Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

I just returned from shuttling my son to one of his many weekend engagements.  While in the car, stopped at a red light, I noticed that the vehicle in front of me (an Audi convertible, with the top down) had a personalized plate that read: GEN2X. After quickly looking at the driver, I determined that he could very well have been born between 1965 and 1981, the dates that are most often used to define Generation X.  My generation!  Now, I have no idea if GEN2X is indeed a nod to the group  that is occasionally referred to as the “baby bust” generation.  But for the purpose of this post, I am going to pretend that it is.

Was PC born prior to 1965?  I sure hope so!

Like the guy in the Audi, I am a proud to be a Gen-xer.  Is that a silly thing to feel and admit to?  Up until this moment, I haven’t really given much thought to as why, but I am.  I imagine that some of my good feelings stem from the fact that there aren’t that many of us.  According to multiple online sources, there are only 46 million members of my generational posse. That might seem like a lot, but when compared to the baby boomers’ 80 million members and the millennials’ 78 million we are a mere dot on the population map.  That makes us kind of exclusive and at the same time endangered, right?

Urban Dictionary dot-com, defines me and my peeps the following way:

The title Generation X was designated by the media to indicate a distinct group population for marketing purposes. Generation X members are generally considered laid back (slackers), market savvy (having been inundated by the mass media and MTV since their pre-teen years), prone to psychological disorders (the first generation with a majority to have grown up with absent or divorced parents), and considered less important than baby boomers (who are btw the egomaniacal bastids to make that distinction in the first place, sheesh).

And continues with:

Generational trends however suggest that Gen Xers are smarter than people think, are more capable and hard working than expected, and will eventually rule the world by lining up the baby boomer bastids against the wall when the revolution comes!  Also, the name of a punk band I think.

Unlike the folks who wrote the above definition, I have nothing against baby boomers.  My husband and mom are both members of that group.  As are many friends.  Having said that, Xers are definitely cooler.  And while the typical person born during this time period might seem on the surface to be a laid back Starbucks slurping, Volvo driving, Kurt Cobain lover, there is much more to us than that!   As noted in the Urban dictionary dot-com definition, we have a great work ethic and not just because we want to accumulate gobs of money.  We work hard because we know it is the correct thing to do.  And If we wind up accumulating gobs of money as a result of our hard work, so be it.  Additionally, we are a curious bunch who aren’t afraid of technology–which has led some of us (not me) to accumulate said gobs of money!  Guess who came up with Google,Yahoo, YouTube, and Amazon?  Gen-Xers!  I am proud to be associated (however loosely) with those companies and their founders. Yes, we are laid back but we were raised to be respectful.  We respect authority.  We also respect the right to question it.

We have not, however, been successful across the board.  With regard to music, baby boomers own us!  It’s true, not even going to try to prove otherwise.  Almost all of my favorite bands come from the ranks of the baby boomers. Nirvana is one of the few I could find that is made up entirely of people who were born in the time frame we are discussing here.  Well, one of the few I will claim.   I am not even going to check to see when the members of the Backstreet Boys were born.  Hopefully, after 1980.  When it comes to music, the only explanation I can come up with for our lack of ingenuity is–disco!  What do you expect a group of people who were raised on Gloria Gaynor and the Village People to produce?!

You didn’t think I was going to post a photo of the Village People, did you?

Our success in the world of politics is mixed. To this date we have yet to produce a president (as in of the United States) but that has its advantages, can’t blame any of the mess on us!  Most of our government is made up of people born prior to 1965, and in this case, can’t say elders know best.

We are a creative bunch and we are funny!  Got to give us that.  Maybe humor is a by-product of being  allowed to watch countless hours of television?  Not sure, but Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Dave Chappelle, Jack Black and Ben Stiller are but a few of my generational peers who are, in my opinion, funny.  Okay, okay, none of them is as funny as Richard Pryor or Robin Williams, but they are still funny.

I think I am mostly proud to be part of this generation because of familiarity, which in this case, at least for me, does not breed contempt.  I understand people who are my age, or close to it.  We ate Pop Rocks–while drinking soda–and didn’t expire on the spot.   We weren’t old enough to really remember the Vietnam War but do remember the hostages being taken in Iran and the U.S. Olympic hockey  team winning the gold.  We played dodgeball (before the movie!) and  kickball and remember John Travolta with hair–his own.  Yes, I know that boomers were there too, but I can’t tell you what these events and fads meant to them, because they are not part of my generation.  And, even though the guys in the Who are waaaaaay older than me, for the purpose of this post, we are talkin’ ’bout my generation.

Are you proud of your generation?  Does the idea of generational pride resonate with you?

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