For various reasons, we love grouping people by their generational identity. From “OK Boomer” to making fun of Millennial start-ups and Gen-Xers’ slang, the stereotypes are, essentially, facts, deadass. (Did we use that one right?)
All jokes aside, there is a real gap in the way a large portion of us identify. Many of us, thanks to social media and political/socio-economic awareness, land somewhere in the middle, a microcosm that has been lovingly deemed Xennial.
Maybe you don’t identify with the influencer and tech guru Millennial and you’re also not trying to bring back low-rise jeans, but you definitely aren’t getting lost in alt-news forums and falling for internet brain-washing gimmicks. Gen Z’s seem like creatures from a faraway planet, and you’ll never understand what it means to “stan” someone.
Xennials are true cuspers. Generation X is technically those born between 1965 and 1980, while Millennials are from 1981 to 1996. Xennials landed somewhere between 1977 and 1983, when shifts had already happened, and the world was changing. Here are some cues that you’re a Xennial.
The recession that bungled Gen Xers’ investments and crushed new Millennial college grads’ spirits didn’t hit you where it hurts. You hadn’t purchased any real estate, and you already graduated college or landed a career-defining role that could lead you into other opportunities. Ah, the recession sweet spot.
Social media hasn’t consumed most of your life. Millennials got Myspace in high school, Facebook freshman year of college, and Instagram halfway through to graduation. It’s been a part of their lives as long as they’ve been functioning adults, and a half-decade or so before, too. Gen Xers are a little late to the Facebook game, and seem to be still discovering the magic of the internet (sorry, it’s true).
Xennials on the other hand had a full life (such an easier, more carefree childhood and teenage experience) pre-social media, and can remember creating their first email address and screen name. Computers were always around, but they were massive and clunky, and it always felt like a futuristic opportunity when we had the chance to use one.
Up for a game of The Oregon Trail? Technology kept Xennials agile, but they aren’t defined by its rapid advances, or necessarily responsible for its damages; watch The Social Dilemma to understand that impact. Ah, we can still hear the sweet sound of dial-up … and mom yelling that she’s on the phone.
In fact, cell phones didn’t happen for most Xennials until their 20s, while these days 9-year-olds have the latest iPhone in their tiny, clammy clutches. Xennials enjoyed the Napster boom, and mixtapes slowly morphed into mix CDs that were played ceremoniously on boomboxes.
A little cynicism settles into the hearts of Xennials, but not with the same rigor as it does for full-on Gen Xers. Xennials have an air of optimism, without the toxic positivity that was born of Millennial marketing.
If any of these resonated with you, especially the formative years and the relationship with technology and social media, you just might be a cusper. We’re born when we’re born—there’s no wrong way to be. We just want to know where we belong. Now excuse us while we settle an inexplicable urge to jam out to New Kids on the Block.
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