I am a member of Generation X by the skin of my teeth. According to most definitions, the year where Generation X crosses over to the new class of Millennials is 1980. I was born when the leaves began to turn in 1979. Though I relate to the experiences of my Gen X cohort, there was a different vibe to growing up when you were on the cusp. Here is how you know you came of age straddling the X/Millennial generational line:
1. Clueless is dear to you but so is Mean Girls.
2. Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” played at the eighth-grade dance.
3. That same year, you could often be found rollerblading with your friends.
4. You danced to Snoop Dogg while wearing a flannel, jeans and Doc Martens at sleepovers. You danced to Eminem while wearing your black bootcut pants at college parties.
5. Technology was integrated into your school experience in a rudimentary way. You may have had a square Apple desktop or two in your elementary classroom. You may have had a computer lab full of them in the older grades where you played Oregon Trail. You emailed your high school friends from the dorm room, and a few kids who were ahead of the curve called home on their cell phones.
6. You burnt CDs for your friends. You set-up the five-disc changer for parties. Perhaps you toyed with Napster.
7. Paper mail still happened.
8. You went off to college when the 90210 kids did. You watched the finale while home on a break.
9. Though attractive, TV and movie stars still looked like real people when you were young.
10. Your earliest years of adulthood were marked and forever changed by 9/11.
11. You had a hard time getting a job post-9/11 and then lost a good chunk of what you managed to accumulate in the Great Recession.
12. You tested out MySpace.
13. Today you have a sizable number of friends who don’t use social media.
14. You have hipster friends who live in the city, eat local and refuse to buy a house in the suburbs. You also have friends with five kids, two SUVs and two mortgages.
15. You have no kids, little kids, big kids or anything in between. Your kids code, swipe, hack, and some of them will straddle their generational line too.
Those of us who came into this world at the very end on Generation X and the beginning of the Millennial generation have a kinship. There are only a few of us who have the 1980s integrated into our childhood psyches but experienced coming of age when the information age took flight. We are the last of the Gen-Xers.