Millennials and Generation Z are our future. They’re our now, really. Or, at least, that’s what the world tells us. Like Baby Boomers, they’re going to change everything and society just can’t wait to hand the reigns of leadership and power to them. As for Generation X, well, if anyone even remembers those people exist at all, they remember them with a great deal of contempt. Or at least indifference. This needs to change. And the only people who can change it are the same people who have allowed the world to hate and overlook Generation X: Gen Xers themselves.
Twenty-some years ago I became an adult. And like now, the world didn’t think much of Generation X. You can get an idea of the hostility in the 1990s and beyond by reading some of the Infogalactic entry on Gen X.
“You really think we should just hand everything to you?” the world told us all those years ago. “That you deserve to be leaders and in control of anything? You’re way too young! You don’t know a thing! Try working hard for 20-plus years before even getting an inkling that you deserve an ounce of respect!”
That lecture was harsh but it actually made sense. The world shouldn’t just give anyone power and responsibility—especially when people are young. You should have to earn them.
So I, and the rest of Generation X, went out and worked hard for 20-plus years.
Only thing is, after 20-plus years of working hard, the world still doesn’t respect us. In fact, it now tells us something entirely different than it had all those years ago.
“You thought we were serious? Hah! Joke’s on you! We don’t respect you! We don’t want 40- and 50-somethings! You’re too old! We want people in their 30s and 20s—even their teens! They deserve our reverence—and yours—simply because they’re young and they exist! We want them to be in charge of everything! And we’re going to make sure that happens!”
I put up with that response for a long time. But not anymore. I’ve had it. I’ve lost too much professionally, socially, and personally because of it. It can’t continue this way any longer.
So what to do?
Well, I’m not going to go on a rant against Millennials, Generation Z, or even Boomers or any other generation. There’s little value in that. And there are a host of other reasons why it’s not a good idea (including the fact that I interact with a bunch of people outside of my generation). But arguing for Generation X? Now that is a good idea.
One of the defining qualities of Gen Xers is they often don’t even think of themselves as Gen Xers; often don’t even think of themselves in generational terms. I’m a Gen Xer, and even now I’m referring to Gen X in the third person. And this characteristic is a major reason the world hates or doesn’t care about us.
In other words, since Gen Xers don’t band together like Baby Boomers and Millennials do, there is no group advocacy effort. And while I don’t necessarily care that Gen X as a generation is overlooked, I do mind that I as an individual am overlooked because I’m part of it.
Therefore, ironically, I want Gen Xers to start thinking of ourselves more in group terms—more as Generation X—for individualistic reasons.
Generation X isn’t some extraordinary generation that can save the world. But it isn’t a worthless one either, and it’s time to stop accepting the contempt the world has for it. I simply can’t afford it any longer. And I’m guessing a whole lot of other Gen Xers can’t either. Now is when we should be in our prime income earning years, and when we should be (at the very least) gaining prime leadership positions in society.
The contempt for us isn’t going to end overnight, but if we gradually start thinking of ourselves more in terms of Generation X, we will slowly change things and Gen Xers will no longer be the most hated generation. And one of the ways I might be able to contribute to this change is by starting to publish more Generation X-focused posts here at The Loftus Party.
So stay tuned and spread the word—to Generation X and everyone else.
Interested in helping a Generation X author? Then buy my brand new book, “Appalling Stories 2: More Appalling Tales of Social Injustice.” On sale now in paperback and for your Kindle.
Header image © Paul Hair.