I’ve always said to myself I never wanted to be defined by numbers or anything like that. But where you fit in population demographics and what happened during your childhood and adolescence, and adulthood for that matter does shape you. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get put into a demographic category that might not be overlooked as much as mine is.
Generation X as it is called are those born between 1965 and 1980. We were the children of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945 according to Google Search) and the first generation of kids born to the Baby Boomers (1946 to 1965). We were also the first generation to grow up with parents who had a fifty percent chance of divorcing (mine almost did), had both parents who worked a lot, and who came home alone and tried not to burn the house down.
It was that independence given so early in life that shaped a generation to my way of thinking. Or at least it did for me because I felt like from as far back as I could remember that I had to do things for myself. I was expected to get myself up, dressed, fed, and off to school. And when I came home I was expected to have my key, feed myself, do my homework, and do chores. But once that was all done my time was my own.
I also think Generation X is unique because we came of age in the 70’s and 80’s right before everything went digital and online. We remember life before cellphones, the internet, and social media. We remember actual print newspapers, going to libraries to do research, and buying music on record, cassette, or compact disk. And as for ordering stuff to be mailed to you, you had to do that with catalogs or flyers you had to mail in first with your order (Scholastic Book Club forever!)
But despite this independence and ability we had to transition from paper to plastic-electronica, we were also called ‘slackers’ due to a movie made about aimless wanders in Austin, Texas, a city where you can’t even be an aimless wanderer anymore. I always felt like we were ignored until we were deemed worthy of attention by some asshole-adult. I also think that’s why we gravitated so heavily to adults who weren’t assholes, like writers and musicians and so forth who wrote and produced brilliant stuff we love with an endless soul-deep passion.
Another thing was that members of our generation took basic computer tech from the 70’s and 80’s and made it viable in the 90’s and beyond. I just wished we hadn’t dropped the ball on social media and let the Zuckerberg’s of the world have that one (and no, do NOT put him in with Generation X- he’s a geriatric millennial). But at least Gen X’ers gave the world Google.
Also, I think we knew who the assholes in our age group were from a very early age. These were the preppie-poseurs who tried only as hard as they had to try and get laid but are now red-hat MAGA wearing jack-asses in polo shirts (which I think should be recycled into something so much better because to me they’re a fashion abomination). These were the people who wanted to be punks but weren’t, skaters who fell on their asses more often than not, and tried to be Alex P. Keaton without any of the charm of Michael J. Fox.
As for the women… well I think we knew who would turn into raging middle-age Karens from Hell. Valley Girls who married well then got dumped and married not-so-well and who have helmet hair and serious misdirected anger issues because of that. They’re the ones who are uptight conservative bitches who rail against anything LBGTQ+ and make retail workers lives absolute hell. Just listen to them rant and rave then top it off with a single, “Whatever.” In your best Daria imitation.
And now Generation X women are entering middle-age and we’re not having the bullshit associated with that. We know the rest of the world would love to just push middle-age women into some dark forest and leave us there, which is a good thing if we can get that. But for most of us, that’s not on the table as an option. But what is on the table as an option is teaching the generation we’re raising now, Generation Z, to be tough and not tolerate bullshit like we did more than we ever should. I love Generation Z because they’re smart and have a great ability to see through the bullshit in this world. And they love Generation X’s culture (music, movies, tv, etc.) and have good culture of their own.
This coming week though is about me and how my own life story fits into the overall story of Generation X as written by a member of said generation. It’s a mix of what I did, wanted to do, and am wanting to be going forward. It’s about surviving, living through shit-jobs and shit-lives, and rocking out no matter what.