I’m in my late twenties and locked down at home during the COVID-19 isolation which has lead me down a path of self-reflection and the generational differences between me and my parents. Seeing where I am now compared to my parents is helping to put things in perspective when I’m feeling down or having a bad day. Here’s a few fun contrasts.
Fitness and Work Life Balance
I once remember my uncle saying that taking time to relax or chill, or any kind of leisure is a new thing because in his generation you would work 24/7. At first I couldn’t believe it, until a week later when walking by my Auntie’s grocery store that she’s had for over 30 years. It’s even open on Christmas day! She asked the usual: how’s the family and what I was doing on the weekend? I said I was going to the gym and probably chill at home; she recommended that I should get another job on the weekend. Yeah, you can guess the utter disbelief on my face, and I told my sibling who thought the same thing. Whereas, my parents said: “well you could do some gardening, or more house chores you don’t need to go to the gym to work out”. They have a point but that’s the thing you see, my parents fail to see the benefits of taking time out of your day to work out, build strength and push your body’s limits. They do meditation but that’s not the same thing right? So, me being me I took it upon myself to teach them resistance training and yoga at least twice a week. I tried to find videos where they spoke in Punjabi or Hindi; failing that I tried to print off pictures and draw diagrams on how to do the exercises. With a bit of encouragement, I managed to steer them to a more millennial lifestyle of recharging and taking time to strengthen your mind and body to prepare for the day ahead.
My dad’s happy with a bit of moisturiser but trying to get him to wear a SPF willingly? It’s not going to happen. My mom on the other hand is more open minded to beauty regimes as long as it’s in the confines of ‘keep it simple’ and ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’. I always think I’d rather spend money on a facial than a night out where I’ll regret waking up with dehydrated skin and a puffy face. This is the second thing I have learnt: beauty really is from within, and no matter what you spend on the products, they can’t mask an unpleasant heart. What I mean is that I have met some people who I thought look really good, but they have an ugly attitude or a bad vibe. Our generation has been pushing the boundaries for more acceptance of individuality and free expression. A real luxury in comparison to older generations.
I made the mistake of thinking that my dad would conscientiously use his iPad for anything but YouTube. I had to slowly feed new information in more than one sitting about the different layers of Apps, Safari, emails etc. I tried to get my siblings to sit with my dad to explain all the techy jargon in more of a fun way rather than my matter of fact approach. Although it tested my patience, it helped me realise that I didn’t use my iPhone to its full potential. The best thing is when we got Sky TV my dad was already ahead in learning the controls and he had to teach me when I came back from work. I guess even as a millennial I’m not in the know about all the techy stuff.
I remember when I moved out to university and I would say no curries as I would rather have agave porridge, chia seed pudding or avocadoes on toast. My mom would say, “who has taught you that?” You’re Indian you can’t stop eating curries. She was right, the countless family events we have per year there will always be hot, tasty and spicy Indian food. I can never say no, and my aunties would probably get offended if I didn’t eat anything at their house. I had to persist with my way for a while as I knew it was a healthier option. I’m getting older and it’s much harder to keep the weight off when you eat one too many jalebis. My parents have come round, swapping white flour for wholemeal, using Himalayan salt and eating more fruit. A few years later, I still get to eat what I want without the disagreement of ‘eat something else but porridge’. My mom has even come
around to making porridge but with a lot of brown sugar! It’s a small battle I have won. Well, I think for now …
I appreciate how all experiences are personal and unique when growing up in a family where you are the first generation in the UK; there will always be challenges. However, you can make the journey fun as there is no end destination to arrive to. If you can make marginal gains by communicating and sharing experiences, you can help bridge the gap. Hopefully realising that there are a lot of things you have in common or you either agree to disagree or you learn to compromise on the hot topics. It’s a challenge that I enjoy and probably one that my parents don’t.
Rajvinder Kaur is a Senior Operational Risk Analyst in Risk Management and a Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador at her workplace. Previously, Rajvinder has worked as a Test Analyst for a large e-commerce business in an Agile environment. She enjoys staying ahead of the technology curve and sharing her knowledge with others to improve day-to-day efficiencies.