As a Gen X’er, I feel I owe Millennials an apology.
First off, I’m sorry that my demographic cohort has taken you to task so cruelly with mockery over your entitlement, teetotaling and Crocs. (Our generation is also a total mess FWIW, what with our yuppie privilege, heroin chic aesthetic and no-less-anti-fashion Doc Martens.) But now the New York Times tells me that you people are hitting your early ‘40s—happy birthday!—and not feeling tip-top about the prospect of middle age. Even TV shows (Fleischman is in Trouble, Beef) are focused on your discontent.
Well, welcome to the party! But seriously, the life issues you’re facing are a big deal. You’ve been knocked down by the 2008 recession, then managed to get back up on your feet, only to be knocked down again by Covid. As you grew up, you were sold a bill of goods that promised you that, if you got an education and a job, you’d get a home and a family…only to be met with job insecurity, stratospheric housing costs and now, inflation. (By contrast, per the New York Times, “Gen X may have been buffeted by some of the same social changes and declining economic conditions as we have been, but at least they are also the only generation of households to recover the wealth they lost in the Great Recession.” Also, per my personal experience, and backed up by a Pew Research report, we Generation X’ers might be weathering the limitations of middle age better because, well, we expect less—we’re used to being a demographic white elephant, sandwiched as we are between the much larger groups of Boomers and Millennials.