The Invisible Generations #GenX #Whatever
A s someone who is decidedly Gen X, I found this post to be a refreshing retort to the get-off-my-lawn rhetoric which is so pervasive online. The Me Generation gave way to the Whatever Generation which gave way to the Digital Natives or Millennials. It’s a conflation of incredible proportions when you realize that the Greatest Generation/Silents are still with us and those who are currently dubbed Generation Z are entering college. If for no other reason than demographics, our rhetoric about any one generation needs some nuance.
I keep finding myself put in the unenviable position of the “in-between” generation. It’s all about size, you know. Where demographics are concerned, size seems to matter. Who knew? If your generation cohort is a large enough market-place to sway what is produced, consumed, or politicized in this country, then you matter. If your generation is too small, like the Silents, Gen X, and Generation Z, then your impact is not as noticeable.
Nor is your influence.
Once again, we’re looking at two more Boomer candidates for President. The oldest Millennials are old enough to run for office. The sheer numbers of their generational cohorts make them viable candidates. Everyone else will just be chipping away at the edges hoping for just enough attention to keep from being economically or politically erased.
Now, the typical Gen X retort to such obvious news would be to turn up The Cure, or some Run DMC. “Whatever” we would shrug. I’m going to suggest another approach.
Yes, it’s maudlin, but there it is. Don’t you forget about [us]. As you walk on by. Yes, will you know our names? Yes, it gets worse. Just soak in the song. Get the lyric stuck in your head. May the earworm feast!
You see, you titans of demographic foolery, you are wrangling on a field populated by millions of others who, unlike you, aren’t worth the marketers’ attentions. We don’t poll. Period. We’re stuck in a eternal societal Saturday Detention.
Do you know us? Do you recognize us? One group of you “caused all the problems” and another will “fix all the problems” but the rest of us just wait it all out hoping for a goddam hall pass.
Will my school debt be in your equation? How about my rental rates? I’m in my mid-forties and the industry I trained for is disappearing. The one I am retooling myself for is now also disappearing. It’s going to be too late to do much more than hold on for dear life.
Gen X is Forty-something. This makes us invisible.
Now, before I get too whiny (too late, I know), let’s remember that these smaller generations are self-reliant, creative, and good at bridge building. Yep, all of us. It’s what we do. We are your coalition builders. We know how to go it alone, but we know how to get all Goonies on your ass and build a team. We also know where the treasure map is if you just listen to us.
Seek us out.
We’re probably the underpaid adjunct lecturer in your college cafe or the loner working on some big ass project at your firm.
You know us. We’re here.