Having the time of their lives

I love a good generalisation. While often risky at dinner parties, when cast in their broad sweeping arc they inevitably capture the odd accurate truth.

Generalisations about the generations are especially fun to fish with. For instance, is there not a modicum of truth in the notion of war-timers having a strong work ethic and a tendency to hoard? Salt of the earth with good old fashioned values and hopeless with technology? I know of at least two septuagenarians who would ably support this theory.

We all know baby-boomers as the greedy privileged egotists who spent their formative years stoned in the sixties, they received a free tertiary education before becoming economically established whilst basking in the Ken Done glow of the wealthy eighties. Shares, no cares, no mortgage. Struggle? What struggle? Their life is a cinch. But I could be wrong.

Their offspring, Gen Y, are well known for their dumbed down, spoiled, lackadaisical approach to life. Effort? Meh. Ill b thr whn I get thr. Set up and sponsored by their financially independent parents, these kids have got it made. Why not lounge at home until your mid-twenties? Save up a deposit on a house, attend an auction with your overbearing proud protector and have him outbid struggling couples on a house you may not even live in. You haven’t decided yet. Thanks for the help Dad. It’s a good investment Son. Cu lata.

And then there’s Gen X. The layer I call home. What are we? Jammed between the spoils of the boomers and the conceit of the Ys, it can be a struggle. We often seem guilt ridden, down trodden, misplaced and hard done by. We have revolt in our veins and compassion in our core but we are overwhelmed by information in an increasingly homogenous and consumerist world. Our character seems now to be anachronistic: nostalgic for originality we realise it has all been done before. We would have been great in the sixties. We are forever on the cusp: temporally, economically, technologically, environmentally. We are the sink or swim generation. Our revolution? Perhaps our offspring. Armed with more answers, more awareness and more urgency, we are carefully imbuing our children with a greater sense of the world whilst ensuring they have more fun. Painfully aware of life’s brevity, we are cradling our progeny as we hand them the precious baton. A generalisation about their generation? I’ll say it is hope.


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