Gen X v. Millennials

Written by | Jamilia Fortune

“What’s wrong with you people? You’re so self-involved and vain! Everything you do is attached to your phones!”

“Seriously, do we really need to know your every move? Why should we care where you are and who you’re with? We weren’t invited!”

“I mean do we have to see every meal you eat?”

These are just some of the mean stereotypes associated with Millennials. But seriously, no worries guys, I know you’re all really great!

You see, I was born in 1978, Jimmy Carter was President, the economy wasn’t great, but I was too young to notice! When I go back to my earliest memories, I think of my grandparent’s house. It was hot, smelled like greens and cornbread, with the constant sound of food sizzling and soap operas until about 5 when my mother would walk in to pick us up. Grandmothers kept children in lieu of the daycare. It was a time when children did what they were told, if we didn’t, we were disciplined in various ways (usually getting our butts spanked) but disciplined. You didn’t talk back, and if you did, you did it ever so softly under your breath so your mama or any random adult in charge of you couldn’t hear!

Jamilia (bottom center) and family.

While those things were true, there were other underlying issues that we faced. For instance, we were the first generation of “latchkey” kids, which is a nice way of saying, “Hey kid, you’re on your own!” Not like our parents, who generally had an adult around to constantly monitor the children, we were free in a sense to do as we wished and raise ourselves; at least until mom and/or dad got home from work. Our parents loved us, yet they gave themselves permission to care a bit more about themselves, resulting in an increased amount of divorced and single parent households. You throw in high unemployment rates and the “war on drugs” and many of us were left brokenhearted, fatherless, and lost; which brings me to the 90s.

Our parents loved us, but they gave themselves permission to care a bit more about themselves…

As 90s teens, we pushed the envelope, sure; with our gangsta rap, alternative and booty shake music. They said we would never amount to anything! I mean, we were called Generation X, (meaning the unknown). They said we were loose and only cared about getting high and drunk. They were so wrong! We turned out pretty good in so many ways!

We’re still kind of young, yet old enough to remember decency. Old enough to actually call instead of text and maybe even visit to have a face to face conversation. We do not “conversate” because we understand that, that is not a word! We converse. We are the generation that changed the world with our tech startups and loving our lives. We dominate in spite of and are trendsetting poets, artists, innovators, and the lovers of things that make us happy. We accept people for who they are, sometimes. Even still, the line between Gen X and Millennials is clear. We are NOT the same!

My Gen X friends have given themselves a longer adolescence than they were supposed to have, calling 30 the new 20, and rarely acting their age. I mean, I’m 38 years old and it sounds ridiculous when I say something’s “Lit” or “Keep it 100!” I mean, NO! We obsess over gray hair and imperfect skin in a way that just cannot be healthy! What we do is simply the remnants of what we saw our parents do, but on steroids!

What’s different about Millennials is the way you conduct your lives. you put your money and dreams over everything. You are laser focused on a certain lifestyle. You opt out of the status quo, “go to school and get a job mindset.” You are born entrepreneurs. You know what you want and you go after it. You don’t consider having children until after you’ve reached your goals, often times waiting until your mid to late 30s and sometimes early 40s.

You are born entrepreneurs.

With it being the digital age of social media, Millennials are more open to sharing your lives with the world; yes, it’s all in the way things look. You like to create a certain facade, while Gen Xers are more likely to tell you a story. Don’t get me wrong, many of Gen Xers are now emulating Millennials! Afterall, Charles Caleb Colton told us that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Truth is, we share more things in common than what meets the eye. Ok, so, I may not always like your music and the lack of “using your words” (#LOL), but I have to admit that I have a major respect for Millennials.

You’re like us but with a cherry on top! There’s always going to be an older generation dissing the younger one because apparently, we can’t help ourselves! Fortunately, we are always forced to come around. In the end we are people and we evolve. Maybe typing out a complete word isn’t all that necessary. Maybe I do want to see what you’re doing and where you are. I could be living vicariously through you when I “LIKE” your posts.

Millennials make me believe that life should be more exciting and I love that! Please don’t ever stop being yourself and keep showing us borderline old folks how to Snap, IG, and tweet!

On the flip side, do me a favor as a mom of a couple of you:

  • Please put your phone down and have a conversation with us. Let’s ROTFL in person and for real!
  • Or, pick up your phone and call instead of sending a text. Keep a few of those old fashioned niceties going.
  • Also, do charity work and don’t post a picture of you doing it because it seems insincere.
  • Be present in your moments and take a picture at the end or maybe none at all. Hold on to your humanity.

I can’t speak for all of us, but I’m sure my fellow Gen Xers could be a bit more open minded and less judgmental. I will make it a point to stay as open minded as I’m capable. ? But if you call me old, all bets are off! ? Let’s all agree that we’re all awesome and different and that that’s okay! Don’t forget to be yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Jamilia Fortune is a freelance writer and blogger in Atlanta, GA. Check out her recent article in CHF Magazine here. Learn more about Jamilia.

We’d love to discuss hear your thoughts on this post.

Are you a Millennial or a Gen X? How much can you relate to Jamilia’s experience?

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