The differences between baby boomers and millennials have been constant fodder for political debates, online feuds, and memes about everything from avocado toast to medicare for all. But amidst the boomers and the millennials, one generation has been left out of the cultural conversation. I’m talking, of course, about Generation X.
Generation X is comprised of folks who were born between 1965 and 1980, and are commonly referred to as “the latchkey generation”, thanks to a childhood largely spent looking after themselves. With both parents having to work and the moral panic of “stranger danger” still years away, this generation raised themselves thanks to microwave dinners and cable television.
It is no surprise then, that the kids who were left to entertain themselves for hours on end are now the adults best equipped to thrive during COVID-19. After all, latchkey kids grew up self isolating and staying at home, aka social distancing. Now, Gen Xers are taking to social media to brag about their staying at home prowess, with #GenX trending. And honestly, we could all take a page from their book:
Hey #GenX. It’s our time to lead. We were the neglected #latchkey kids who understand being alone. Forgot how to do it? Recall: get off bus, walk home, head into an empty house, make a snack & get your homework done? (And no one knew you were home until dinner time.)— Dana Fowle Fox 5 (@danafowlefox5) March 15, 2020
Boomers are going out; Millennials are going out. The only people staying in taking this seriously is the one generation that always gets forgotten about. Gen X will no longer be invisible because they will be the only ones left.— Josh Stermberb (@joshsternberg) March 14, 2020
Wow, my #GenX peeps are coming out while staying in.— Merlisa (@merlisa) March 15, 2020
Finally, we can explain to millennials that we aren't Boomers and tell Boomers we aren't millennials.
Now, excuse me while I speak GenXish:
WONDER TWIN POWERS! ACTIVATE! pic.twitter.com/Z7bew4d6TM
Shout out to Gen X, the only generation who can keep our asses at home without being told, the motherfucking latchkey kids, the generation used to being neglected by fucking everyone. We’ll be the only ones left.— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) March 15, 2020
The life of a #GenX kid:— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 15, 2020
Wake up and immediately go outside; play with dangerous things in dangerous places.
Show up for dinner 14 hours later; parents are surprised to learn you weren’t home.
Eat fishsticks alone while watching tv.
Read in bed with flashlight.
#GenX will self quarantine like it’s 1999 because we could use some time off from showing our GenZ kids how to write a return address on envelope and helping our parents open attachements from the email address we made for them. pic.twitter.com/KE8lNlThB8— Nancy🧢✊🏾🍒🤘🏼🌊🏳️🌈💙🐓🐖🐂🐟❤️ (@fineassand) March 15, 2020
Those of us in the Xennial or Oregon Trail micro-generation (late 1970s to early 1980s) grew up idolizing the icons of Generation X, like Winona Ryder, Janeane Garofalo, and Ani DiFranco. We’re the last generation to remember a time before the internet, faint and fuzzy as those memories may be. In tribute to them, I’ll be blasting Little Plastic Castle and rocking a babydoll dress while washing my hands for the 50th time today.