Betwixt Two Follies
I am in the mood for a short, grumpy rant. Though, I don’t want to be overly critical so as to come across mean-spirited. So, there will probably need to be some lightness and tongue-in-cheekiness here and there. But… not so much so that it comes across as detached or “ironic” (and in this case, I mean “ironic” not in the actual definition of the word, but rather as in the popular connotation for which “mocking” is a much more correct term). And I do want to focus on my own experiences here, while at the same time deferring to the collective thoughts about such things…
It seems I am a confused and muddled mess.
This is, perhaps, my lot in life (and the lot of many others).
You see, I was born in that DMZ-like period between Generation X and Generation Y. Since these kinds of things are nowhere near an exact science, depending on which demographer you ask, I either caught the tail end of GenX or am among the first of the Millennials. This is true for all of us born between, say 1977 and 1982. I fall squarely in the middle of that period, clocking into the world in April of 1979.
I’m a bit too young to have been in my late teens and 20’s during the Slacker era which characterized GenX. And I’m far past my late teens and 20’s now, which is where the most characteristically Millennial folks find themselves. But, that leads me to a question:
Why do we now define a generation based on how it acts in their teens and 20’s? The Baby Boomers were considered counter-cultural hippies in their youth – but by the time they were reaching their 30’s and 40’s, they had become The Man they used to rail against. Likewise, as GenX is getting older, they are largely becoming more responsible and civic-minded. One can only hope that as Millennials age, they too will grow up some day (though, they aren’t calling them the Peter Pan Generation for nothing… so I won’t hold my breath).
It’s a curious thing, being betwixt two follies. GenX disengaged as youth, and now that they should be in charge of things, simply don’t have the courage to be leaders. Or maybe it’s not so much courage that they lack. More correctly, it may be they just don’t know how to lead. They are uncomfortable with leadership and so end up doing little more than hand-wringing. This seems to be true in every aspect of their life. From business to government to religion to parenting.
I’ll take Parenting a little further. Not to put too fine a point on it, but, frankly, Gen X’ers have raised and are raising brats.
They are afraid of discipline and instead have gone overboard with coddling. This has created the little monsters who make up a good chunk of Generation Y (and all of Z so far).
So, again, while Gen X seems to have stopped disengaging, they simply don’t have the skills they need to “be grown-up, successfully”.
Millennials, however, aren’t so much hand-wringers as they are simply just oblivious to everything except themselves. If narcissism were an art form, Generation Y would be Grand Masters. Self-absorption is natural to a Millennial and they don’t seem to know any other way to be.
The cheerleaders for Millennials suggest they are very other-centered. They base this on the fact that many Y’ers are very socially liberal. So they are accepting of others despite their differences. Rah Rah Millenials! You go right ahead and shove off the imagined bigotry of your parents and grandparents.
Supposedly, these socially liberal views are evidence that Millennials care about others.
That argument is (to put it delicately) a big steaming pile of horse poop.
The truth is that Millennials accept and condone all manner of behaviors for the sole reason that they don’t wish their own libertinism to be questioned.
They have to accept everyone else’s behavioral and lifestyle choices because they don’t want anyone to criticize or condemn anything they themselves choose to do. For example, the “Bro Choice” movement has nothing to do with fine, upstanding fellows who care deeply about women’s ‘reproductive rights’. Rather, it is simply a convenient cover to protect and perpetuate the ‘hookup culture’ which only benefits the “Bro’s”.
So, I can choose to identify with either a generation of ineffectual former slackers… or a generation of dopey hedonists.
I think I’ll just secede from both. I hereby renounce my dual citizenship in both X-ville and Y-land.
I will call my new generation The 79’ers. I will open up membership to anyone, for we are not a generation bound by birth dates, but by a common outlook and a shared vision.
The 79’ers Creed
We are Artists, Dreamers, and Story Tellers who have also figured out how to be Doers.
We understand we are not the center of the universe. This does not cripple us with angst, rather it frees us.
We believe in Community. Real community. This does not mean hanging out on or through social media. It means getting together with other people from all backgrounds and actually sharing Life.
We believe that Traditions generally point us towards Truth, but we are not afraid to test conventional wisdom if it begins to steer us wrong.
We believe in Absolutes and reject Relativism in all its forms.
We believe Work is not a means to an end, but a worthy endeavor in and of itself.
We shun consumerism in favor of balanced, ordered living.
We believe the pillars of society are faith, family, and fellowship within a community.
We don’t believe “the pursuit of happiness” has anything to do with feelings or material wealth. Rather, it is about the ability to educate oneself and find the best way one is called to contribute to the ages.
We believe in discernment and have a healthy skepticism regarding the motives of our fellow Man.
We believe Man is naturally prone to wickedness and is incapable of selfless good of his own accord.
We value both knowledge as well as wisdom.
That’s a start anyway. What do you think? Are there any takers? Who else wants to reject the Silents, the Boomers, the GenX’ers, the Millennials, and the Z’s?
Long live the 79’ers!