Re: is the problem just that I'm not down with the cool kids?
Probably that. But neither am I, you know. I use Gmail for my professional mail only. For the rest, I have a French national mail account (with La Poste, the French mail service), and then I have my personal mail server for everything strictly private, between friends and a special spam account for when I have to sign up to some site that doesn't deserve it.
I access my Gmail with a Chrome, obviously (work, remember ?), but I forward everything I get to one of my personal accounts which I access with Lotus Notes via POP.
For all the rest of my email accounts, I use Thunderbird, which is configured to not leave mail on the server. And I purge my Gmail account as soon as a thread is no longer relevant.
In other words, my mail is local, I don't leave it on someone else's server. Not even mine.