I was born in the summer of 1996, which makes me 23 years old, an olympic baby, and a part of one of the most hated generations in America. I’m one of the oldest of what we call Generation Z; the entitled, ADHD children that everyone loves to rail against. Us older Gen-Z’ers are not to be confused with young Millennials–who, coincidentally have also been shunned from their older counterparts who are somehow turning 40 this year.
Neither of us are to be confused with the asshole spring breakers who decided that it was their right to party, and help spread this vicious virus. I pay taxes, I have a college degree, I do know what Tiktok is (and actually actively participate), but I have no idea what the renegade is. I feel simultaneously too old and too young to do anything in this society.
Everyone talks about Gen-X as the “lost generation”, the ones who fell through the cracks. They got stuck between the Boomers and the Millennial’s–both of which essentially run the country. But I’d like to offer up the opinion that older Gen-Zer’s are just as lost.
We technically know what life was like before the internet boom, 9/11 and the War on Terror. However, I can assure you that my conscious memories are still filled with the dread of what’s to come, the isolation of the Internet Age, and the fatalism that Climate Change seems to elicit. Do I still have childhood memories of playing outside and using my imagination? Yes. But I also have memories of being glued to a computer or waiting with baited breath for the next iPhone drop.
I know that I should be planning for retirement, and I am, but I’m also wondering, what’s the point? The earth could melt in 20 years, or maybe we’ll all blow each other up. The economy will probably collapse and buying a house feels as impossible as jumping to the moon. Young adults in my age range, I feel, have split personalities; on the one hand we’re excited for the future and trying to be contributing members of society, but on the other we have very little hope for said future and would rather just be digital nomads, roaming around the earth, searching for a home, any home.
All our energies as teenagers were put into getting into college, diversifying our extracurriculars and snagging that post-grad internship that would lead to our first set of chains, sorry first job. Whereas, teens today are encouraged to follow their passions, find the one thing their good at and do it until they’re the best. And honestly, a lot of them are.
I’ll never forget how, during one of my trips back to LA, I was surrounded by all of these 18 and 19 year old kids who were just so freaking talented. They didn’t have to diversify, but they also didn’t have to settle into a box. The could define themselves in anyway, yet still have a niche to be insanely successful in–I mean look at these Tiktokers who are millionaires now in less than a year.
The Boomers had the sexual revolution, Millennials are the killers of industries, and Gen Z is quickly breaking barriers and redefining, well definition. And then there’s me, or people like me. Caught somewhere in the middle; too old to be relevant but too young to be taken seriously. I feel like we should be reclassified, maybe Gen Z-x, “the young and forgotten”. Lol idk that’s my rant for today.