Guest Post by Amy
The following post was written by one terrific gal who has been creating excellent content for Generation X for a long time! Amy is such a nice person and so talented! She runs the popular Marvelous Memories Facebook page, and the Marvelous Memories blog. If you haven’t checked them out yet go do so right after you read this guest post on Gen-X in quarantine.
Over the past several years I found myself feeling a little lost about my identity. Well, scratch that. I was feeling lost about the significance of my identity.
Let me explain….
I was born in 1974, which places me squarely in Generation X.
I have always been very attached to my generation. Probably because my friends and I were all so similar in regards to our upbringing.
Sure some families were more religious, or made more money, or were from broken homes (me). But we all had one thing in common, we were the last generation to know what it was like to be free of constant technology.
Our childhoods were the last of its kind. The dangers were all there and some of us did not make it out unscathed. But we still had a lot in common.
MTV, playing outside all day until dark, Atari, Saturday morning cartoons….I could go on endlessly.
“We didn’t do anything with the intent of posting it later”
But the freedom our minds had is what I’m really talking about. We didn’t do anything with the intent of posting it later. We lived in the moment one thousand percent.
It was the early ’90s when I got my first glimpse of the Internet. I was visiting friends at college and in their dorm room was a computer. My friend was staring intently while typing and smiling. She said she was “chatting” with someone. I was like, who? How? Why? What????
After that, I slowly dipped my toes into the world of the internet over the years. Veerrrry slowly (I had the same caution letting go of my 80s bangs. I still rocked some big hair well past its prime into the 90s).
When I became a mom in the 2000’s I was still taking pictures with a camera and film and mailing them to my family. I just couldn’t go all-in on technology yet. But as my kids grew older I realized this was the way of the future, like it or not. Everything was going in the direction of online. School, shopping, absolutely everything. I had to get on board or fall behind.
So I embraced technology. And once I did….wow.
Everyone seemed to be so much better than me. Supermoms, extreme couponers, beauty extremes, thigh gaps, and worst of all, apparently, I was a failure because I did not breastfeed my children and was a helicopter parent…..The list of my shortcomings (according to the Internet) went on and on.
Gen X Upbringing
Enter my Gen X upbringing…I was a latchkey kid. I walked home from school almost every day of elementary. Sometimes taking a shortcut through woods. I let myself in the house. I fed myself after school. I hung out with my best friend, David, who was my age and lived across the street.
We had good parents but they left us to fend for ourselves often because they had full-time jobs. We were fiercely independent kids, my generation. But that came with its own set of problems for the future. We got hurt….A lot. We were not always protected.
There were still a few stay-at-home moms at the time but mostly working moms.
There were still the women like my grandmothers who stayed home and my mom’s generation from the ’70s when women went back to work, cared for kids, did it all.
I admired all these women, but which would I be like when I grew up and had kids of my own?
I thought I struck a pretty good balance of BOTH….until the Internet came along…and Millennials.
I found myself sandwiched between two generations I could not relate to or even live up to (so I thought).
For years I battled my childhood demons, strived to be a good parent all while being criticized from the (Internet) world around me. These feelings are as recent as March of this year.
Then one day……….pandemic.
I will save my emotions about this global pandemic for another day. No, this post is a redemption of me. For me. By me.
I learned, quite literally overnight, that not only have I been everything I was born to be, I am also really good at it.
Wife, mother, vintage lover, collector of cookbooks, keeper of memories.
I learned cooking skills in high school that never left me. My favorite thing to do in home-ec was copy recipes onto note cards, which I now have thousands of. I learned to plan meals and care for a family.
Nothing, not one thing the Internet lied to me about is true. I am not a failure as a mother. I am not less than because I’m not doing some great big thing in life. I am not ugly. I do not need to lose weight or wear makeup or color my hair. I can if I want, but I don’t need to.
I am a changed person after this event. I no longer have concern over opinions of me.
But mostly, I know I am valuable. I am successful. I am just as good as anyone. No greater than, no less than. And what I strive for in the future will have nothing to do with what others expect of me, but what I expect of myself.