I’m not a Millennial. This fact was something that seems glaringly obvious to me, but when a friend recently started a sentence with ‘Millennials like us…’, it got me thinking. I may not identify as a millennial, but neither do I fall into The Generation X category. I seem to hover on the edges of both, not really belonging to either.
I’ve never really been one for generational labels, but was that simply because there was no label that applied to me? It played on my mind quite a lot after my friend’s comment. Granted, she’s a little younger and much cooler than me so she nestles nicely into the millennial categaory, but did she really see me like that?
I don’t want to be a millennial. I don’t tick the boxes.
Then I discovered that there were others like me – older ‘millennials’ who don’t fit that mould. We were simply born within a window that falls inside of some definitions. But it falls outside of others. I learned of a new label. I was no longer generation-less. I finally had a cohort that I belonged to. I am a Xennial.
Despite my general dislike for labels, this is one I’m happy to go with. Xennials are a micro-generation that bridge a gap between Generation X and Millennials. We’re too young for one, too old for another and have been floating in generational limbo as long as labels have applied. Our childhoods were analogue but our adulthood is digital. We cross over between the two generations, picking the pieces of each that we want as our best bits and dropping the worst. We understand both the generation before and after us and there’s a fluidity. We can flow in and out of either as we choose. We’re hybrids.
We’re kind of cool.
Xennials adapted to the digital revolution and became near-native, but can survive quite well without our personal devices (if we choose to!). We played outside and built real relationships that are supported by social media but we don’t need apps and ‘likes’ to validate us.
We got slammed with the economic crisis because it kicked in just as our adult lives were starting. We got held back, slowed down, put on pause. We started over. We won some, we lost some. We kept going. We keep going.
We’re like chameleons, forced to camouflage ourselves as something else because we never quite belonged before. We never really understood what generational labels meant. They didn’t apply to us.
But now there’s one that does and it’s not tied down with all of the negativity associated with Gen X or Millennials. It’s a label that’s all about adaptability, strength and tenacity. So slap it on me, because I’m proud to call myself a Xennial.
What generation do you belong to and does it make you proud? Don’t be shy, comment below.