31 Comments

This piece should have had a trigger warning at the top

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You are a fearless writer. Love the raw emotional expression

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We also had the ability to "restart" that I don't think exists anymore. After HS, after college, etc you could turn a blank page and take a stab at becoming who you wanted to be. Now the social media trail follows into eternity. I liked being feral but you're right that it didn't do much for relationships with parents after adulthood when it was optional.

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1972 myself. While I tend to agree with most everything you write, I feel you’ve over generalized the GenX situation with this piece.

As a father to 3 myself now, I can compare and contrast their upbringing to mine. I would take mine in a heartbeat. The poison of social media and screens being the biggest difference., but also what you describe as indifference from our parents, I think is most better described as freedom from overbearing control over everything we did. We had rules growing up ( be home before dark at a young age…be home before midnight when we we reached our late teens etc).

So rules. But also freedom. It wasn’t the complete abandonment you described, though I’m sure it was that way for many. Not saying it didn’t happen, or denying that it happened in your situation. But I personally think that the happy medium of supervision and freedom was more prevalent in the GenX generation than in any since…

And I think that combination has fostered the most creative, innovative, entrepreneurial generation this country has ever seen. And that stems DIRECTLY from the freedom, and risk taking, and yes, stupid sht we did as kids.

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Jared,

I love all your stuff, but this was the best.

Unlike Tongi, you may not be able to sing (and I can't either), but it is the showing of the soul that people bond with, even without music.

I bet you get a ton of comments on this one.

Matt Pompeo

Dallas

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I'm a boomer from '62 myself. My parents (there were six of us) couldn't have been less encouraging about anything going on in school or after school and wouldn't let us participate in after school activities because that would have meant picking us up afterwards. Come to a school parent-teacher conference? Surely you jest. I wanted to play the drums in the high school band and made the softball team but had to quit after a week because it cost $2 for drum sticks and I had to buy my own glove (and the aforementioned need for a ride), but we didn't get an allowance even though my parents did OK. If we got anything less than an "A", in any subject, we were sentenced to study that subject for hours every week until it was back to an A. Every penny earned from a paper route went into the bank, so I did learn the value of saving at an early age, but zero money for fun things as a kid was too strict. So I learned discipline and the value of hard work, which I'm grateful for, but I didn't shed a single tear at either of their funerals; I was just as disinterested as they were for my entire existence. I'm the complete opposite with my kids and we have a great relationship.

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Powerful. Read this 3 times now. It’s a reminder to give my kids more freedom. Let them make mistakes.

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Never seen a more accurate depiction of my life. Incredible how the experience is universal. My parents have no idea how much I despise them. So caught up and clueless in their own self absorbed world they can't even bare to notice.

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The Gen X experience growing up is not unique but more likely was very similar to the preceding generations and the last generation before "helicopter" parenting where everything the family does revolves around the kid and they are never allowed to fail.

Millennials and Zoomers are growing up soft, entitled, low self esteem, scared of the world, mental health crisis, and struggle with "adulting" even up into their 30s.

We Gen Xers grew up hard but we grew up physically and mentally healthy and were ready to hit our stride as adults by the time we hit 21.

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I am a boomer. We put our career growth in nacient tech industry aside to raise our children right. We not only went to soccer, baseball. wrestling, tennis matches, we were coaches, team parents, fundraisers. Priority for house was the school district, not the pool or 4 car garage. You also forget that many boombers, like me, went through 60s and 70s recessions. We delivered newspapers, flipped burgers, pumped gas. Stuff that Xers and Millenial will never do... you might get your hands dirty. How many Xers paid their own way through college? How many ever mowed a lawn or never went out to restaurants? We had every right to be as angry as you are, but we at least understood our parents were children of the Depression. A time that NONE of us can comprehend now. And, limited OUR anger. Get over it Xers.

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xer here and ecery single kid i knew got a job at 16 and worked thru high school and college.

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Silly over generalization. Born in 1973. Had a lawn mowing business at 10 years old. And delivered newspapers. In high school, I worked as a laborer in a construction company during each “summer vacation”. I paid every cent for my undergrad degree and law degree. And will pay for my boys’ degrees too. My experience was by no means unique amongst my peer group - none of us were afraid to get our hands dirty. Your observation is a decade or two off. Though I do agree that it isn’t healthy or constructive to dwell on the past, other than as motivation to do and be better.

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I agree, my comment was a silly over generalizion, to it's point. Similar to the base story dissing Boomers. Every generation blames the previous one. Every generation could have done a better job of parenting.

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I'm a boomer, born in 1949. I could have written the exact same essay, except for the Lehman part. From what I saw, Boomers' parents weren't much different from Gen Xers' parents. Today's parents are for sure much different.

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This is literally my life! My bday was 3 days ago. On Instagram my 28 yr old Daughter wrote: Happy birthday to my best friend...my Mom and added a few awesome photos. But my own Mom would NEVER babysit my younger kids. I hate politics. I believe you fight face to face, not online. We are the best generation. That's facts!

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Well it started off good. I was really into it. He nailed it, pretty much. But.... then it all goes down hill and he starts sounding like a cry baby Millennial. Gen Xers didn't sit around crying about shit. If we wanted something we found a way to make it happen. If we didn't then evidently we didn't want it bad enough.

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Well done…One of your best pieces!

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Born in 79 and I vibe with this. We rode our bikes friggin everywhere and were up to such stupid shit. I once blew up a mailbox with an "acid" bomb...you know, pour toilet cleaner into a plastic 2 liter bottle filled with foil balls, cap it and run away fast. I loved those early years of freedom. I had one other lucky star - my dad is amazing. He read a book on how to coach baseball so he could be effective coaching me and my brothers. So while we had freedom and did stupid shit, he was there loving us and filled our cups. We were poor as, but rich in spirit.

Anyhow, as usual I dig your writing. Thanks!

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Great piece.

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