I’m late on this post today. I needed a nap because Daylight Savings and I’m not sorry about it.
I’m going to preface this post with the fact that though I realize generations are mostly a marketing construct used to increase sales, I can’t escape the fact that I do identify with some of the things they group together as traits. Of course, this could be because they are as broad as most horoscopes…
Recently, I realized I’m not a millennial. Being born in 1981, I’m in that grey area between X and Y, but I identify more with X and here’s why:
- My parents are part of the silent generation. There’s so much they just don’t talk about. I didn’t have helicopter parents. My parents weren’t my BFFs. They were authoritarian and disciplined me when I was a jerk and praised me when I did well in something.
- I was around when grunge and alternative began and watched MTV. Music videos, the first Degrassi, and Buffy was pretty much my preferred mix of TV though I also watched some ancient stuff like Hogan’s Heroes and the A-Team with my parents and some newer things like Full House and Family Matters.
- I didn’t always have a computer or the internet in my home or classroom. Our first computers were Unisys Icons and Commodore 64s. I can vividly recall what a modem used to sound like.
- Divorce was still a rather new thing. This was part of the reason some kids picked on me. Their homes were breaking and my parents were still happily married. Also, I was often reading a book. Pizza Hut had the Book-It program that gave free pizzas to avid readers. I ate a lot of free pizza as a kid.
- I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a large percentage of my friends also run their own businesses.
- I spent my childhood playing outside with no parental supervision and returned home when the street lights came on. We were even sent to buy cigarettes for our parents and it was legal to do so. I even walked to school.
- I didn’t get participation trophies. When I won something it was a true win.
- My dad worked long hours and Mom’s sleep schedule had her napping in the afternoon so she could spend time with him when he got home at 2 AM. I learned at a young age to do things like cook for myself. Their lives didn’t revolve around me and I wasn’t neglected either. I also didn’t interrupt my parents when they had friends over. I waited respectfully to ask whatever I needed to ask.
- I was in college during 9/11 and saw it unedited. We were sent home because the school was too close to the military base, which was a major NORAD location. I have many loved ones that were in wars such as The Gulf War.
- Work-life balance is very important to me despite the fact that I’m super ambitious when I commit myself to something.
- Though I haven’t had kids yet, I don’t believe in helicopter parenting or blaming the teacher for bad grades. Kids need to do the work to succeed. Failing can be a great lesson.
- I’m a problem solver. This means I’m not great at listening to someone vent about something. Let me know what steps you want to take to fix it and I’ll help then. This also means that I see the difference between where we are and where we want to be including the actual work required to transition between the two.
- I grew up watching films like The Breakfast Club, Clerks, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. My brothers also subjected me to Star Wars. Not the awful first three, but the originals.
- Mix-tapes were made by grabbing songs as they aired on the radio. We also did this with VHS for TV episodes and movies.
- I’m rather laissez-faire in terms of social issues. I get involved sparingly.
- I aim to live my life in the Goldilocks zone. I don’t like extremes of any kind.
- I’m not vegan and have no interest in becoming one. I believe in a balanced diet that includes all food groups.
- I don’t go to church, but I do have beliefs. Lately, I’m leaning toward Theravada Buddhism, which is a largely peaceful religion that doesn’t require its followers to abstain from eating meat. I’ve not found anything yet on it that suggests people who believe something else need to be stoned to death. I also like that Buddha was a regular human.
The only things I really feel I have in common with Millennials are my education and the job outlook. And the job issue is really more of a problem with the state of the economy. Education has been more about me figuring out what work is best for me and learning that like many Xers, I need flexibility and really don’t need a boss or HR to guide me to get things done.
Being someone born on the cusp, I get to decide which generation I belong to and I’ve decided I’m a member of Gen X. Henceforth, I’m going to spend my time getting myself to where I want to be and let the millennials do the bulk of the fighting. They seem to love it and I really don’t. It fills me with anger and there is so much in this world to be thankful for. I’d rather put my time to better use.