Wednesday, March 25, 2020

X Marks The Spot

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Hello Everyone:

It is a lovely early spring Wednesday afternoon and usually The Blogger Candidate is here for you.  With the Democratic primary on hold for a little while and the candidates are doing video fireside chats in their basements, The Candidate Forum is in self-isolation.  Be that as it may, socially distant Blogger is he19re for you with a look at Generation X.

Generation X, the MTV Generation,  Generation Slacker.  These are a few of names given to the demographic cohort born, typically, between 1965 and 1980, although there is evidence that suggests the start date is earlier.  Why are talking about the generation that was sandwiched between two boldfaced cohorts: the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Millennials (1984-1996)?  The reason why we Yours Truly is bring up the subject today has to do with quarantine, social distancing, and self-isolation and why this cohort is better suited for it than their boomer parents (and older siblings) and Millennials (younger siblings and children).

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What is Generation X?  According to Dr. Gail Saltz M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospitatal Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of the podcast PersonologyXers are generally characterized as

...on the whole, seen as happy and balanced in work and active compared with other generations... (; Mar. 19, 2020; date accessed Mar. 25, 2020).

The Xers lived through the AIDS and crack epidemics, part of the civil rights movements, recessions, and came of age when both parents worked outside the home.  Dr. Saltz elaborates,

Many were latch key kids growing up, learned how to fend for themselves early, and have lower expectations in terms of being taken care of,... They are noted for a heartiness and ability to soldier on (Ibid)

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Why are Xers trending on Twitter and thriving during this temporary quarantine period?  Easy answer, the Xers just put their heads down and deal with the situation.  "Keep calm, carry on," "stiff upper lip."  Shannon O'Neill, Ph.D, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Health System, explains,

If I could sum up Generation X in one word, it would be self sufficient,... This generation enjoys taking on responsibility, while also maintaining their personal freedom and prioritizing work/life balance (Ibid)

Another quality Xers possess is selflessness.  John Mayer, Ph.D, the author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life and licensed clinical psychologist, told Parade,

They understand and have empathy with the overall perspective of what needs to be done (; Mar. 19, 2020).

Licensed marriage and family therapist, founder of Chicago's Skylight Counseling Center, and the author of the book You Are Not Crazy: Letters from Your Therapist, observed

I could see Gen Xers providing much-needed calm, while also following the rules needed to make out society a safer place (; Mar. 19, 2020).

The COVID-19 quarantine seems like prime time for Generation X.

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Generation X seems to have finally found its purpose during the pandemic.  The risk averse generation raised on stranger danger and Just Say No is finally being celebrated for this quality, necessary to the survival of humanity.  Generation Xers are notoriously independent.

The independent streak was fostered by the need to look after themselves every day, while their boomer parents worked, learned to be comfortable with (the horror) a television with only three channels and video games.  Now, for the first time in the lives of these latchkey kids, the question on everyone's lips is Why can't everyone be more like Generation X? (; Mar. 25, 2020).  The Xers have finally arrived.

Writer Lauren Hough spiked the ball with this tweet

Shout out to Gen X, the only generation who can keep our asses at home without being told, the motherf***ing latchkey kids, the generation used to being neglected by f***king everyone,... We'll be only ones left (; Mar. 25, 2020).

Three cheers to the generation that survived Ronald Reagan, mass incarceration, the savings and loan collapse, and really bad hair on nothing more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sheer monotony.  Yet, the Xers' Baby Boom, Millennial, and Generation Z counterparts cannot help themselves, continuing to flip the double bird at COVID-19.

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Spring Break 2020
Miami, Florida

  Far be it from Yours Truly to shame the Zs from crowding the beaches during spring break or the boomers for not taking the threat more seriously, and being more like the Xers.  Honestly, the differences in the generational responses has to do with where each one is in life.

Generation X is also known as the "sandwich generation," taking care of their aging boomer parents while raising their own families.  The ultimate role reversal: Telling mom and dad to follow the rules, getting mad when their high-risk category parents refuse to listen despite the evidence.  The boomer parents grew up during the post World War II period of prosperity, with a sense of optimism.  They fought the big struggles: Feminism,Vietnam, Civil Rights, which left a lingering doubt in authority.  Built successful careers and experienced a lifestyle their Silent Generation parents could not imagine.  While it is understandable that senior citizens do not like to be told what to do but there is a time and a place for this kind of stubbornness, this is not one of them.

The same sentiment applies for Generation Z.  The Zs have grown up with scandal, crisis, and fake news.  For all their digital know-how, the Zs value in-person contact, fueling their urge to go out and be among people.  Millennials are also part of the most socially connected generation.  They are also part of the most overscheduled generation, now faced with an abundance of free time and lack of direction.  This is not to say that Millennials are not complying with the restrictions.  Older Millennials are more likely to follow the Xers lead, out of concern for their families while younger Millennials are more likely to follow the Z's example and go out.

Generational differences are a primary factor in the way we respond to the demand to "flatten the curve."  Bottom line is this, whether you are a Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, or Generation Z, if you want to make it all go away, stay home unless it is absolutely necessary, wash your hands, stay home if your sick, and maintain a six-foot social distance.  One more thing, big shout out to Generation X.

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