29 Things That Identify You as Generation X

by Emma Waverman
Originally Published: 
Generation X

Generation X. We were once maligned just like the Millennials. We graduated into a recession and were slated to be the first generation to do worse than our parents. We had never fought in a war, we grew up in the suburbs, and the ’80s defined us.

Now we are in power, and we are confused by those free-spirited Millennials with their high self-esteem and low-riding pants. But sometimes the lines are blurry: Who is truly a Gen Xer, and what is Generation Y anyway?

The Atlantic did a deep dive into the question of where one generation ends and one begins and came up with what they are calling the definitive list of generational boundaries. They say that Generation X is made up of people born in the years 1965–1984. Generation Y is a “made-up thing,” and our coattail-chasing Millennials were born between 1982–2004. But I don’t need an infographic to define Generation X. I know that any real Xer can self-identify by the following traits:

Your copy of ‘Generation X’ by Douglas Coupland is dog-eared.
You identify with the word slacker, even though you are an upstanding citizen with a full-time job.
You wore acid wash and now hide the photographic evidence.
Molly Ringwald was your girl crush/crush.
In moments of stress, you whisper to yourself, ‘Stay gold, Ponyboy.’
You haven’t gotten over River Phoenix or Kurt Cobain’s death.
You wish Jordan Catalano had ended up being nicer to Angela.
You dressed up for a Madonna concert and split a pair of lace gloves with your best friend.
You have had arguments over who made the more iconic films: John Hughes or Cameron Crowe.
You can name all of Martin Sheen’s sons and every member of the Brat Pack.
Your tapes of Joy Division, New Order and Depeche Mode broke, so you had to replace them by going to the record store. You still play Pearl Jam and Dr. Dre and sing along to Backstreet Boys. ‘Purple Rain’ makes you cry.


You know what a record store is. You know what a mixtape is. You also know the agony of making one.
‘Take On Me’ by A-ha is the first music video you remember watching on MTV.
Your first email address was an AOL address, and you know exactly when and where you signed up.
Troy Dyer might still be your pretend boyfriend.
You see Doc Martens in store windows and briefly want a pair again.

© flickr

You know that ‘Heathers’ was the original ‘Mean Girls.’
The beeps of ‘Pac-Man’ still make you antsy.
You popped your collar, especially while wearing Vuarnets.
Sometimes at the airport, you yell, “The plane! The plane!”
You know that Sarah Jessica Parker is really a ‘Square Peg.’
When the Berlin Wall fell, you watched it on one of the three network TV stations and felt great relief that the Cold War was over.
The first test of a boy’s manners was if he unlocked your car door and then walked around to his side.
Thursday nights on NBC were ‘Must-See TV,’ and you never missed it.
You still secretly like U2.
It was totally normal to tie up the phone line for three hours a night.
Your afternoons were spent riding your bike with friends and coming home when the streetlights went on.


You are still wondering how you got so old.
Debt, lots of it.

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