There’s a development I have witnessed in those between the ages of 35-60. They are not passive, they do their research, they know what they want and they know how to get the best price. Unlike those older than themselves they don’t sit back and spend as little as possible, go to the familiar and do with less as a means of stretching their dollar as far as it will go. This group wants it all and are prepared to spend and haggle to get what they want for the price they want. Google is their friend and they will use various sites that promise great deals for amazing experiences and products. What I love about this group is their can-do initiative, they are not enslaving themselves in the chains of passivity as their older relations often do. They know what they want (even if it is often to get what their neighbors have) and they are willing to work for it, plan for it, and research to find it.
The only deficit I can see in this mindset is the lack of pure surprise and delight when what they receive is more than they even expected. When I have been with this crowd and the service, the experience or the product is more than what was expected the response tends to be, “well, that’s what we paid for, it had better be satisfying.” Having such high needs seems to make this group very demanding and when those demands are met there is less a feeling of gratitude and more a sense of “that’s what I paid for”. It removes any sense of being amazed or blown away by what has just taken place. And as a result there is little thanksgiving for those who have made the experience come to be.
I remember telling friends from this age group that I had written a letter of appreciation to someone who had “gone above and beyond the call of duty.” “Why did you do that”, my friend responded. “It’s their job and they are well compensated for it.” But regardless of the job description this employee answered to or the level of financial compensation this person had gone the extra mile to make my experience memorable. For that moment that I will likely carry with me for some time I need to express my thanksgiving, I need them to know what effect their gesture made on my life.
I never assume an experience will go well or badly, I go into every encounter with a sense that I need to plan, have a fall back option, and be prepared if things do not work out. Maybe it is because I have so few skills and thus rely on others much more than the majority of people who are “do-it-yourselfers”. I do think my lack of skills does make me particularly appreciative of what others do. People often tell me they marvel at my memory, work ethic and speaking ability but as I always respond, when those are the only skills you’ve got it allows you the time to practice, plan and learn those skills at a much more intense level than the average person. My skill level in these three relatively unimportant gifts come as a direct result of not doing, not being interested in learning, and not being expected to carry out the tasks most people take for granted.
So I constantly in awe of what others do, of the services offered to me and the efforts made by those who share their skills in such a way that my life is enriched.