Xennials: A Generational Micro brew

A liaison of generations, conceived and born upon the cusp of change. We are like “Ice, Ice, Baby” with a little reminiscence of something familiar and classic, (“Under Pressure,”), but with an entirely different spin. We are new lyrics on an old melody. DJs of an era. Borrowing from the old, introducing the new. Forming a beat everyone can dance to.

I am a Xennial. One of a small batch, micro-brew of a generation. I see the small battles, I see the war. I see the big picture made up of tiny pixelated images. I get it. I don’t get it. I’m not black. I’m not white. I’m grey. Sooo grey.

Look at the burgeoning home school trend. I get the fear stemming from the mass shootings, but deep down, I suspect mostly it has to do with the Millennial mindset that reasonable bedtimes and getting up early is just HARD. And ew, institutionalized education. We want to be different–like everybody else.

Maybe it isn’t that way for everyone, and maybe that is the perfect way to look at life. Why are we slaves to a system that is failing us? When the affordable housing issues have reached an epidemic proportion and no American county is immune, we are no longer working to live but living to work. Minimum wage is not a livable wage. So, I get it. Let’s break the mold.

But, I don’t quite embrace all of this, even as I understand what was/is at the heart of it.

I believe in work ethic. I believe in the beauty of kicking up my feet at the end of an honest, hard day’s work and feeling that I’ve earned my evening. I believe in respecting my elders, admonishing my children, setting them up so they won’t fail in life. It isn’t Power Rangers in your underwear on the couch on a Tuesday until Mom decides to roll out of bed nursing a bit of a hangover and makes her matcha tea with agave nectar (or whatever).

So, I straddle a line some would call judgment. I feel pulled in two directions and I get both. I am not a Gen Xer and I am not a Millennial. I am some hybrid in between. The cocoon stuck dead center with a molting butterfly unfolding wings into two different generations. We either bridge the gap or are torn in two. We are Xennials.

Some Xennial traits to note: we were instilled with classic values. But, we were also raised at the cusp of technological advancement and are no stranger to it, we just saw it at a much earlier time. This makes us more of an older sibling to technology and not its best friend. We had cell phones later in college, or at least we knew someone with one. They may have also the friend that had the “Clapper” for the light fixtures in their “bomb” apartment.

Xennials knew chat rooms, played Oregon Trail, ran programs by typing prompts and learned how to build the first web pages in Java.

Xennials made mixed tapes and later, some of the more tech-savvy burned CDs or put songs on an MP3 player. We knew that it was kind to rewind and that Hastings had a free phone. Xennials stood in lines wrapped around the building to register for college classes. Xennials had rolls and rolls of used film that never were developed. But, as children, Xennials carried books, journals or balls instead of tablets. We listened to Sony Walkmans. We knew how to use microfiche and the Dewey Decimal system. Sometimes, particularly if it was raining, we would opt to stay inside and play Atari/Nintendo/Sega. The world was a lot smaller but we saw more of it in person. We looked up more.

Xennials were born between 1977 and early 1983. They are often described as having an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. If you fall within that time frame, you are likely not offended by this article. If your birth year was prior to ’77, you are probably smiling at this article as well, thinking you have embraced the digital age well and could relate more with a Xen than a Millen. After all, we are something of the liaison between the two generations, aren’t we?