Monday, 26 October 2015

Generation X: The force awakens

Life before fake tan, people. 

There's no point to any of this. It's all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know... a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle... and I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt. – Reality Bites

Lately it feels as though Generation X is experiencing something of a moment. For so long, we’ve been the middle child, sandwiched uncomfortably between the overly smug and entitled Baby Boomers, and the nauseating, unbridled optimism and ‘can do’ attitude of the Millennials. Gen Xers have endured recessions, fingers hovering in the ‘80s over nuclear warfare buttons, the Grim Reaper casting a shadow over our sex lives, housing prices at nosebleed levels and a Boomer generation that refused to vacate the corner office with dignity and a pension so we could move in.

Even when we finally did find ourselves standing at that retirement morning tea for them, the GFC hit, and the Boomer’s superannuation stocks plummeted. Our golf claps around the Coles-bought cheesecake slowly stopped at the realisation that, after all this time, they still wanted more. “Well, maybe I’ll just stay on a few more years so I can invest in that third property,” they smiled, eyes glinting at our despair.

But now. Wow! Not only is Marty McFly back in vogue, helping us understand how deluded we were about the engineering capabilities of our generation to get self-lacing shoes sorted via Nike, there’s a whole raft of Gen X gold appearing in our pans. Star Wars – the real one – is making a comeback, not that namby-pamby palava of three prequels that’s best summed up in two words: Hayden Christensen.

With the new instalment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’re back with Chewy and Hans Solo and even Carrie Fisher as the real Princess Leia, who had that awesome iconic hairdo and launched a million tween boy fantasies when she was held prisoner in a bikini chained to Jabba the Hut. Makes Fifty Shades of Grey look decidedly unimaginative doesn’t it?  

Australia’s BFF Canada has just elected their first Gen X Prime Minister, 43-year-old Justin Trudeau, whose previous resume included ‘snowboard instructor’ and ‘nightclub bouncer’. He’s progressive, from a broken home and damn fine looking – all quintessential Gen X traits. And unlike his Boomer counterparts, he actually wants to preserve the climate for his kids, cos y’know, even though he might not be here to benefit, it’s still the right thing to do, yeah?

Closer to home, we’ve got Malcolm Turnbull at the helm. Sure, he’s a Boomer, but we like to think of him as an honorary Gen Xer. He’s putting loads of us in his Cabinet and shares some intrinsic Gen X behavioural qualities, like a penchant for shiny new gadgets, a good wardrobe and a desire to release the trap door on a number of entitled, dead-wood Boomers who thought they could see out their days on the gravy train of entitlement.  He’s also got some parental abandonment issues (very Gen X), is cynical about authority, and is highly entrepreneurial and adaptable. That latter trait is one which all of us have had to embody, due to the Boomers sucking everything up in their wake – reasonable house prices, free education and music concert tickets that you didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy.

So let’s hope this lifelong winter of our discontent is finally over now that we’re approaching middle age. Our world may not look exactly like the one that the DeLorean transported Marty McFly to in October 2015, but it’s feeling damn good all the same.

Diana Elliott.