Somewhere along the way, I became part of a minority group. Not by ethnicity, sex, skin color, faith or even hair color. Nope, I’m talking about those of us in Generation X. Let’s face it, fellow X’ers…. We have become part of some kind of lost group – appropriately also called the Sandwich Generation. We are the ones who came after that giant Baby Boomer generation, and before the strong and energetic Millennials.
I hadn’t until recently felt alone or lost in any way. After all, I have surrounded myself with a group of BFFs who are also X’ers. We are the ones who are telling ourselves that moving into our 5th decade is a good thing. That we are still cool and not at all frumpy, and we are smart and trendy – and a strong group. Yet when I am out and about in the world, watching crowds of folks in places like airports and shopping centers, I realize that maybe there aren’t so many of us after all. Those Baby Boomers are still a commanding bunch. And that next generation, the Milennials? They are everywhere. Statistically, each of those generations out-number us Xers by approximately 25 million.
I spent the majority of my day this past Friday surrounded by Milennials at a work meeting with a Digital Web company. Their offices are something out of a TV show or movie set – funky, casual open space, just a bit hipster. The first thing I noticed walking into their space was the ping pong ball table set up in the midst of clusters of work spaces and big windows. They are all dressed in casual jeans and tshirts, without somehow looking casual; yet if I wear jeans and a tshirt, I look like I’m about to clean the house. They were all friendly, smart, energetic – even, dare I say it, perky. They all talked at 50mph, without breaking a sweat. And they are all attractive. Like, really attractive. What is up with that? Is it just their youth and confidence making them glow?
While the Baby Boomers are moving into retirement and the Milennials are stretching their wings with purchasing power and their unique life perspectives, we X’s are… well, sandwiched somewhere in between. We are raising children ranging anywhere in age from elementary school to college, while at the same time taking care of aging parents or other loved ones. We are at the peak of our careers or in the midst of job changes. We are trying to keep up with technological changes that don’t come naturally so we don’t get left behind. We are battling the fact that we no longer have our youthful energy and appearance, but we now know what we will and will not put up with in life. In a nutshell, we are spread pretty thin, but like the Energizer Bunny, we keep on going – and we look damn good in pink.
So I think we R.W. X’ers need to form an alliance of sorts. To create a Cool Kids Club. Rather than feeling like a lost group, we can call ourselves Elite. We can develop a secret handshake or signal. Any prospective members of our club will have to answer the following questions to determine if they are eligible for acceptance:
Devil Dogs or Ding Dongs?
Ponch or Jon?
Dr. Sholls or Keds?
Starsky or Hutch?
Kamikaze or Harvey Wallbanger?
Finish these theme song lyrics: Baby, if you’ve ever wondered whatever became of me I’m living on the air in….
Bright red jumpsuit or Jordache jeans?
Bus head or mullet?
Bread or Kiss?
The Thorn Birds or Jonathan Livingston Seagull?
Tab or Fanta?
Sean Connery or Roger Moore?
We can have club meetings where we can debate each of our choices. Those outside our X’ers World won’t understand our passionate discussions. We will bond over our exclusivity. Who knows, we might even break out our shoulder pads and leg warmers. Come on, you know you still have some buried in a drawer somewhere. Right next to your Diary and your fan photo of Lynda Carter in her Wonder Woman boots.
So X’ers, who’s with me? Remember, there’s strength in numbers.