If you feel left out of most discussions about Generation X and the millennial generation, it might be because you fit in with neither — and both.
Both millennials and those who consider themselves members of the Generation X tribe feel strong attachments to specific experiences and traits that they can claim as theirs and theirs alone. I’ve always thought it must be comforting to identify as a true Gen Xer who is, technically, a person born anytime between 1964 and 1984 (because the powers that be who create “generations” prefer that they fit within a neat 20-year time period).
Millennials are the generation that came right after (you can disregard any mention of Generation Y, which has, in recent years, garnered a reputation as a phantom generation). If you were born between 1984 and 2004, there’s a decent chance you are a tech-savvy multitasker who has a booming social media empire and gets paid to look pretty in clothing on Instagram.
But those of us who were born at the tail end of the ‘70s and early ‘80s know we’ve been forgotten and tend to get tossed in with Gen X, even though we never truly feel cool enough to belong there. At the same time, it’s difficult to identify with millennials, who are often known as rule followers whose parents hovered over them a lot more than our relatively absent parents.
Experiencing an identity crisis? Here are 13 signs you’re not a true millennial or Gen Xer.
1. You feel guilty about not calling someone back when they leave you a voicemail message. At the same time, you moan and groan because you’d rather be involved in a noncommittal text relationship (something you can actually get away with because you’re a bit younger than Gen Xers), but you know that a voicemail message deserves a voice reply.
2. You made mixed tapes for friends as a teen, but you’re not lamenting those days and have effortlessly made the transition to creating playlists, which you find superior to tapes (which Gen Xers seem to forget were constantly unraveling).
3. You played Mario Kart when it first came out, but also used to kick butt in Super Mario Brothers.
4. You’ve mastered the subtle art of using sarcasm when it calls for it and feel neither Gen X nor millennials achieved quite the same artful balance.
5. You looked up to Madonna as a kid, but your mom would have killed you if you walked out of the house wearing a Boy Toy belt (mainly because you were, like, 5 at the time).
6. Everyone in the slacker film Singles and every Brat Pack movie looked like grandfathers and grandmothers to you, and you always found them a bit corny.
7. Kurt Cobain’s death affected you, but you were either too young to attend a Nirvana concert or so tragically unhip that you chose instead to see Aerosmith on the same concert night. Years later, you took relief in discovering less despondent bands like Weezer.
8. You identify more with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie in Sex and the City than with any of her childhood roles. But, again, you were too young to move to New York City and buy up all the Manolos in the store.
9. You kept a blog at some point — possibly on LiveJournal.
10. You’re on board with the idea that digital journalism is just as valid as print journalism, but a physical copy of Vogue will always delight your senses more than a web page.
11. You only have a landline because your parents guilted you into getting one — you never actually use it, but you keep it just in case.
12. You’d never pledge your undying commitment to a corporation because you or 10 of your closest friends were viciously laid off during the early ’00 recession. Since you were probably fetching coffee for your bosses at the time, you bounced back. You’re idealistic enough to believe companies should have a conscious — you’re just not completely sold on the idea that it will ever happen.
13. As much as you loved Johnny Depp, you held out hope that Skeet Ulrich would become the next Depp. When it didn’t happen, you endured months of heckling from your older sister, a genuine Gen Xer who would never have dreamed of being disloyal to Johnny.
Skeet Ulrich forever!