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Can Everyone Please Stop Talking About Gen Xennial, We’re A Bit Embarrassed

Honestly we don't need any special recognition you guys but thanks for thinking of us.

I’ve recently learned that I fit into a demographic known as the “Xennials” – a microslice of the populace born between 1977 and 1983 who are neither as morose and put-upon as the long-suffering Generation X or as perky and creative as Millennials.

We grew up blissfully analogue (free-to-air TV, postcards, ‘go outside with your brother and don’t come back til dinner time’) and came of age during the blossoming of the internet (online dance music forums, SMS without predictive text or emojis, ‘creative’ email addresses that included witty rave culture references). We’ve always fallen through the generational cracks and never really had our own descriptor but suddenly everyone’s talking about us. It’s pretty cool that we’ve given Mamamia and Uprox and the Guardian some fresh content for a day or two as they analysed and fretted over our place in the world, but we really hope no one went to too much trouble.

Really, we’re fine over here, with our cautiously mid-level jobs and our low-key social media presence and our fond nostalgia for Dolly magazine and Party of Five and easy engagement with Lena Dunham and The Bachelor. Honestly, don’t even worry about it – we’re sure we’ll find a way to buy a house eventually, or we’ll just keep renting – that’s cool. And we’ll scrape by somehow as the modern workplace evolves because we learned our trade offline before we learned it online (I can write you a 2000 word investigative print feature or a Buzzfeed-style listicle – just let me know what you need.)

Party of Five was cool but there are lots of great things to watch these days too.

We’ve been through some serious upheaval in our lives since our carefree 1980s childhoods but we’re chugging along just fine, really. It was terribly sad when Kurt Cobain died but we were more worried about our older Gen X brothers and sisters who seemed to sink into a permanent malaise as a result – hope you’re feeling a little bit better these days, guys. Holler if we can do anything.

September 11 and the perpetual Middle East wars that followed were a wrenching shock to us, a generation who hadn’t experienced anything much scarier than the Thredbo landslide, and the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket ever since but we’re reasonably upbeat about an Elizabeth Warren, Emmanuel Macron or Jeremy Corbyn stepping in to set things to rights sooner or later. Someone more engaged than us will figure it out, probably.

Of course we’re on Facebook and Twitter – they’re a cool way to keep up with our friends who we don’t really see because no one can ever get their acts together to organise anything, but trying to get a blue tick would be a bit OTT, wouldn’t it? I suppose I could start a podcast but I haven’t really had time to cultivate a ‘passion’ or ‘find my best self’ or become an expert in any field so it seems a bit silly. I’ve toyed with starting an Instagram account for my dog but it all seems a little ostentatious plus I’m only semi-across the best ways to use Instagram filters without it looking like I’m trying too hard, and anyway some underemployed 24-year-old has started an account about her kelpie that’s be much better than mine would be and I’m a bit tired and wouldn’t mind a nap.

The point is we’ll be absolutely fine regardless of all of the above, seriously don’t stress.

Yes, we know our Baby Boomer parents are gleefully spending our entire inheritance which is going to hurt when we need cash to help our own kids deal with their inevitable opiate or ice addictions and chronic underemployment. But what do you want us to do – have a conversation with them about it? That’d be awkward, and anyway they’re very busy with their new kids and their holidays and their sugar-free diets and we wouldn’t want to get in the way.

And yes, there’s the possibility that our younger colleagues are about to nick our jobs but good on them – they’re really smart and creative and entrepreneurial and I’m sure they’ll give us a quiet background job in their new start-up if we’re polite and efficient and don’t try to overshadow anyone. 

Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up because I want to book that new brunch place that opened a few months back now that the crowds have died down a bit and the hashtag for the signature dish has been established so I know what to use when I post a pic of it. I was also going to look into that new ‘ideas festival’ at the Opera House – I heard the Chaser are doing at least three ‘in conversations’ with some people who once worked on This American Life – but I just checked and it’s all sold out. I never hear about these things until long after everyone else and the tickets are gone. It’s all good.

Hey, really, thanks for coming up with a new name for us, internet. We don’t often get a chance to grab the news cycle for any reason and it’s been an eye-opener to talk about ourselves for a day or two. But we’re more than happy to hand the day’s conversation back to the serious Gen Xers who’ve probably got an in-depth analysis of the Russian special prosecutor probe to send viral, or the bubbly Millennial lifestyle bloggers who’ve come up with a genius new recipe for carb-free pasta in the shape of unicorns.

Back to you guys, really. We’ll be over here if you need us.

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