We are Gen X. The generation between the Boomers and the Millennials. We haven’t gotten much recognition until recently, hence we were nicknamed ‘The Forgotten Generation’. We are born between 1965 and 1980 and we also go by “Latchkey Kids”. But if you are an X’er like me, you had a great childhood and witnessed so much history as well as danced to the best music ever made.
Generation X was named after a couple of books of the same name. Even Billy Idol’s first band was named Generation X! (If you don’t know who Billy Idol is, google it.) Some other references to our generation are MTV Generation, Slackers, Middle Child Generation, Baby Busters and Post Boomers. But I don’t think we really cared what we were called as long as we were called home by the light of the streetlamps for dinner.
We were the last generation to have used rotary phones connected to a wall. We are pre-computers, cell phones, streaming services, remote controls, video games etc. So, imagine how we felt as each of the above become available to us? We were the remote controls in our homes, and it felt great not to have to get up and change channels for mom and dad! And when computers came out, we loved those floppy disks. lol Video games and music videos were a huge part of our growing up years too. MTV was all about the music with video to tell the story. Not like it is today. First MTV video was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by the Buggles, and you can hear it in your closest grocery store or gas station as “easy listening” now.
Social media was HUGE for our generation. We were ready to learn how to use it, unlike our Boomer parents and older siblings. Gen Xer’s were a big influence in the dot com startups.
The 70’s was a time of moms joining the workforce leaving us home alone. But we had our own house key thus leaving us known as Latchkey Kids. We remember lots of talk about the end of the Vietnam War and Watergate. Divorce rates were high, but we coped with single parent homes as we were always left to our own devices anyway. We also were the first generation after Jim Crow laws and remember a lot of the Civil Rights Movement moments. Then in the 80’s we learned about Crack, AIDS, Drugs (this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs, any questions?). And remember all those after school specials? OMG!
College enrollment boomed because of us, and we Preppies grew up to be Yuppies. In 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall was extremely monumental. and the cold war began to thaw. We also remember Apartheid in South Africa and then we immediately think about the song, ‘We Are The World’.
Music was very much inspired by our generation. Genres like Alternative Rock, Grunge, Hip Hop, Punk, New Wave, Indie Pop, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Yes, some of the bands were actually Boomers but more like Rebel Boomers who really understood our generation and teenage angst. Dancing was a big deal and we all watched American Band Stand and Soul Train. I miss those shows!
Then there were those iconic movies. The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Star Wars, The Exorcists, Halloween, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s, Pretty in Pink, Lost Boys and The Outsiders to name just a few. And with those movies The Brat Pack was born and included: Anthony Michael Hall, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy. What movies and music do you remember most?
Let’s bring it back to 9/11. Did you know that a big percentage of First Responders were Gen Exer’s? Even the Flight 93 passengers who attacked the terrorists were also Gen Xer’s. This moment in history created a newly passionate patriotism in our generation as well as turned us on to more charity towards others. Remember that?
There were a few polls done recently about how Generation X was doing in midlife. We seem to be happy, productive and we didn’t become helicopter parents. Our parenting style was more, we will hang back but if something big happens, you’re gonna hear X parents louder than ever.
What are some of your growing up memories? How accurate to you think our generation has been portrayed over the years? And lastly, do you still listen to the good music and watch those 80’s movies?
Peace Love and Margaritas!