Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What am I supposed to be now?

I remember being about 14 years old and my Mom was reading out the newly minted label for my generation. She called out how we wanted to save the world, how we were an adaptable group and how we were so different than the Gen Xers that came before us. I remember that last part because my brother was at the tail end of the Gen Xers and I liked that he and I were technically in different generations.

But, like most newly minted generational titles, shifts happened with the timelines and the categorization. Generation Y was re-named the millennial generation and the years of inclusion shifted after my birth year. So, long before the backlash against that generation began, I was lumped into the last leg of the Gen Xers...not quite fitting in anywhere.

I guess it really shouldn't have surprised me that someone has come up with a new category for my subgroup - the not really an Xer and not really a millennial either - group: Xennial. We are the group whose youth straddled life before and after social media. So, yes, we had to make plans with friends via landline phones and then we also remember what it was like to get our first cell phone and not fully understand that we were giving everyone access to us whenever they wanted it.

Xers, Xennial, Millennial, Boomers, Perennials...we have a lot of labels for ourselves. My Mother would call them our tribes, and she is probably on the right path. It is nice to know that you belong somewhere.

I don't put much stock into the generational labels - they are fun to read, but considering that the Generation Y label was first unveiled in Ad Age (a magazine for the marketing and advertising industries), I think it is clear who really benefits from categorizing us this way. But I do take stock in the tribes that I understand, like my main household members and my outer family. Those are the people I truly belong to.

Do you know what generation you and your children fall into these days? Tell me in the comments.

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