I've always been fascinated by the generation thing, probably because all I've ever heard about was how the generation I just missed, the Baby Boomers, had such an outsized influence on the world and how their evil progeny, the Echo Boomers, are likely to have an even greater impact. My generation seems to be the forgotten Olive Loaf in the generational sandwich.
I can remember going to a middle school that had empty lockers because all the Boomers were gone and they left over capacity in their wake. I can also remember sitting in a class in college and having a professor point out that my generation, the yet-to-be-identified Generation X, probably wouldn't have Social Security waiting for us because the Boomers would live longer, and in greater numbers, than the program's designers had intended and that he couldn't imagine the political will of anyone to make the changes necessary to keep Social Security viable for later generations. Generation X has literally been joking about not having Social Security since before we even really understood what it was, and sadly we have no reason to think it's really a joke.
I was wondering when someone would write, say or do something that would capture Generation X's spirit and if the 1,280+ comments on a blog post titled Generation X Doesn't Want to Hear It are any indication I think I might have found it:
Generation X is a journeyman. It didn’t invent hip hop, or punk rock, or even electronica (it’s pretty sure those dudes in Kraftwerk are boomers) but it perfected all of them, and made them its own. It didn’t invent the Web, but it largely built the damn thing. Generation X gave you Google and Twitter and blogging; Run DMC and Radiohead and Nirvana and Notorious B.I.G. Not that it gets any credit.
But that’s okay. Generation X is used to being ignored, stuffed between two much larger, much more vocal, demographics. But whatever! Generation X is self-sufficient. It was a latchkey child. Its parents were too busy fulfilling their own personal ambitions to notice any of its trophies—which were admittedly few and far between because they were only awarded for victories, not participation…
Generation X is tired.
It’s a parent now, and there’s always so damn much to do. Generation X wishes it had better health insurance and a deeper savings account. It wonders where its 30s went. It wonders if it still has time to catch up…
Whatever. It’s cool.
The post appears to have been written in response to a New Yorker article about the travails of Echo Boom generation, and I think it really does reflect how a lot of folks my age feel.