Thanks to the most recent episode of 60 Minutes I have come face to face with the reality that I am indeed older. Older than what?
Myself, I suppose.
The topic this particular Sunday evening involved the “Echo Boomers”, or, those born between 1982-1995. This, quite naturally, does not include myself. I, in fact, was born in 1975. I will be 30 in November. Until recently this dreaded fact was painfully unavoidable. Although, after giving it some serious thought, I have come to understand the secret joy in the concept of nostalgia. I used to mock my parents for their refusal to let go of the Moody Blues and CCR. I now realize that at some point in my life, I myself will be mocked as well.
You know you’re not the “now” generation anymore when all the songs you love from your junior high years are on a compilation album.
What I remember can pretty much be summed up on every episode of VH-1’s “I Love the 80’s”. The Muppet Show, Electric Company, Garbage Pail Kids, Jelly Shoes.
Those damn shoes. Plastic uncomfortable-as-hell cheap-ass but gotta-have-’em-oh-mom-please-everyone-at-school-has-them foot torture devices of my youth. Wish I had some now. I would rock.
And MTV. Good God, if ever there were a defining aspect of my youth, it would be MTV. I remember spending my entire summer after 8th grade zoned out in front of the TV with my cousin Jay, hypnotized by Martha Quinn and Adam Curry wishing upon wish that Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was on next. Aside from “Remote Control”, “Just Say Julie” with Julie Brown was the coolest show on MTV as I had no taste and just didn’t know any better.
Society seems determined to pigeonhole my breed as “Generation X”, stereotyping us as an entire generation of flannel-shirted coffeeshop denizens with no goals or aspirations. It seems unfair to categorize an entire generation based upon the trends and priorities of their youth. Who we were is only a template for who we are. The trademarks of my youth: my art, my love of reading, writing…the parts of ourselves that matter, are carried with us, to mature and ripen alongside us as we grow as people, becoming the “we” we were meant to be.
Of course, with the skyrocketing popularity of Starbucks in the last 10 years, it makes me wonder.
But as I sit here listening to Erasure’s “A Little Respect” and thinking about years gone by, I wish I had observed and enjoyed them more when I had them. ‘Tis the lament of all 30-somethings past, present and future.
But I also see it as a commonality with my “Child of the 80’s” comrades…we speak fondly of Cabbage Patch Kids and Transformers in conversations punctuated by “Oh, that’s right!!! I so remember those!! Did you have Optimus Prime too??”
Here’s to Generation X. Rock Me Amadeus indeed.