Are You There, God? It’s Me, Gen X
Please, could you just cut us all a break?
It sure seems like you’re otherwise occupied, God, but could you cut us all a break? It would also be really, really swell if you could do something super sweet for us Gen Xers. A lot of us were already worried about funding our retirements. My IRA disappeared so fast, it’s like it got raptured.
Maybe you’ve forgotten about us because we’re your middle child, sandwiched between those boomers and millennials. There are also fewer of us, so we’re always trying to get your attention. It’s always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, and then Cindy needs someone to tie her shoes. But, come on, how about a little love for Jan? So here are a few Gen-X pointers to get to know us better.
Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill is my spirit animal.
I’ve never seen the Rolling Stones play live, but I can name all of the Beastie Boys — by their given names.
I cared about the environment before “vegan for life” was a thing. Yes, I made an exception for foie gras, but we didn’t know back then what it took to produce such deliciousness! We. Did. Not. Know.
I might be responsible for a small amount of ozone depletion from the aerosol hairspray I used from 1982 to 1984. But, again. We. Did. Not. Know.
If I were a millennial, I’d have tattoos; and while I don’t currently have any tats, I might get one. If I do, it will be the nautical coordinates to an endangered coastline or the longitude and latitude GPS to a home I never had or poetry written in an arcane language in Mardian Pro font. And if anyone asked me what it meant I’d say, “It’s a secret.” See, no boomer would do that.
I knew that TikTok was musical.ly — and even though I never went on musical.ly I was woke to it.
I might have just used woke incorrectly, but I am woke. Gen X is woke! After all, Zadie Smith is Gen X!
I’m not on LinkedIn like most boomers, but I also don’t have my own Hulu account. Like a millennial, I’m glomming on to my older sister’s ex-husband’s account.
I don’t own a single pair of pumps — that’s the footwear of the Patriarchy. I don't wear dad sneakers, either, but when I bought a pair for my Zillenial offspring, I didn’t say, OMG, this is the stupidest trend ever. You look like you’re wearing orthopedic loafers. I thought it, but I didn’t say it, as Gen Xers have to be very accepting because we gave the world grunge.
I don’t own a signature necklace. I almost never wear pearls, even though I have my mother’s and I have worn pearls to weddings because it’s kinda sweet, right?
I did once tweet that macadamia is one nut milk too far, but I almost never roll my eyes at cashew — and oat milk is totes fire. A boomer would never use the word totes.
I was fluid before it was called fluid. Once. In college. But that counts. And I never called it “experimenting” — that’s so boomer.
I have nude pics on my phone. I took them because of an irregular mole, but still.
But here’s the big thing: I’m not an “old person with money.” I’m old and I don’t have money.
And in the post COVID-19 world, I expect to have even less. I'm still paying tuition for my kid to attend “bedroom college” even though my child is now majoring in Rubik's Cube and minoring in sourdough starter.
And, God, you know how I’ve said that I’m an atheist? I’m willing to walk that back if you could just send a cure, ASAP. Even soon would work, and I’ll be back on Team God. And maybe, could you magically make me 10 years older so I can collect the Social Security I paid into and now worry that I’ll never see?
Oh, one more little thing: Please don’t let anyone “OK, Boomer” me because it would be very triggering as I’m sheltering in place and eating tuna straight out of a can, my washing machine just gave out, and anyway, I already look 10 years older because nobody — nobody — looks good on Zoom.
Annabelle Gurwitch is the New York Times best-selling author of I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50. @annabelgurwitch