Why I Feel Like I’m Part of Generation X & Not a Millennial
Good morning! Welcome to my weekly blog! Today, I want to talk about something that bothers me. It bothers me to be placed into a statistical category that doesn’t suit me at all. I remember studying basic sociology back in my undergrad, and I used to wonder at the statistics and how data was gathered. I always believed in the facts — what was, was, and there was nothing you could do to change it.
For some reason, one morning, I found myself thinking about my generation and I feel like I’m sort of stuck in the middle. I’m literally stuck in the middle — that’s a fact. On paper, I was born a millennial, but in mind, body and spirit, I am definitely part of Generation X.
Let’s explain what each of these generations are all about before we go any further.
This generation is categorized by being born between 1965 and 1980. It directly follows the baby boomer generation. It came in the age of a sky-rocketing divorce rate era, during shaky economic times. Generation X was the first to grow up in the age of personal computers. Parents of Generation X (aka, the Baby Boomers) were mostly focused on work, with both parents working out of the home. This created an independent and very resourceful Gen X cohort.
This generation was also referred to as the “new lost generation” because of shifting societal norms due to the high divorce rate and kids being on their own a lot with both parents working. This generation gave rise to cynical and rebellious youth, giving rise to the punk and grunge movements.
Since this generation had time to live before computers and tech really “blew up”, they know what life was like before tech came into existence. This created a generation of people who are tech savvy (they know how to work a smart phone with the best of them), but they are not technology dependent. (If the tech world crashed, they would still know to how to survive).
Generation X is classified as being expert DIY’ers, fiercely independent, and are known as the “work hard, play hard” generation.
The Millennial Generation in very unique in that they grew up in a world entirely dependent on technology. They are classified as being born between the years of 1981–1996. They are considered the first global generation, and the very first that grew up in the age of the internet. They are sometimes referred to as “digital natives” as they are known for an elevated usage of and familiarity with social media, the internet and cell phones.
According to the New York Times, characteristics of the Millennial Generation are that they are narcissistic, lazy and indecisive. However, they are tech savvy, connected and value straightforward management and recognition. They are more likely to value collaboration and to be employed full time. They get an average of 9 hours of sleep versus the 8.6 hours of previous generations and only participate in an average of 1.5 hours of household activities compared to the 2.10 hours of previous generations.
I was born in 1982 to a Baby Boomer Mother (born between 1946–1964) and a Silent Generation Father. (The Silent Generation directly preceded the Baby Boomer Generation and was classified as being born in the period between 1928–1945). My father was born in 1935, and went through a war as well as The Great Depression). So technically, I was born a millennial, but here is why I feel like I am part of Generation X.
For the first part of my life, my Mother stayed at home with me, and my Dad worked out of town. I was a product of divorce. When I was 9, my mom started working full time to support us and I was on my own most of the time, and having to look after my baby sister who was almost six years younger than me. At this point, my mom and my step-dad both worked full time and I was on my own a lot. I learned early and I learned fast. At a time when we didn’t have a lot of money, I did, in fact DIY a lot of stuff, and I was very resourceful.
I didn’t actually have an at-home computer until I was 18. I also got my first cell phone at the same age. So technically, exactly half of my life was spent technology-free. I learned how to find books in the library manually, I didn’t know what an “on-line search” was and I spent a lot of time reading and playing outside.
The second part of my life (twenty years old to current), I was definitely more immersed in the tech era. I didn’t really get involved with social media until the last three years or so, but I did discover Facebook in 2007. Despite that, I became fully immersed in the internet world when dial-up was still a thing. Now, I find that I am able to show others how to use social media and/or different tech tools and I’ve become fully immersed in this new world. Despite that, I could also still live without it (although I don’t think my online business could! )
To sum it up, even though I was “technically” born in the millennial age, I consider myself to be part of Generation X and I feel like my reasons are substantiated by how I grew up.
Thank you so much for reading my sociological take on the differences between these two generations.