“I often tell my kids…who have only known the world in the Internet age, of watching the web go from nothing to everything at nearly the same pace as I watched them grown up so very fast.”–Shawn W., Generation X
NOTE: I first connected with Shawn via my blog two or three years ago. During this time, I’ve really come to value his insights about Generation X (and parenting Generations Y and Z). He’s left some great comments on posts over the past couple of years, but none better than the one posted below. He gave me permission to publish it as a stand-alone post. This was in response to the blog post I published a few days ago, Young Gen X Is Generation Catalano.
I’m not exactly a Catalano, but I identify with them in some ways more than the bulk of my generation at large. This line — ‘They are the only generation that straddles past and future exactly’ — I have almost thought that verbatim.
I graduated High School in June 1991. HTML was invented in late 1990 with the first website going online in August 1991. I was in college in 1993 when Mosaic (the first graphical web browser) was introduced, I watched Netscape, then Internet Explorer begin and evolve. I remember when eBay and Amazon and Yahoo and Google were born. Not in the way that most people remember that they were alive at the time. But, I remember because I was paying attention because from inception I knew the internet was where I was meant to be.
I built my own first website in early 1996. It’s because I did that that I got my first job in the web business in early 1997 (there weren’t many people at the time with such experience). I often tell my kids (who were born in 1996 and 1997), who have only known the world in the Internet age, of watching the web go from nothing to everything at nearly the same pace as I watched them grown up so very fast. I absolutely straddle the past and future exactly. And I prefer this disposition in life over being from the past and moving to the future, or being from the future and wondering about the strangeness of the past.
Instead, I remember both by simply remembering my life as it happened. What a time to be alive. For much of my childhood, I thought that being alive in the early 20th Century was where it was at, with the dawn of aviation. How exciting that must have been for those winged pioneers. But looking back at what I’ve had the privilege to experience, I wouldn’t trade my time for the latter for anything. The internet is my sky, and I am soaring.
Can you think of other examples of how Generation X straddles the past and future exactly?