Gen-Xers Have Been Preparing For This Moment Our Entire Lives


Generation-X. We are the “latchkey kids,” the “Forgotten Generation,” the “slackers.” We are the generation sandwiched between the bigger Boomers and the Millenials. We are the middle child. We are all JAN BRADY.


There were approximately 65 million of us born in the United States between 1965 and 1980. A mere 20% of the population. So really, is it any surprise that even CBS News forgot about us once when discussing the issues of the bigger Millennials?

Photo Credit: CBSN

It doesn’t matter. It’s fine. We don’t care. Because we’re apathetic like that.

We’re also cynical, skeptical, pessimistic, and disaffected.

We were the first generation impacted by high rates of divorce.

We were the free-rangers, left to our own devices as both of our parents entered the workforce.

We made our own lunches, got our own snacks, got ourselves up and out the door to school.

And we let ourselves in after school where we would spend hours alone until a parent eventually came home.

But while our upbringing may have been about independence, a lack of parental supervision, and self-reliance, it has all led us here. To this moment in history, and we were MADE for this.

Social distancing? We’ve been doing this our ENTIRE LIVES. 

As young kids, we learned how to entertain ourselves. We tossed a ball against the side of our house for hours and played one person games like Rubix Cube, Simon, and Waterful Ring Toss. 

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When video games hit the scene we played single-player games: Pac-Man, Tetris, Donkey Kong, Mario Brothers, and Centipede. 

We had our Walkmans and we loved them. We could listen to our homemade mixed tapes, full of The Cult, Depeche Mode, and The Cure.

We walked alone and tuned out our parents, our siblings, our friends, the world. We sang songs like “All By Myself,” “Dancing With Myself,” and “Can’t Touch This.”

We didn’t need concerts. We had MTV.

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There was no going out on Thursday nights. Must-see TV was on.

Or Sundays, when we gathered around to watch The Wonderful World of Disney. But staying in didn’t make us feel socially isolated. We were connected.

To the 36.3 million viewers who watched Alex P. Keaton head off to college. To the 80 million other people watching “Who Shot J.R.?”

And the 105 million viewers who watched the final farewell of M*A*S*H, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” 

But it wasn’t just in music, games, and television where we excelled at being alone.

We wore giant shoulder pads so people couldn’t get too close and Vuarnets, indoors and out, to look cool, sure, but also so we wouldn’t have to make eye contact.

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In junior high and high school, we distanced ourselves from each other. We split ourselves off into smaller groups – the rats, the preps, the jocks, the geeks, the goths, the headbangers. We only associated with a select few, curated friends. 

And now, as adults, Gen-Xers are still loners. According to an article in Fortune:

“Gen X-ers are usually not ones to choose to work in groups. They prefer to work alone and are less likely to engage with colleagues.”

So social distancing? Yeah, WE’VE GOT THIS.

And my fellow X-ers agree. Just take a little stroll through the Twitterverse and you can see for yourself.

This is nothing new for us. It’s our time to show the world how it’s done, and believe me, we KNOW how it’s done:

We’re used to being left behind to fend for ourselves. And we like it:

Our parents warned us about hanging out in our rooms for hours on end. Turns out we were just preparing for a moment in time like this.

Social distancing doesn’t mean we have to sit around doing nothing. There’s music to listen to and games to play:

And 80s movies to watch…This was before “social distancing” was even a thing. What can I say, we’ve always been ahead of our time:

And quite frankly, we could use a break from all the “people-ing”:


In all seriousness, this “new normal” isn’t easy for any of us. But social distancing is the best defense we have to try to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and prevent overloading our healthcare systems. 

We are in this together, The Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen-X, Millenials, and Gen-Z. And together we will come out of it.

Hopefully sooner rather than later, and better than we were before. 



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