whatever happened to generation x, part 1

image courtesy of flickr.com/creative commons

(note: generation x is defined as people born between 1965-1980)

i was born in 1968. i remember the bicentennial celebration of the united states. i roller skated to disco songs. i saw Grease multiple times at the theater.

during my childhood, i was the remote. if my dad wanted the channel changed, i was the one changing it.

i remember the introduction of the microwave, the VCR and cable.

i had a farrah fawcett poster on my wall, i had smurfs in my toy box and stacks of comic books by my bed. my brother and i would play for hours with our fisher price “adventure people” sets and use our imagination to pretend we were Superfriends, Hardy Boys or space travelers.

i grew up in the 80s with john hughes and steven spielberg films.

when my mom died in 1982, movies like Rocky 2 and E.T. were cinema therapy for me as i cried at the deaths of the coach and E.T.

i learned about people different from me from shows like Good Times, The Jeffersons and The Cosby Show.

i wanted to be alex p. keaton. i was the ultimate prep, with numerous izods, polos and then gennera shirts.

my generation stepped into the 90s with a big question, where do we fit? a college degree didn’t give us the free pass we thought it would. and the clash between reality and expectations was something many of us had to navigate.

we lived in a baby boomer’s world, a world they built. a world we were labeled as slackers. wanderers. a world where our elders thought all we cared about was apathy and leisure.

they were wrong. we just wanted to do life differently, and weren’t quite sure how to find our path in non-Wall Street, Dynasty kind of way.

so we worked hard at our entry level jobs. with minimum pay, we dove in and worked during the day, but strove to build lives outside of work.

and through persistence and smarts, we began to change. we figured it out. we found our way, and slowly began making our way up. but not in the way our predecessors had. now it was different. less cutthroat. less alpha dog.

and when it came to our personal lives, we married later than the generation before us. we waited until our 20s. some of us even later. we started families near our 30th birthdays. now many of us are in our 40s with teens or even elementary-aged children of our own.

while my children have many things and live a nice, middle class life, they don’t have all the things i had growing up. they probably never will. i don’t have as much as my parents did—then again, my parents don’t have as much as they once did either.

spiritually, we asked the hard questions, not always expecting answers. we embraced mystery and faith. as children, we learned about the evils of backward messages embedded in songs, but as adults, we found spiritual encouragement beyond the walls of contemporary Christian music, and easily flowed between the two.

we wanted everything different.
faith.
family.
work.

did we get what we wanted?
i’m not so sure.
in fact, i’m not even sure who we are or where are anymore in today’s world.
and i don’t think i’m the only one.

the contents on this site are © 2011 tim walker. all rights reserved. for permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.

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