practical level you simply don't have the space for something. What the person usually wants is to know that a piece of them is going to be carried on as a physical memory and proof of their existence, so offer them a way to do that in a way that works for you.

Try something like this: "I would love to have something of yours that is meaningful that we can pass down, but we already have all the furniture we are able to manage—is there something like a piece of jewelry or a photo album or something else that we could pick out together as an heirloom for our side of the family?"

3) Be kind about their wishes while they're still here.

It's not easy getting older, and people's feelings about their life and death are worthy of consideration and compassion. If it brings an older person joy to see belongings they value being passed down while they're still alive, it might be worth letting them have that joy. Again, they might just want to know that their memory is going to live on.

It's difficult for us to imagine what it's like to be old when we're young, but it's not too hard to understand the desire to be remembered. That desire manifests differently for different people. Kindness can look like taking the items with gratitude and waiting until they pass away to give them away. It can also be gently refusing them for now, telling them it makes you happy to see them enjoying their things, and reassuring them that you'll make sure their items are taken care of when they're no longer here. (Taking care of doesn't mean keeping, but they don't necessarily need to know that detail. Honesty must be balanced with tact and thoughtfulness here.)

4) You are not obligated to hold onto something someone gave you, especially after they are gone. (But also, stay open to the idea that you might want to.)

No one is obligated to hold onto anything they don't really want. You also don't have to tell the person that you're not planning to keep their stuff—let them be at peace about it while they're here. It's perfectly okay to let go of their material things after they're gone. It's highly unlikely that they're going to care at that point.

However, it's also wise to stay open to the idea that you might actually want some of the things a loved one gives you after they pass. We never know how grief and loss are going to impact us, regardless of our relationship with someone, and sometimes people regret getting rid of all of their family members' belongings too quickly. It might be wise to just say yes to some things for now (if you are able to) and then decide what to do with them later.

Again, every situation is different, so these principles may or may not apply perfectly to your own circumstances, but the central message is to be kind and compassionate. We all have a limited amount of time here that shouldn't be wasted fighting over material things.

Pop Culture

Gen X couple share a delightfully cheesy rap song welcoming millennials into their 40s

This club is a little different, there's Wordle, seltzers and lots of houseplants.

"Welcome to the club, Millenials."

It is pretty wild to consider that Millennials are now entering their 40s and no longer hold the mantle of the young and up-and-coming generation. According to Pew Research, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, so these days they range between the ages of 29 and 42.

These are the years when people begin to settle down, start families and experience the first uncomfortable signs of aging.

The Holderness Family is headed by a Gen X couple, Kim and Penn Holderness, who are best known for their viral comedy songs. Their latest video is about welcoming Millennials to their next phase in life, one that’s less about spending all night in the club and more about embracing a quieter, more practical life.

In this case, “the club” isn’t a loud place to get a Long Island iced tea but a state of mind where you’re more likely to appreciate a good walk for your mental health.

Holderness Family Music has over 797,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 230 million views since they started their page in 2011. They “create original music, song parodies, and skits to poke fun of ourselves, the world we live in, and (hopefully) make you laugh.”

The "Welcome to the Club, Millennials" video is a bit of a departure from the usual intergenerational bickering we’re accustomed to seeing on social media. Instead, Gen Xers open their doors to the Millennials entering the next phase in their lives. “Well, Gen X is here to say ‘don't be bummed, come on in, welcome to the club,’” Penn raps.

According to the song, if you’re a Millennial and have done any of the following, you’re officially in “the club,” whether you know it or not:

Hung a calendar on your fridge

Have strong opinions on who’s the best “Jeopardy!” host

Play Wordle

Wore reader glasses

Drink seltzers

Had Gen Z call your clothes “vintage”

Gone Christmas shopping in October

Had a three-day hangover

Gone to a movie theater because it serves food

Took a mental health walks

Bought a chair for your back

Grooved to supermarket music

Own plastic houseplants

Taken supplements

Saved money for a Disney vacation

Have zero f**cks to give

Still love Blink-182

Millennials who are a little leery of aging should be happy to learn that they may be in the happiest times of their lives. According to developmental psychologists, the period of life between ages 30 to 45 is known as “established adulthood” and is a time of life when people are happiest.

Even though people in this age group are stuck in the “career and care crunch,” where they are likely to juggle a job while caring for children or older relatives, this developmental stage is also very fulfilling.

“Yes, people were feeling overwhelmed and talked about having too much to do in too little time,” Clare Mehta, Professor of Psychology at Emmanuel College, wrote in The Conversation. “But they also talked about feeling profoundly satisfied. All of these things that were bringing them stress were also bringing them joy.”

This article originally appeared on 5.01.23


Mom shares idea for a Forever 41 for Millennials and people think it's brilliant

90's music, free coffee and awesome clothes that fit. Where do we sign up?

Mom advocates for store called forever 41 for elder Millennials

There's something that happens after you reach a certain age. It's almost like you're back to being stuck in between the aisles of your favorite department store. You no longer feel comfortable in the juniors section of the store but the other side of the aisle can sometimes feel a bit too mature.

