One of the things I expect to happen as I turn 50 this year is that the AARP will send me a card and an invitation to join up. I’m not sure about joining the AARP, but I find myself wishing that I could be retired. When I do hit fifty I would be eligible for Early Retirement at work, if it were offered, but since I can’t access my 401k or Social Security, it would really be “Early Get Another Job”. Realistically, I’m looking at another 8 years of work to get to 57 1/2 and more than 30 years in. Its terrible to look be looking at work like a prison sentence!
A few years ago I read Tim Ferris’ book “The 4 Hour Workweek”. In addition to his technique of outsourcing aspects of your work (and life), he works for a few years and then takes mini-retirements. Sounds like fun. But it also seems like it is easiest if you have a life with no major commitments.
In my first post I mentioned that I planned to rant about Baby Boomers. I think that a lot of my issues with the “Me” generation are about how they enjoyed a very permissive youth, and then as they came to power turned into scolds and control freaks. Certainly this is the case with sex and drugs, but I am not sure yet about rock and roll.
Coming of age in the early ’80s it seemed like the Boomers had totally ruined sex. After those in the ’60s and ’70s got to enjoy all the free love and promiscuity, we hit the early ’80s with incurable STDs – Herpes and AIDS! Although, even prior to those disease hitting in force, it seemed that sex education classes (at least in my middle and high school) were focused on instilling a fear of venereal disease into the youth. My most vivid memory from those sections of Health class is this movie from Disney (of all places!), narrated by Keenan Wynn.
The other thing I remember is spending a lot of time on being able to identify chancre sores and other signs of the different stages of syphilis. From where it sit now, this seems like misplaced attention on the part of those who developed this curriculum. I hope it evolved for the younger Gen-Xers!
Mark Steyn is celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday in his Song of the Week column. He starts out by saying “It’s often said that the pop songs you like when you’re 17 years old are the pop songs that stay with you your entire life.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that said, but I thought I would take a look at it. I was 17 in 1982-1983, so what were the big songs then and do they still resonate?
When I think of that era, end of high school, beginning of college, I associate it with New Wave music. And I still have a soft spot for it and had a button for the New Wave Channel on Sirius/XM. The top songs of 1982 have some good ones – Human League – Don’t You Want Me at number 6, Soft Cell – Tainted Love Number 11, Men at Work and Flock of Seagulls also had hits. And its not just New Wave – Jenny (867-5309) hit in 1982 as well. That song has certainly stayed with me my entire life! In fact, I’m sure know 99% of the list. And you had Billy Idol put out White Wedding and a solo version and video of his last song with Generation X – Dancing With Myself.
But I think 1983 is even better! She Blinded Me with Science! by Thomas Dolby. And one of my favorite videos of the era:
And 1983 was another good year for Billy Idol, with Rebel Yell and my favorite video from that album:
I found this 2013 article from Salon today. It makes a number of interesting points that I want to explore here at some point. One of those is about Gen X and maturity – or lack thereof. I’d always blamed mine on graduate school! But maybe it is a more widespread condition.
One of the interesting demographic impacts on politics was the fact that we jumped directly from electing a 30 year-long string of Presidents from the “Greatest Generation” (Kennedy – Bush the Elder) to Baby Boomer Presidents (Clinton – Obama). The generation born during the Great Depression and World War II (sometimes called the Silent Generation) never had a representative elected to the Presidency. John McCain (b. 1936) looks like the best shot they had.
Looking to the near future, it would seem that Baby Boomers are poised to continue to dominate U.S. Presidential politics for some time. Looking at the 2016 front-runners, we have Hillary Clinton (b. 1947), Jeb Bush (b. 1953), Chris Christie (b. 1962), Elizabeth Warren (b. 1949), Rand Paul (b. 1963) and even Mitt Romney again (b. 1947 – though he always seems older to me!).
I am hard pressed to think of Gen X politicians with Presidential chops or aspirations. Paul Ryan (b. 1970) I guess. Or Scott Walker (b. 1967). But I think it is very likely that Gen X could be shut out of the Presidency like the Silent Generation. The Millennials will be eligible starting in 2016 when they start to turn 35. Generation X, like the Silent Generation has been tagged with being apathetic, particularly with regard to politics. So will the parallel hold in Presidential politics?
Having been born in 1965, I’ve been labeled, along with the rest of my birth cohort, as a member of Generation X. As I face turning 50 this year, I started to think about the hoopla that surrounded the Baby Boomers turning 50 back in 1996 (in particular Boomer-in-Chief Bill Clinton). And as I searched the web, I couldn’t find any discussion of Gen X reaching the half-century mark. So, I decided to write my own blog on the subject.
So, welcome! Hopefully I can provide some entertainment value as we celebrate Gen X at 50, enjoy some Baby Boomer bashing, and discuss what it means to us to be sandwiched between two much larger generations.