Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Lost Generation

Sunday I read an article about how baby boomers who are my age really don't belong in that category.

I wholeheartedly agree. I have long called myself a member of a lost generation. We are too young to be baby boomers, and too old to be Generation X.

I did not come of age in the 1960s - I was born then. The hippie era was a blimp on my radar, something I saw from a distance but could not experience because I was too young. I admired go-go boots, tie-dyed t-shirts, and long hair on guys, but by the time I was old enough to make those decisions for myself, it was 1975. Tie-dye was out and preppy was in. Rock 'n roll was out, and disco was in. I grew up watching The Brady Bunch and Charlie's Angels, not Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best.

So I am quite happy to see someone confirming what I have known all along - I don't belong with the Baby Boomers. The US Census defines baby boomers as folks born from 1946 to 1964. I am 50 years old and someone who is 18 years older than I has little in common with me. We grew up in different eras.

I grew up reacting to the world someone who was 18 when I was born was making. I could only sit back and watch because I was but a child, and unable to do anything else.

My first national memory is watching a man walk on the moon when I was six years old. I don't remember when JFK was killed because I was only 5 months old. My first real political memory is of the Patty Hearst kidnapping, not the Vietnam War, even though that was going on while I was alive. But my awareness was that of a young girl growing up in a rural area, where we only received one TV station.

Patty Hearst was kidnapped in 1974, when I was 11 years old. The things a true Baby Boomer would have been horrified by - Kent State, the shooting of Bobby Kennedy - went over my head. I was vaguely aware but my goodness, Kent State happened in 1970. I was seven years old. I was playing with Barbie and in the second grade!

So to lump me, and all of us who were born from about 1960 - 1968, in the same era, just seems wrong. I imagine there are some older Generation Xers who feel like they are in the wrong generation, too. And they belong with me, in this lost generation.

A book that will be released in the next year calls us "Generation Jones," named after the term "jonesying" which apparently my lost generation coined. It is not a term I use or care for but Generation Jones works for me. We might just as well have been Generation Smith.

For we are a small legion that cannot move forward because of those before us. We were not able to get the good jobs, make the decent money, and be upwardly mobile. We did okay, but we did not do as well as our older true Baby Boomer counterparts. By the time I turned 18, Ronald Reagan was elected president. There was a recession. When we built our house in 1987, the interest rate on it was 13 percent. At the time the talking heads said, "Oh, it will never go lower again."

Shows what they know.

But I am not a Baby Boomer. The US Census can stick me in there if they want, but I have not been, nor ever will be, satisfied with that moniker. I am not sure I will like Generation Jones, but I will say, as I have for many years, that those who are around my age are really a lost generation.


  1. i never considered myself a baby boomer...i always thought that was more my parents era...i was born in 66...generation jones! that sounds'll have to keep us updated when it comes out...thanks for the tip on the michie!


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