Recently I read an article on USAtoday.com written by Ryan Miller and contributed to by our own Dwight Adams of the Indy Star. The piece titled, Are you a Xennial? How to tell if you’re the microgeneration between Gen X and Millennial, looks at the contrast between generations and how to know where you fit. I found it enlightening in more ways than one, but mostly because it’s me! They must be listening to my conversations (I mean big brother is everywhere) with my husband, where I say on repeat, “I am not a millennial!” I’ve long wondered if I am not a Gen X’er and I am definitely not a Millennial, where do I belong? Thanks to this article, I now know I’m a “Xennial”!
Merriam Webster notes that the term Xennial was first used by writer Sarah Stankorb in GOOD magazine in September 2014. As the word Xennial becomes more prevalent, I think it’s time for me to introduce you to my generation.
Xennials were born somewhere between 1977 and 1983, and while Gen X and the Millennials include those as well, much changed during those 6 years. For starters, technology. I didn’t have a cell phone growing up. I can remember my dad having a “bag” phone in his car, and if I got to use it, that was a big deal. I studied abroad in college and used calling cards to check in with family. Shoot, I used a calling card to phone my parents from my dorm room. (I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with those anymore.)
How about the internet? If you can still hear the dial-up modem attempting to connect you to AOL.com, raise your hand. My family had one landline, so if you want to use the world wide web, no calls were coming in that night either. Doing a report? Xennials headed to the library to check out encyclopedias! Those were Google before there was Google.
Social media is one of the most significant distinguishing factors of Xennial generation. I didn’t grow up with social media and recall a childhood free from online bullying, influencers, and Facebook. Computers existed, of course, but I was only able to join Facebook during my senior year of college when they opened it up to our campus. And let me tell you, people were still acting crazy on social media back then.
What about economics? Author Stankorb notes, Xennials “landed in a fleeting sweet spot before the Recession that plagued Millennials’ launched. Yet we were still young enough that when the market crashed, we hadn’t yet invested much and didn’t lose as many homes or as much in retirement savings, unlike many Gen Xers.” I waited tables after college waiting on the right job, but most of my friends found success shortly after graduation. And while I did sell my Apple stock right before the iPhone came out (HUGE mistake), I didn’t lose it all on the stock market or in real estate either.
Put simply, every generation has their own traits that make them unique. And while I never felt like I belonged in those traditional generations before, I now know who I am. Don’t know if you’re a Xennial yet? Take this quiz from the Guardian.