10 Surprising Ways Gen Z Is Embracing Boomer Simplicity

By: Lauren | Published: Feb 19, 2024

Every generation has its own characteristics that differentiate them from their predecessors. However, it seems that Gen Z has taken on some of the habits of Baby Boomers, and they may be happier for it.

Baby Boomers are known for being independent, resourceful, and valuing their relationships, and Gen Zers are actually quite similar. Here are the 10 ways in which both generations embrace the simple life.

Keeping It Old School

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, which means they listened to vinyl records until they were (at least) in their 20s. When the world switched to CDs and eventually to downloaded music and streaming sites, many Boomers complained that nothing sounded quite as good a record.

Older man working at a vintage vinyl record store

Source: Getty Images

Gen Zers seem to agree. According to Music Week, vinyl sales are growing more rapidly than they have in years. Whether they’re purchasing oldies or even newly released albums, the younger generation is flocking to record stores, just as Boomers did at their age.


More Gen Zers Are Cooking at Home

With fast food, delivery apps, and restaurants on every corner, it’s easier than ever before to have someone else prepare your food for you. Though it seems that Gen Z is taking a page out of the Boomer book and leaning towards home-cooked meals instead.

Young adult woman cooking with her mother in the kitchen

Source: Freepik

Whether it’s to save money, eat healthier, or simply because they enjoy preparing food like their parents did when they were kids, these young adults far prefer to cook for themselves.

Tending to One’s Garden Is the Best Way to Relax

Some Gen Zers have been drawn to the idea of gardening to ensure their vegetables and herbs are GMO and pesticide-free, while others simply love the act of nurturing something and watching it grow.

Young adult gardening outside with gloves on

Source: Freepik

Even those who don’t have an outdoor space to garden are purchasing indoor plants that they can tend to. Just like Baby Boomers, they’ve found that working with your hands is good for the soul.

Secondhand Treasures

Baby Boomers have been known to love a good thrift store. Sometimes, it’s because they want to find pieces from their younger years instead of the new “trendy” items available at department stores.

Young shoppers in a thrift store in Brooklyn, New York

Source: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Gen Zers are also flocking to second-hand stores, but for different reasons. One aspect of their obsession with thrift stores is that vintage pieces are incredibly trendy right now. The other is that shopping secondhand is more sustainable and environmentally friendly, something that Gen Zers are more worried about than almost any other generation.

Making a House a Home

Ask most Baby Boomers, and they will tell you that they can and do fix things around the house all by themselves. They have a garage full of tools for DIY projects such as putting up shelves or cleaning out the pipes.

Older man teaching a younger man how to make something out of wood in a garage

Source: Freepik

Now, Gen Zers are following suit. Instead of calling for a professional, many young adults have invested in their own toolboxes and actually enjoy making their house a functioning and beautiful home all on their own.


Old School Games

Before video games and apps, if someone wanted to play a game, they’d open the cupboard and retrieve one of the many board games their family kept ready for such an occasion.

Several board games are stacked, including Connect 4, Monopoly, and Yahtzee

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Now, even with all the high-tech options for play, many Gen Zers prefer a cardboard and dice game, just as Baby Boomers used to play when they were growing up.


The Great Outdoors

People have long worried that the generations that grew up with technology were doomed to a life inside. But now that they’ve grown up, Gen Zers are proving there’s nothing like the great outdoors.

Two people sitting at a campsite by a river enjoying the sunset

Source: Freepik

Like Baby Boomers, they’re prioritizing camping, fishing, and hiking instead of shopping at the mall or heading to the cinema every weekend.


Knitting Like Grandma

Another fascinating similarity between Baby Boomers and Gen Zers is that they both seem to love to knit, crochet, sew, or needlepoint. These hobbies became more or less obsolete for a few decades, but now, they’re back.

A woman does her knitting as she sits in the main conference hall at the Labour Party conference on September 27, 2022, in Liverpool, England

Source: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

On social media platforms like Instagram, one can find thousands of tutorials, from simple stitches to making entire sweaters. While for Baby Boomers, this was a practical hobby, Gen Z seems to just love the idea of making something for themselves instead of buying it at a store.


Taking a Break from Technology

Unlike Gen Z, Baby Boomers didn’t grow up with a phone in their hand and a computer on their desk, so for them, the idea of using technology at all times just doesn’t feel natural.

Close-up photograph of a person using an iPhone with a pink case

Source: Matt Cardy/ Getty Images

But Gen Zers are actually noticing that it doesn’t feel right for them either, and more and more young adults are intentionally putting the technology away whenever they can.


Thinking About the Future

According to Forbes, those in Generation X (just behind Baby Boomers) have the least savings of any generation. Somehow, they missed the memo that they were going to need significant savings to retire.

Young adult couple budgeting with receipts and a calculator

Source: Freepik

But not Gen Z. They understand that life is expensive and no job is certain. So, like Baby Boomers, Gen Zers are extremely focused on saving for the future.


Every Generation Has Their Own Identity

The truth is that every generation has its own identity with different music, fashion, and popular habits. But it’s become apparent that Gen Z is following in their grandparents’ footsteps in many ways.

Family made up of three generations laughs on the couch

Source: Freepik

They’re looking for a simple life, valuing relationships, slowing down, spending time outside, and playing Monopoly. Of course, there are still differences between the two generations, but they’re not as different as they think they are.