Monday, March 17, 2014

"Talkin' 'bout my generation..."*

Lately I've alternated between scoffing and laughing at the spate of articles talking about millenials and boomers, conveniently ignoring Gen X.  So I'm surprised when I come across an article specifially about us--this one from last August is about whether or not we're having midlife crises.

Of course I had to read it.

According to this article's conceits, I make a lousy Gen Xer.  My parents are Boomers (rather than the Silent Generation) and forty-two years of marriage in they have yet to divorce.  Rather than the 'extended adolescence' our generation is known for, I was married at 22 and had my children at 25.  We bought this home over 15 years ago, for heaven's sake.  (Ok, maybe it does have some Ikea and some homemade preserves.)

WHY do I pay attention to what sweeping generalizations some columnist offers about everyone born in the window ten years before to ten years after me?  Don't I hold to be true the unique spirit of each of us, and do my best to look past assumptions?

It all comes back to the question we have at every stage of life-- am I normal?  We seek out validation that we aren't too far off the norm (though we want to be a little edgy, perhaps.)  We want to know that we have a tribe, a cohort, someone who will understand.
It's just one more yearning for connection, with a hope of shared experience. I just wish it didn't have to feel so us versus them.

*My Generation was written just as the first Gen Xers were popping into being. I considered using a suitable generational tune, but that discernment would take days and there would be scads of disagreement.  Hmmm... there's one way to get comments on the internet...

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