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Some young adults are swapping clubbing for crocheting. They call it their 'grandma era.'

"Grandma era" is being used by some on TikTok and Twitter to refer to their more lowkey lifestyle choices.
Teenage girl sitting on floor crocheting.
The “grandma era,” which many young people are in, might stem from two years spent living through a pandemic at home, which took place during the formative years for many teenagers.Richard Bailey / Getty Images

At first, many young people on TikTok embraced what became known as the "coastal grandma" style — wearing linens, caftans and other comfort items while lounging in cozy homes, a la Nancy Meyers.

Now, some of these same young adults are going all in and embracing what they refer to as their "grandma era." They've taken up hobbies and behaviors often associated with older generations, including: knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and staying home (rather than going out).

And they're posting about it online.

On TikTok, the hashtag "#grandmaera" has been viewed more than 7,000 times — a relatively small tag by the standard of what it means to be “viral” on TikTok. Still, a search of the phrase on the platform reveals dozens of videos of young people, typically women, using the grandma era language. On Twitter, hundreds of people have also used the terminology to refer their lifestyle.

Some who shared their "grandma era" anecdotes say they have turned to a more lowkey lifestyle because they felt overwhelmed in social settings, like parties, bars and clubs, and prefer the serenity of staying home on a Saturday night.

“We’ve seen that grandmothers are laid back and relaxed and have gotten past the work-really-hard, hustle culture mindset. They’re just living life and enjoying things,” said Heather Sims, 28, who posted a TikTok about being in her “grandma era.” “I think a lot of people this age want to embody that sooner.”

Some experts suggest the change of pace among younger people could stem from habits they picked up during the early days of the pandemic. When people were forced to quarantine, it likely contributed to a rise in more introverted behaviors.

Kelly Moore, the director of the Center for Psychological Services at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, said young people’s resilience during lockdown led them to pick up hobbies and behaviors that could distract them during the pandemic.

“I do feel there’s something very positive about those traditional skills being kept alive by younger generations,” Moore said, noting that social media likely served as a tool in helping teach younger people about hobbies typically associated with older generations.

Jessica Bodie, director of child services at the University of Pennsylvania, said some teens and young people with social anxiety thrived during the pandemic and doing activities at home, but they have since had trouble reintegrating into social settings.

Psychologists “preach a lot about self-care” and advocate for activities that promote well-being, like knitting, gardening and baking," she said. But if a person is using those hobbies to avoid socializing, they could potentially be problematic.

For teens like Kay Pham-Nguyen, 19, being in her “grandma era” hasn’t prevented her for socializing. But, she said it has given her an appreciation for spending time alone and valuing the validation that comes with the craft she’s adopted.

“I feel like people who ended up crocheting and things like that learned to appreciate themselves more and time with themselves,” she said.

Plus, Pham-Nguyen said, "Honestly, I would not want to show my kids a photo of me partying."

Some have noted that the trend on TikTok appears to be largely shared among white women.

That's part of the reason why Moriah Stephens, 30, wanted to post her own "grandma era" video.

"As Black women, we feel we have to dress a certain way or look a certain way in order to be more acceptable in society ... [grandma era] could look a little too slovenly, but it's comfortable and I'm clean and I'm put together," Stephens said. "That should be all that matters."

Stephens said her "grandma era" activities consist of wearing caftans and baatis, traditional Somali house dresses, and drinking coffee on her balcony in the early morning.

After spending time with her grandmother in Ohio, she said she realized they share many of the same habits, like staying in with friends and watching TV while relaxing on the couch.

These similarities led Stephens to further embrace the "grandma era" label.

"I feel like the term 'homebody' has been rebranded as 'grandma era'," she said.

And she's here for it.