I know this sounds like a special thing to say, but as someone born in 1977, the truth is I’ve never identified with either Gen X-ers or Millennials. We were the babies who grew up without the internet and went on to find online jobs. I could ran loose as a child, without any real fear of predators, sex parties, prescription drugs, or being bullied into taking my own life before I hit puberty. My parents used me as free labor and didn’t feel bad about it. We were spanked and don’t (all) need therapists. We only got trophies if we won, and my parents, at least, never gave me the impression that the world revolved around me.
We played Space Invaders and Pac man on Atari. We left the movie theatre crying after watching ET, and we watched Friends and ER and Buffy, then Angel, then Dawson’s Creek and Beverly Hills 90210 on Fox. And we watched them live because the first DVR (TiVo) didn’t emerge until I had graduated from college, and taping things was always a huge hassle, especially because your little brother would just tape over it “on accident” anyway.
We had pagers in high school, not cell phones. We had cell phones in college, but they stayed in our backpacks because they couldn’t do anything but call, and it cost so much we actually reserved them for emergencies. We used dial-up. Instant Messenger, ICQ and felt like the future had arrived, and we spent hours waiting to hear Oh ohhh noise, hoping that our crush had signed online.
If you’re getting all nostalgic reading this, chances are that you were born between 1977 and 1983 (most likely 73 and up can also relate to this). It’s only seven years – not enough to count as a generation – but our experience is unique to us. We were the last kids to make it all the way to grown up without pervasive technology. We were the first twenty-somethings to learn how to use iPods and internet on our phones, how to text and online date. We straddle a gap, exist between two worlds, and have, in some ways, lived two separate lives instead of one. And that, I think, earns us our own title (at the very least).
We are Xennials – a mix between the so-called pessimistic Gen X and optimistic Millennials, says TR Ashworth Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Melbourne, Dan Woodman.
“The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group – who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident”.
Woodman went on to explain that while millennials have always grown up with technology, Xennials had to make an adjustment to embrace it.
“It was a particularly unique experience. You have a childhood, youth and adolescence free of having to worry about social media posts and mobile phones… We learned to consume media and came of age before there was Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and all these things where you still watch the evening news or read the newspaper,” he noted.
So what traits can one expect from a Xennial? In a nutshell:
While Xennials are fluent in modern digital culture, they aren’t chained to it and “have some ability, or at least a latent space in our brains, to unplug.”
Economically, Xennials have seen it all. They are old enough to remember the end of a long period of growth (following a small recession) in the 1990s, but they came of age around the time that the “dot-com bubble” burst and saw the decline and major recession of the 2000s. In other words, they were “first given a sweet taste of the good life, and then kicked in the face.”
Basically, Xennials aren’t too much of any one thing — and a state of balance is usually better than an extreme. A Xennial seems like a pretty good thing to be.If you want to find out how Xennial you are, try taking this quiz!
Original article at DidYouKnow by Trisha Leigh Zeigenhorn
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