The other day my hubs and I were talking about how the Us vs Them fight between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials and how our generation, Generation X, is still the forgotten and ignored generation. My hubs said something along the lines of only a few more years and the Boomers will finally all be retired and the world will finally have to pay attention to us. I can’t remember if I said it out loud or only to myself but I do remember thinking, ‘no way, we’ll always be ignored’. Much like the often ignored middle child, we (Generation X) have always just sucked it up and quietly did our thing knowing the only way any of us would get any attention is if something bad happened – think Kurt Cobain’s suicide or more recently Luke Perry’s stroke.
I’ve often wondered how it is that these two generations got pitted against one another. The lions share of the Boomers, those born right after WWII, are not the parents of millennials so why the animosity? I think I’ve finally figured it out. They are too much alike. They had the American dream handed to them since birth. They’ve been told time after time how wonderful and special they are and they’ve bought their own hype. Additionally, any time they are asked to pay the piper or got called out for their bad behavior they throw a temper tantrum.
Born into a thriving economy when our country was at it’s most prosperous, Boomers were the first generation who got to truly enjoy childhood without being expected to get a job to help the family. Boomers were encouraged to follow their hearts and live their dreams. The opportunities this generation received for doing nothing but being born at the right time is astounding not to mention they bore witness to things like a national interstate system and the space program. And, I haven’t even brought up the pop culture contributions of their age. I’m not ashamed to say I’m jealous as hell. Sure, there were some tough times, the Vietnam War was awful and shouldn’t have happened. The civil rights movement and the women’s movement were hard but in the end, doors were opened and minds were changed. By the time the Boomers were considered adults, they were doing better than any other generation before them. These cats got to enjoy the excess of the late 1970s and 1980s with full gusto. Between free love, widespread venereal disease, and loads of drugs and alcohol, it’s honestly a wonder any of them are still alive. Now that they are all hitting their golden years, they are changing the face of elder care. Millennials have enjoyed many of the same advantages – beloved by their parents, given immense opportunities, told they could do anything and be anything, born into a time with huge technological and cultural advances. The similarities between the two groups are astounding. The size of their generation is also something of note as they are almost equal.
But, what about Generation X? Where do we stand? What are we doing? We’re doing what we’ve always done. We’re making do with the crumbs. Just like in our latch key days, we’re plodding along, working steady and grumbling about how no one notices we’re here. Our needs are being met on a basic level but no one is bending over backward to appeal to us. We’re raising kids and taking care of older parents. We’re still sullen and angsty even if we don’t wear our skater grunge punk clothes and a million black jelly bracelets on our arms. Most of all, we wonder how either of the Us vs Them groups is going to screw us over next. Although I have to admit if I had to pick a side I would most like to emulate, I’d pick the Boomers in a hot minute. They had the best music.
P.S. For the record, Generation X is classified as people born between 1965 and 1979.
Photo Credit: I did a search for Gen X images and I saw this like 8 times. I have no idea who it belongs to but thanks. No copyright infringement indented. I’m broke and I do this for free so don’t sue me.