We are a generation of pioneers. Generation X is wedged between the uber-proud Baby Boomers and the technologically savvy Millennials, and the younger Gen Zers. Born between the years of about 1963 to 1981, we’re a smaller generation, but we’re scrappy and resilient. We were the original latch-key kids.
We know what it means to take a risk, fail, then get back up again. We’re not afraid of hard work and expect to have to pay our dues.
Unlike our parents’ generation, single incomes aren’t always enough and we have to balance work, child-rearing and caring for our aging parents all at once. We do not have a road map and our can-do attitude means we are often overlooked despite our massive impact on society. We just get to work. We count among our ranks Quentin Tarantino ’63, Jeff Bezos ’64, Dr. Dre ’65, Cindy Crawford ’66, JLo, ’69, Andre Agassi ’70, Elon Musk, ’71 (say what you will about him, he’s made an impact), the Notorious B.I.G.’72, Lauryn Hill ’75 and Beyonce ’81!
Let’s face it, we had THE best music, TV shows and movies. The 80s, from Iggy Pop and The Clash to Prince, Duran Duran, Madonna, Michael Jackson and U2. Family Ties, Dynasty and Moonlighting. Sixteen Candles and Top Gun. The 90s grunge of Nirvana and Soundgarden and the best hip hop decade hands down. Friends and Seinfeld. Silence of the Lambs, Pulp Fiction and Titanic. I could go on and on.
We have turned the whole concept of the traditional household on its head, building families later in life or in ways previously thought impossible. We are empathetic, resourceful, charitable and self-sufficient.
With the unique perspective of having straddled the divide between rotary phones and smart phones, we are aware of the importance of certain age-old values like forming close relationships in person, not online. Yet, we embrace technology, new forms of communication and the evolution of the workplace as we know it.
When the Boomers are all gone, GenXers will be the only ones to remember living in that simpler world. In this article in Vanity Fair, Rich Cohen calls us the last hope for America. He writes, “it’s become clear to me that if this nation has any chance of survival, of carrying its traditions deep into the 21st century, it will in no small part depend on members of my generation, Generation X, the last Americans schooled in the old manner, the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds.”
I agree. Our words and ideas and contributions are vitally important to the future. Generation X is still going strong and we ain’t going anywhere.
Written by Suzanne Koudsi and Molly Niles Renshaw