I found out the other day that I am part of a “micro generation” born between Generation X and the Millennials. Yep, I fall right between generations, and boy, do people my age want some recognition. They do not like being left out, nor do they like things vague. I know this because people my age were acting this way 35 years ago; why would they change?
The defining years where one generation starts and another ends is always unclear, spanning several years. So someone came up with a term that applied just to us, the in-betweeners. The term is not “the last people born before computers became widespread” though, because it was too long. They come up with the term “Xennials” (you know, combining the x from Generation X with ennials from Millennials… I bet you see what they did there).
That is the most popular term, but not the only one. The other term is the “Oregon Trail Generation,” but not because we were old enough to walk the Oregon Trail. No, it is because the only educational video game for us to play on our green screen computers at school was called “The Oregon Trail.” I belong to a micro generation named after a video game.
According to the internet (Where else would I look this stuff up? I’m a “Xennial!”) we have both the nihilism of Generation X and the optimism of the Millennials. So we are both depressed and happy at the same time. Things are starting to make a little more sense now. It might be why Prozac is our favorite pill of choice.
According to the experts who make all this up (Are there really experts out there in this field? I don’t know!) Xennials are those born between 1977 and 1985. We have several common characteristics, namely, we knew exactly what typewriters and rotary phones looked like when we were children, but we just didn’t use them ourselves. Back then, we also knew what computers looked like, because they were on TV, or we saw them in banks, but not in our own houses, or definitely not our own pockets. We didn’t have anything as strange as pocket-sized computers except on Saturday morning cartoons. Cartoons were pretty strange back then.
A few years back, I ran across a young man who was definitely a Millennial, or even younger than a Millennial (What are they called? Generation Smart Phone?). He wore a shirt that said “Nirvana” on it. Now, for those of you who aren’t a Xennial, Nirvana was a heavy metal band that changed musical history by screaming EVEN LOUDER than other heavy metal bands. Their leader, Kurt Cobain, died tragically at a young age.
It is cool to like their music even now, because they were influential, but I was a little shocked to see someone so young wearing a shirt with a band so old. I remembered listening to that band when Kurt Cobain was still alive. What was he doing wearing that shirt?
I don’t listen to that sort of music now, heaven forbid, because those songs are way depressing. But other people can listen, even other generations. Trying to track what one generation will like and what one won’t is pretty fuzzy science. That’s because just when you get one group of people figured out, they always change on you. Even those of us who don’t quite fit any generation at all.
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