Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis? | Salon.com


…There is a reason, says historian and generational expert Neil Howe, why members of Generation X have been cast as perpetual adolescents. Their parents – “the Silent Generation” – originated the stereotypical midlife breakdown, and they came of age, and fell apart, in a very different world. Generally stable and solvent, they headed confidently into adult lives about the time they were handed their high school diplomas, and married not long after that. You see it in Updike’s Rabbit books – they gave up their freedom early, for what they expected to be decades of stability.

“The Xer in midlife is facing the opposite midlife than the Silent Generation,” Howe says. “The Silent experienced claustrophobia. Xers experience agoraphobia — everything is possible.”

That’s where this generation gets its reputation as reluctant to grow up. “It’s very hard to mature,” he says. “In order to mature and become an adult, you have to shut off options. The way Xers were raised, there were always options — their parents told them to keep options open.”

But Xers started to see that their options were not as limitless as their parents had led them to believe…

via Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis? – Salon.com.

3 comments

  1. Yup! You speak the truth. This coming from Gen X. We don’t know truth nor do we know what truth is. Why can’t all generations work together to define what it is we need to do to make OUR world a better place?

    1. I’ve been struggling with this for a long time. Of course, my studies of Plato tell me that humanity has been struggling with the same problem for at least 3000 years. Still… coming into history where I have one foot in the Boomer generation and one in Gen-X, I have wrestled with how little dialog really happens across generations so we can try to deal with what really endangers us. Expecially second wave X-ers (those born 75-84) and first wave millennials (85-94) have been waking up to how the world is definitely working the way they were told to expect it to work. How do we get Builders (WWII), Boomers, X-ers, and Millennials to begin dialoguing over what we have in common and stop seeing the differences that keep us isolated???

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