If you're not quite ready for fully elastic waisted polyester pants but are way too old to feel comfortable wearing a shirt that's missing random patches of material, then Forever 41 may be the store for you. At least that's if Tara Joon gets her way.

The mom took to social media to propose the store idea geared towards Millennial women. There's already a store called Forever 21, which has clothes for...well, people much closer to 21.

Forever 41 would cater to women in their 40s and it honestly sounds like dream that should absolutely become a reality, especially if Joon's suggestions are realized.

"We need a store called, Forever 41! Where they play the 90s music, free coffee and snacks all around the store. They should have in house therapists near the fitting area for crisis counseling at all times. They should have a bin for portable fans for all of us that are perimenopausal," Joon says.

Joon isn't alone in her desire to have a store specifically designed for middle aged women. There were several commenters giving suggestions on what else should be included.

"How about shirts that are actually long enough to reach the top of my hips? Is that too much to ask, fashion industry?!?!," one person writes.

"We need the firemen to be complimentary. They give you a compliment as you walk in," another says.

"I also want this as a club. Everybody wears 90s clothes and or prom dresses, and every night at the end of the night they play 'Closing Time' at last call," someone adds.

"Can they play the music at a level we can talk over too. It sounds perfect," another person suggests.

Maybe this idea will take off and there will be a Forever 41 opening near you. If they throw in a babysitting area, you'd never get moms to leave that store. Listen to the rest of her brilliant idea below.

@thereal.tarajoon Forver 41 🤩 What else would you like the store to have? Please share! #forever41 #momlife #tiktokvidcon ♬ original sound - Tara Joon

Courtesy of Laura Loray and RDNE|Canva

Therapist coins Gen Alpha the 'honey badger generation'

NOTE: One or more of the videos contained in this article may contain adult language.

There's always a lot of talk around Gen Z, but it turns out Generation Alpha are even more conscious of today's politics at an earlier age. In fact, they're not just more politically aware at a young age, they're more socially and emotionally aware with a strong sense of protection for those around them. This budding generation has earned themselves the moniker, "honey badger" across social media and it seems to be sticking.

Upworthy sat down with Laura Loray, a licensed clinical social worker and psychiatric nurse practitioner. Loray is the one who actually coined the term honey badger for this new generation. As someone who specializes in working with kids and adolescents, Gen Alpha falls right into her purview on a daily basis but it wasn't just her clients that sparked the endearing nickname.

"Obviously, we all remember that video from 15 years ago with the 'honey badger don't care, honey badger don't give a sh*t' and once I started seeing all these videos of parents saying their babies were built different," Loray recalls.

"I started really looking at them to see what this extra spiciness is about because they're very, very spicy and they just don't care. They're fearless and that's when it popped in my brain because honey badger don't care. I don't remember what video I first said it on but people in the comments agreed. It just fit like puzzle pieces, it just fit perfectly."

You may think with a nickname like honey badger that they wouldn't care about much of anything but Loray says Gen Alpha has feral empathy.

"They have this seemingly innate incredible amount of empathy to care for other, to want to know how others are feeling and then to take care of others, which I think is different from what we've been seeing in previous generations. They very much want to make sure other people around them are okay and they have this keen ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes," Loray explains.

The therapist tells Upworthy that this feral empathy and their ability to not back down or care what others think is what causes them to stand up for people and engage in protests. Yes, Gen Alpha has been engaging in and helping to organize protests though the oldest kids in the cohort are between 9 and 11. You can thank their feral empathy and their Millennial parents for their early activism.


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Parents of Gen Alpha are not only being their kids' rides to protests, but they're teaching them to use their voice via gentle parenting.

"I think that comes along with the gentle parenting as well because they're allowed space for us to model that for them and for them to be able to verbalize what they're feeling and thinking. A lot of us Millennials, even if we weren't necessarily trained in it (you know not just Millennials, it could be various generations in terms of parenting) but we're seeing that we can much better understand them when they're able to utilize those feeling words. It actually reducing their frustration, reduces their anger, it solves things quicker and I think us allowing for that space has been such a huge game changer," Loray tells Upworthy.


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The mom also explains that the teaching of social and emotional learning in school is also a large contributing factor because it teaches kids how to express what they need on top of how they feel. She says these lessons at school help them relate to others and will help them later in life in relationships and at work.

Clearly the honey badger generation has won the hearts of older generations but they've also won the hearts of animals. Loray has several videos on her social media page that shows this strange pull that Gen Alpha seems to have with animals, local wild life included. She doesn't really have an explanation to that but some would argue that animals can sense kindness in people, so maybe they're just drawn to that in this still growing generation.


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There really is no telling why squirrels, ducks, snakes and other creatures are perfectly happy in the company of these human honey badgers, but it's a pretty neat phenomenon. Loray thinks Gen Alpha will be the generation to rebuild systems in a way that would be beneficial to all citizens due to their feral empathy and innate moral compass. Only time will tell but they are certainly tiny and fierce, and we're lucky to know them.