An Open Letter Gen X’ers Who Are Definitely Feeling Their Age
Hey, Gen X'er! I see you and you're just like me and no matter how many "experts" tell us that the title of Gen X that we've lived with for all of our lives might not be accurate anymore, we don't care. Why? Because we know who we are and we are secure in ourselves.
I have always believed that Gen X'ers are a resourceful and self-sufficient bunch. We thrive at being independent, can think on our feet, can problem solve without someone holding our hands, we're awesome at multitasking, and we fiercely value our freedom. We get that technology means that we're basically on a leash at all times but we remember the simplicity of our youth and we long for those days.
Speaking of simplicity, I'm betting you crave it as much as I do. Remember when we didn't have to worry about someone taking a bad photo of us and posting it for the world to see (and judge). Remember the days when we left work and work stayed there because we didn't have email at home or cell phones so we weren't slaves to our job?
We played kickball and our sleepovers involved prank-calling boys (or girls) from our class but they truly had no idea who we were because only the rich could afford caller ID? Man, those were the days.
I have reached the point in life where I officially feel middle age. I'm tired because this world has gone to pieces and I miss life as it was when I was a child in the 80s and as a college-aged young woman in the 90s. At the time, I couldn't wait to grow up. I couldn't wait to be an adult and be the boss of me. Now, I wish I could go back.
What I wouldn't give for one more lazy afternoon of roller skating or popping by the schoolyard to swing on the swings with my friends. One more afternoon of playing Oregon Trail on the computer or blasting music and singing into a hairbrush with my friends. What I wouldn't give to experience just one afternoon with no texts, no phone calls, no emails, nobody needing me to do something for them.
Remember when we could grab a handful of change from between the couch cushions and it would be enough to fill up our car with gas? Remember the feeling of opening up a new pack of TDK SA 90 cassettes to make mixtapes off the radio? Remember when the phone would ring during dinner and our parents wouldn't allow us to answer it because it was family time?
Remember when our parents would whoop us if we saw someone who needed help but we didn't take the time to help them, even if they were a stranger? Or how we were allowed to ride our bikes all over town without checking in every few minutes but had to be home before the street lights came on?
Remember how when we wanted to know what was happening in the world we turned on the TV or the radio at a certain time and we'd get filled in instead of having every second of every day being filled with fake news, conspiracy theories, and posting wars? We'd literally watch the news, maybe chat about it for a few minutes, and then get on with life. Not anymore.
Remember when our neighbors worshiped differently than we did or belonged to a different political party and we still respected them and didn't scream at them or badmouth them to others or block them on social media? Seriously, how immature have we become?
I need to tell you that I feel like so many of the answers to the problems in our world right now could be fixed by taking a look at the way we lived life when we were younger. When families ate together every night. When kids were allowed to play until they were filthy from head to toe. When we didn't let our jobs dictate every minute of our day. When we held doors open for strangers, said please and thank you, and respected others who believed differently than we did.
We have turned into a selfish, self-centered bratty bunch and I am so sad. We never would have been allowed to act like this when we were kids. We were raised better than this and we are setting an example for generations under us which begs the question, what kind of example are we setting for them? Why are we showing them that it's okay to hate on people who have different beliefs and views than we do when it really isn't okay?
Fellow Gen X'ers, I'm counting on you to join me in taking a stand against hating people just because they think, look, or feel differently. I'm counting on you to join me in prioritizing your family above your job. I'm counting on you to join me in practicing the common sense and manners pounded into us by our parents.
Gen X, we have the power. The power to change things. The time to stand up and speak out and make a difference is not tomorrow. It is now.