Gratitude. What better way to celebrate Generation X than to give thanks for who we are? From our work-hard, play-hard mentality to our roll-with-the-changes attitude, Gen Xers are the perfect blend of the old and the new. We were born in the last decades to experience the simpler times—when people valued community and a get-up-off-the-couch social life. Gen Xers also came of age in the decades of new technology that influenced our music, movies, shopping, communications, business, and so much more. If you can appreciate these four reasons to be grateful, you’re likely a Generation Xer.
1. Gen Xers Strike a Balance
Gen Xers have a work hard, play hard mentality. A mentality that combines the hard-working ethics of previous generations with the play-loving entitlement embraced by Millennials and Gen Zs. Our parents and grandparents instilled in us hardworking, loyal, and independent values, but Gen Xers also know how to have a good time. And we do. Gen Xers strike a balance and know there’s a time and place for everything. When there’s work to be done, Gen Xers focus on the task at hand. And when we play, look out! Gen Xers make it count.
Just how balanced are Gen Xers? The global pandemic showed the world how resilient Gen Xers truly are. As Courtney Dabney explains in It Took a Global Pandemic, But Generation X is Finally Getting Love, we've spent our lives training for the lockdowns. Because many of us were latchkey kids, spending much of our time at home alone after school, “Social isolation is not only tolerable for us, Gen X requires a regular dose of it to recharge our batteries. So, while you might already be flipping out, we are basking in the downtime.”
2. Gen Xers Are Lucky
Gen Xers were the last generation to experience many things that some kids today will never know. As kids, socializing was in person. We played outside and saw our friends every day. I remember summers playing kick-the-can, churning homemade ice cream, and catching lightning bugs with the neighborhood kids. We grew up with those friends all through high school. Our neighbors were our friends, and we knew them well. Gen Xers had video game arcades and skating rinks where we hung out with our friends—remember the couple skate with the lights turned low?
Many of us got spankings when we misbehaved, and we learned there were consequences to our choices. Yeah, we did some stupid stuff. Thankfully, it wasn’t recorded and shared with the world. At school, we learned how to handle bullies and laugh at dirty jokes without wigging out.
3. Gen Xers Are Totally a Generation of Leaders
Technology is in our DNA and has had a lasting impact on our music and pop culture. We ushered in MTV and gave rise to music videos. Synthesizer technology influenced the pop music of the ‘80s and gave our music unique sounds.
We were the first generation of gamers, and we had choices. We could meet up at the Arcade or chill at home with Atari or Nintendo. We introduced microwave ovens and ATM machines. We mastered the Internet and witnessed the dot.com boom.
Gen Xers phased out typewriters for home computers, albums and VHS tapes for CDs, beepers for mobile phones, and Polaroids for digital cameras. We entered the workforce with high-speed copiers and hand-held calculators. We said goodbye to fax machines and welcomed email.
4. Gen Xers Roll with the Changes
Now in our 40s and 50s, Gen Xers have lived through a lot of change. And we’ve embraced those changes like the troopers we are. We accept the new without much question, but we remain nostalgic and value the past.
As kids, we purchased our music on vinyl records, 8-track, and cassette tapes. Many of us still have boxes of albums we bought, cassette mixed tapes we created, and VHS tapes of movies we recorded. We’ve eloquently rolled with changes as our albums turned to CDs and our CDs morphed into digital libraries.
And movies? Movie night was going out to the cinema until VHS. With VHS, we could rent movies (and pick up a pizza, of course!) to veg out with dinner and a movie at home. Remember “Be kind and rewind”? Gen Xers bought their fair share of DVDs and Blue-Rays—we’ve got shelves of those at home to prove it.
As the original “mall rats,” Gen Xers watched malls come and go. While we love to let our fingers do the clicking with internet shopping, there’s nothing like a day spent at the mall during the holidays.
While we’ll never give up our stockpiles of albums and movies—and we’ll hold onto our old stereos, turntables, and VCRs no matter how dusty they get—the powers of the digital world are not lost on Gen Xers. We joyfully stream our movies, savor our digital playlists, trade in our brick-sized mobile phones for the latest smartphone, and store our pictures in the Cloud.