Friday, August 3, 2012

In between

The media call me a baby boomer. Born in 1956, when I was growing up we were considered the trailing end of the post-war babies, born to parents who were vets.

I was an adult when I met someone 8 years younger than me who also considered herself a Baby Boomer. But for me, she missed the two key markers of that generation-- parents who were vets of World War 2, and personal memory of the death of JFK.  Although we hadn't given the generation that followed us a name yet, I would have place her with them--Generation X.

But now I think that she and I really share more with each other than we do with either the Boomers or the Xers.  A little too young for the hippies, a little too old for the Me Generation, those of us now in late middle age have to borrow our identities from the two most unpopular generations in modern times. The Boomers, with their reputation for self-centered entitlement, the Xers with their thoughtless consumerism. We look in both directions and try to distance ourselves from the blame.

After X they telescoped the generations, and gave the ones between the Xers and the Millennials a name- Gen Y, the generation without an identity.

My kids are solidly Millennial-- at once cynic and crusader, trying to delay adulthood because the world they've grown into isn't ready for them. Heading toward 30, they live like college students, in group homes lightly scented with pot and exotic cuisine; tomatoes growing on the roof, powering themselves by pedal because none of them has a job with a secure enough income to afford a car, or the gas to power it, or the faith that the world even cares.

I worry about them. The Boomers blew the promise, and the Xers their home equity, and there we were stuck in the middle, bearing the generation that had to watch the towers fall just as they became aware of the world.

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