Those who were born around 1980 and are now almost forty or a year or two plus or minus, I call them my contemporaries. Me and my peers, we are a very special genre and are going to have a very special place in the future history of mankind. I take our place and position in the world very seriously and I will explain it why and thus want your absolute attention on every word I write here.
Earlier we either fell under the Generation X (born between 1965 to 80) or the millennials (born between 1981 and 1995) cohorts, but now we are called “xennials” a combination of gen-X and millennials as we were born at the cusp of the two. So if you were born between the year 1976 and 1984 you are a xennial, someone who has seen the best and worst of two worlds.
As the ones born in the transition we have some very significant distinctions from our predecessors and successors. We have the dual traits of two very different generations.
1. We have both the hardworking, workaholic genes of gen-X and the easygoing attitude of the millennials. That probably makes us seek a good work-life balance in our life.
2. We have the gen-X conservative values as well as the liberal ways of millennials. And that’s why we are mostly conflicted in the inside.
3. We are neither completely devoted and loyal generation X nor we are absolutely indifferent and impatient generation Y. Hence, we are less rigid and more flexible and agile to change.
4. We lived our initial twenty years of life without mobile phones and internet but have been using the technology and social media for almost twenty years now. So we are tech savvy and also know both the advantages and disadvantages of the necessary evil.
5. Like our predecessors we did not get to reap the economic boom for good 15 to 20 years and like our successors we did not start career in global recession. We had had five to ten years of career amid plentiful prosperity under our belts before the meltdown began. Thus, we may enjoy extravagance but we aren’t pound foolish.
6. We love our families and care about the society as we inherited it from gen-X and those before them and we are somewhat self-infatuated narcissists too as that’s what our next in line evolved to be.
7. We are neither pessimists and over-cautious like the ones born before us nor we are audacious optimists and outgoing like those who came after us. We are realists and are trying to deal with the realities of life in the best possible way.
In the nutshell, we “xennials” are neither old school nor we are new wave and this distinction makes us a very good mix of the two worlds. We are the last generation to have lived our old traditions and the first one to go ultramodern. We have read books and we have played video games. We have owned audio tapes and we have used iPods and Bluetooth earplugs. We can wear chic westerns and can carry traditional wear with equal elan. We relish our local foods as well as the global cuisines with identical fervor.
All this duality at times makes us confused and conflicted especially while dealing with our children who unlike us belong to a pure cohort, generation Z. Generation Z are those who are born between year 1996 to 2015. Most of xennials are parents of almost or already teenagers which is the generation Z. This generation was born with phones and tabs in their hands, have ambitious and indulging providers, are compulsive consumers of all kinds of trends and desire absolute freedom without questions asked.
Now the question is how our conflicted cohort is dealing with this overindulged, narcissistic gen-Z? This is our life’s current scenario:
1. We are liberals so we give them liberty but get worried because we are conservatives too.
2. We mostly earn well and are indulging. Hence, we have provided them with almost everything but we flinch when we see them not valuing what they have and feeling entitled to have more.
3. We use technology in every form, we are all over the social media but we want to limit their access when we see them overdoing.
4. We eat, drink, party hard as a modern way of life and when we are being replicated by the gen-Z we aren’t sure if it is right or wrong.
Everyday, we are facing one or other dilemmas in our life especially as parents of teenagers because we are a mixed generation. We can’t completely let them loose and we don’t know how to stop the inevitable without being the despised hypocrites.
My fellow xennials, what to do in the fix that we all find ourselves in, just because of the year we were born in?
In my opinion it is not a predicament but a blessing that we are where we are. Our generation has been given a perfect chance to evolve and become better than all our preceding generations. Our prerogative is not to choose to be either X or Y but to take the best of the two and let go of the worst of both. This generation has a unique chance to amalgamate the finest of two wonderful worlds and be the best breed ever.
The job may sound tedious but is doable. Our generation actually has a lot of de cluttering to do. We are almost everything that our parents were and all that they were not. We have all the inheritances as well as the new learned ways of life influenced by the two generations overlapping our lives. For a life less complicated and conflicted we need to emerge as a new entity. If you agree to what you have read so far, there are simple steps to follow.
1. Be mindful of all that you are. Separate your own inherent attributes and values and the ones you have merely adopted to fit in among others especially the newer generations. Ask yourself, “Am I really a very social person or I just hang out because everyone does?” “What purpose the use of technology is serving for me?” “What is my true calling?”
2. List down the characteristics and values that have served you best and are important for your well being especially as a parent. Retain those.
3. List down all those features, values and habits in your life that are detrimental to your peaceful existence but you are holding onto them for sentimental reasons or merely because you never realized that they were undesirable. Unlearn them or give them up.
4. After the unlearning and de littering if you feel the need to learn a new skill or value, learn it. Remember, we have to have the best of the two worlds.
This process will take time, conscious effort and especially a lot of self consciousness, but will make you free from lot of unnecessary baggage. If you aren’t able to manage it on your own, you can take a Life Coach’s help. Do it yourself or with someone’s help, just do it because you are overloaded, over-burnt and overwhelmed by the old and the new and the contradicted, unsorted and inconsistent you cannot guide the gen-Z.
My fellow xennials, it’s high time we do our self appraisal because it’s around 40 that midlife crisis strikes and we are almost there and some self discovery and decluttering will certainly help us find our balance and become the better people we were certainly born to be.
Will share my thoughts on how to deal with the gen-Z in my next blog. Till then help yourself.