I’ll never forget the feeling when I first heard my 1980’s teenage generation was labeled “Generation X” by the more genteel “Baby Boomer” generation. It was kind of like I’d disappointed my grandmother. And her entire gardening club. And every pre-existing generation before mine. “No one could be as perfect as them,” I sighed, “they are America’s darlings.” The “Baby Boomer vs. Generation X” rivalry eventually grew to proportions only comparable with the well-documented battles between Marcia Brady and Jan Brady. Although not commonly discussed, or known, I’m assuming the Baby Boomer vs. Generation-X’er sides remain stubbornly divided even to this day.
Rumor had it that we were called “Generation X” because we were a bunch of slackers who had no ambition other than:
- ruining the social security system
- taking society right town the tubes, and
- ultimately end up going to hell in a hand basket.
Well, THAT was a lot to live up to. But, then came the grunge movement, and we kind of proved them right for a few years there.
So, fast forward to the modern age. What happens when a generation of social security-ruining, society-down-the-tube-taking, hell-in-a-hand basket-going people turn middle age? Ugh. They get tired and out of shape. And then they get a new name, the “Sandwich Generation.”* And then they start looking skeptically at the current crop of teenagers and conclude they will end up having to work as a Walmart Greeter until they turn into fossils. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if that is what you want to do by choice.)
Now, I don’t know if we’re still naming generations. Perhaps that was a 20th century fad. Like when Pepsi turned clear. I think the current crop of American teenagers can be called “Generation-i” – for reasons obvious to anyone that isn’t a Baby Boomer. Sorry…the rivalry still awkwardly pops up on occasion. Or, perhaps “Generation-z” because that would be a great way to “finish” the alphabet. There are almost too many great “Generation” names to think of. Maybe, just maybe, this means these modern teenagers are a group of individuals that shouldn’t be lumped together under one umbrella term?
Sigh….I guess the world-changing, rebellious teenage Generation-X’er still lives on inside this aging body. Looks like I have no choice but put on “People are People” by Depeche Mode and call my local Baby Boomer Representative (aka my mother) to start making much needed Gen-X vs. Baby Boomer amends.
*more posts on this topic later. many more.