It occurred to me that my entire generation is invisible. I arrived at this sad conclusion because we’ve been overlooked by those who bestow catchy cohort labels.
Specifically, I’m referring to people born between 1926 and 1946. We number almost 28 million, yet we exist without a cultural tag. I resent this. This is no legacy to leave our children and grandchildren, otherwise known as the Xs, Ys, and possibly the Zs!
Born too late to be World War II heroes and too soon for the post-war birth explosion, we’re sandwiched awkwardly between the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers.
Maybe if we understood the genesis of generation-naming, we could create something clever and catchy for ourselves.
Tom Brokaw bestowed the label “Greatest Generation” on those born between 1901 and 1926. I don’t disagree. They survived the Depression and fought in the deadliest conflict in human history.
And the Boomers? Those born between 1946 and 1964 think they’re so special. Who can blame them with all the attention they’ve gotten from the media and marketers. So what if they earned lots of money, invented rock ‘n’ roll and passed out at Woodstock?
Generation-naming is continuing its forward march, leaving us further behind. Gen X covers the years 1966 to the early 80s. The X originally meant the fate of this generation was unknown. Gen Y was so-called simply because it followed X. Xers are also known as Millennials because the majority came of age after the turn of the century.
But I’m getting a little tired of all the tweeting, selfie, taking and Instagramming – talk about the “me” generation. (What else can you expect from a peer group that wins ribbons just for showing up?)
Have you heard about Gen Z, aka iGen? Born after 2001, they’ve caught the attention of the cultural pulse takers, while their grandparents and great grandparents slip further into obscurity. Which brings us to today, when I’m sure someone is attempting to figure out a catchy moniker to reflect the zeitgeist of a generation yet to be born.
So back to the nameless masses. We have been referred to as “Depression Babies” or “War Babies,” but those are such downers. Others have called us the “Silent Generation” because we didn’t make waves, worked hard, and stuck by our good old fashioned values. Borrr-ing.
So dear cohorts, here’s the challenge. Don your thinking caps and come up with a generational name we can be proud of. Send your suggestions to me at the email address below.