I will be 40 years old in 3 months. Wow! It is so odd to think about being 40. Typing it out as an affirmative statement is even more odd! I remember thinking that 40 looked and sounded so very old. Yet, now, it just feels like me. I feel like I make 40 appealable to the younger generations. I feel like I make 40 look good. As a matter of fact, I know I make 40 look better than the last generation. Right? The Baby Boomers were just not hip. Or, are we just simply so different that there is no comparison?
You see, I am the epitome of a GenX female. We, as a generation, were called GenX because no one could really describe us. We were the “X”, the “unknown”. We are sandwiched between the Boomers and GenY. We are smaller in number than both generations surrounding us. We were not all about money like the Boomers. Nor were we a generation of entitlement, like GenY. We had no major defining events in the early years of life. However, we experienced a multitude of social events that changed life’s direction at every turn. We watched with excitement as Christa McAuliffe boarded the Challenger, only to be in shock as the bight lights of the explosion lit up the TV screens in our classrooms. We remember being afraid of this disease, called AIDS and this new controversy of homosexuality. And, who could forget the Rodney King trial, the videos of racially motivated violence and the riots that ensued afterwards? The only thing that we came to expect, was the unexpected. We understood social uncertainty. We knew that parents did not always stay married. We learned that to be successful, we must use technology. And, just like every generation before and after us, we loved loud music that made our parents cringe! Our parents all agreed that MTV was bad for us. But, we loved it! In fact, I think only my mother thought it was bad. I am pretty sure my dad would sneak-watch the Spring Break shows when mom was not home! As we got older, we began to feel motivated to change the world we live in, mainly because we understood change. And, we believed in it.
Now, as I stare the fourth decade of my life boldly in the eyes, the X represents even more “unknowns”. Today, we celebrated my daughter’s 15th birthday. I sat quietly on my bed this morning and contemplated the very real possibility that during the next 10 years, I could be a grandmother. My husband and I will most definitely be empty-nesters by then. Our parents will be in their 70’s. So, topics such as healthcare, nursing homes and even funerals could become a very real possibility. All of these conversations will be occurring simultaneously as we move our children into their own homes, walk daughters down the aisle and hold our grandbabies for the first time. As all of these thoughts are floating through my head today, my instinctual thought is that I want time to stop. But, deep down, I am ready for this next chapter. I want life to slow down. I want to enjoy life. I want to cherish my marriage (it is the second, you know). And, I kind of like it! I want to work at a job that is not in the rat race, but one that is changing the world. I want to give back to this life I have been given. I want to be the solution to the world’s problems. I want to do great things. I want to BE great things.
So, you may be wondering where the dilemma is in all of this, right? It sounds quite “Pollyanna-esque”, don’t you think? So, let me tell you the dilemma. The dilemma is all in the X. The “unknown”. I know what I want, I just simply don’t know how to accomplish these things. Or, even how to define what I really want. I can’t describe what I am or what I want. Therefore, I am GenX Girl!