I’m part of a “lost generation.” While some sociologists and authors include 1980 as the last birth year for “Generation X“, several more end it somewhere in the late 1970s. I got an e-mail this week that included me in Generation X for purposes of its commentary. But otherwise, for the most part, people born in 1980 (and the rest of the early ’80s) are without claim to a generation.
Generation Y begins with people born in the late 1980s and continuing through the 1990s. My Mom was at the tail end of the “Silent Generation” while Dad was more in the “Baby Boomer” category. 1980 is in limbo.
I’m not sure why I want to cling to and claim a generation, but a big part of me does. I tend to think of myself as a Gen X-er, sans angst and cynicism. I view the Gen Y “kids” as having been born with entitlement issues and silver spoon mentalities. Whether this is accurate or not doesn’t negate the fact that there is a distinct difference between the people in high school right now and the people born nearer 1980.
Several years ago, Mom gave me Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation” to read. This piece takes a look at the generation that grew up in the Depression, fought in World War II, gave birth to a majority of the Baby Boomers, and went on to build America along the way.
Again, there is a marked contrast in this generation that Mr. Brokaw highlights from the successor generations. As this generation’s lights are fading, the mark they left on this country (and the world) is certainly indelible.
So what mark will Gen X leave to they who follow? Will Gen X be remembered for the distrust and skepticism? Or will Gen X prove to be a monumental generation yet? To be honest, I’m a bit afraid to know how Gen Y will be remembered.
But for now I am going to claim Gen X. My birth year and the next few following sit unto themselves, without a generational home. There is a gap. And for purposes of minding it, Gen X gets the nod.