Generation X lacks inspiration but harbors motivation in responsibility.
Let me acknowledge my generational thumbprint of uniquely identifying characteristics to support my declarative statement.
I was born in the 1970s which makes me a bonafide Generation X-er. Most of my childhood was spent in the 1980s, enjoying the march toward a post Cold War era. I vaguely remember learning about the awfulness of the former USSR. Words like MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and detente… even more vague. (By the way, I always thought detente had something to do with USSR’s relationship in South America, but it seems to have gotten its start from the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
Oddly enough, while we were at the peak of the nuclear arms race, I enjoyed what I considered was the most perceived safety. Of course, at such a tender age my understanding of safety was nonexistent…as it should have been.
Outside of world politics, growing up as a Generation X-er were some of the greatest times. Some of my Generation X thumbprint experiences are:
- Walking to the playground from our family apartment and playing games of tag. (Now, the notion of “playing outside” is rapidly becoming nothing more than a notional phenomenon.)
- Saturday morning cartoons were practically a religion (I can still hear the Smurfs singing “la la la la la la”). Man, that song doesn’t get old…
- Looking for the cereal box prizes.
- Toys were much sturdier ….. and in my opinion much more useful.
- There was the sense of community.
- Friendships came from school and your neighborhood, leading to more meaningful and long lasting relationships.
- “Like, gag me with a spoon”… remember that?
My generation was repeatedly told to attend college and get a well paying job. According to a Bloomberg article, we have achieved success in the areas of education and the whole job thing. So far so good. I recall reading how Generation X is highly educated and highly paid, boasting about $12000 more than our parents, even accounting for inflation. Cha ching! Woo hoo for us Generation X-ers!
So far so good. I followed the path of what the baby boomers told me. I graduated from college with an engineering degree and then pursued a masters degree. After serving my country as a military officer for 5 years, I was Honorably discharged into my first engineering position which paid $89k annually. I even followed the advice of ensure that I was involved with dollar cost averaging with my investments. I’m cooking with grease now… because I am part of the collective. We even have the same carbon copy house and flashy car.
I’ve joined the ranks of a generation bearing the mark of being a cookie cutter adult… the THUMBPRINT!
According to Merriam Webster online dictionary, thumbprint is defined as
1 : an impression made by the thumb; especially : a print made by the inside of the first joint
2 : something that identifies; especially : fingerprint
Of course I grabbed a quick definition from Wikipedia which states
Human fingerprints are detailed, nearly unique, difficult to alter, and durable over the life of an individual, making them suitable as long-term markers of human identity.
It hit me… I no longer wanted to be the cookie cutter adult, but more EXTANT. Living. Standing out. I cannot remember the last time I was inspired by anything. My motivation comes from taking care of my family by going to my “good job”.
At my “good job” we have water cooler discussion about how great our kids our… one will mention how great their child is at sports and another will claim their child has the answer to cold fusion. Heck, it is now escalating to the point where someone will claim they took a bullet for the president. Of course this is all rather tongue in cheek but you get my gist. We have taken our insecurities and became the perfect helicoptering parents. Our offspring have turned into the perfect tech savvy, emotionally unavailable, stressed out, sports obsessed, unbalanced, automatons.
Perhaps all this is an indictment for myself. I think it is time for me to divorce myself from the this thumbprint. Hopefully I will create a new reality, more balanced kids, and a new path designed to remove my comfort and challenge me.
Originally posted 2016-08-06 01:12:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter