I knew there was a word for us!
In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I thought I belonged in a group that was post-Boomer and pre-Xer. (I also left out the WWII generation –oops. Apparently not the greatest to me…) I IM’d Kev, who’s always online when I’m composing my blog, but he quoted Wikipedia (“it could be true”) with the standard saw that Boomers were born 1946-1964 and Generation X is 1964-1984. Kev was my high school sweetheart and loyal cohort all these years. But I was sure I’d read something else that gave more insight.
And here it is. This article, written by Jocelyn Noveck, was picked up extensively by papers on the AP service. I randomly picked this posting of it. Besides, how often do YOU read the Texarkana Gazette? Not often, I’m thinking.
Cuspers. I feel like this is so us. Me and President Obama. He was born in ’61 and I was born in ’66. They call us practical idealists — something that resonates with me. In an essay I wrote ten years ago I said:
We grew up in a world already poisoned, species irrevocably lost. To us, to work for the environment means knowing how to keep things from getting worse, and trying to clean up what’s been sullied. We’ve been accused of being a cynical generation, and perhaps that’s accurate. People like Sean and me, we’re not the impassioned knights of the environment. This is our job — one we can believe in, invest in — not a crusade.
I feel so validated now.
I popped this article off to my Boomer mother as soon as I read it. Of course, she was frivolously off touring Egypt at the time, so I had to wait for her indignation. She picked Obama way back when Hillary was still queen of the campaign. In my practical idealist way, I thought Obama couldn’t win. I’m thrilled I was wrong. But if one of us gets to claim Obama as “her president,” it’s my mom, by right of precedence.
All of this parsing means little. How do you draw timelines on generations of people, after all? If we all had babies at the same time, that would be one thing. By the Gen X definition, I’m in the same generation as my stepson and stepdaughter — granted I mucked things up by not actually giving birth to them. Though I could have, if I’d been a teenage mom. Blended families, though, blur these lines as well.
I recognize myself as a Cusper though. My website description, written back in 2002 says this:
My stats make me a fence-sitter: Post-Baby-Boomer, Pre-Generation-X. I saw the first episode of Sesame Street when I was four, but live in a house without television. I grew up in a city in the West that is no longer considered part of the real West.
In college I participated in a pysch experiment where we had to take a personality test: I came out exactly betwen Type A and Type B. I was born on the Leo/Virgo cusp. My friend, who’s a brilliant writer and exactly my age, shy of a few weeks, complained that she received a rejection from and editor who suggested that she uses too many qualifiers. (Here’s a great example list: very, quite, rather, somewhat, more, most, less, least, too, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, fairly, really, pretty, even, a bit, a little, a (whole) lot, a good deal, a great deal, kind of, sort of.)
Do you see what I see? That’s right. Cusper words. Indeed, we’re all about the qualified grey area.