The Conundrum Of Generation X

Are you one of the members of Generation X? If you were born between 1965 and 1980, your feet are firmly planted within the demographics known as Gen X.

A while back I read an interesting article about our generation, 10 Things Generation X Won’t Tell You.

We’re a small generation. Planted between the baby boomers and the millennials, our collective voice is barely heard.

We’re not doing better financially than our parents at the same age. We have less wealth, started life with higher student debt loads, and are having a harder time saving for the future. Retirement … what’s that?

As baby boomers aged, they moved from house to house, always gaining significant wealth along the way. Not so with our generation. In fact, many of us have sold a time or two and barely broke even, or even lost money in the process. Considering it’s the number one way to increase wealth, Gen Xers are definitely behind as they move closer to retirement.

Men and women of this generation are equally employed, and you’ll find increasing numbers of women who are college educated … surpassing the numbers of men rapidly. Because so many of us jumped into a position without thinking of the consequences, and are now faced with longer hours and even more risk then we ever thought possible, we’re also becoming a generation of people that aren’t happy with the way “life” is turning out. “Change” is quickly becoming our motto and will continue to be in the future.

Retirement? Sounds good in theory. But its for the other guys and gals. According to a survey 7% hadn’t started saving, and 11% had no retirement goals whatsoever.

Yep, we’re living day to day, trying to care for our aging baby boomer parents, and giving our millennial children as many advantages as we possibly can. Priorities always fall towards dealing with one generation or the other; we can’t help it, its just “life”.

Yet that leaves us with very little ourselves. We trudge along working to give our children all that they need. We spend our free time running our parents to doctors’ appointments. We have to-do lists a mile long, and very little of it has to do with who we are and what we truly would like to do.

Until one day it all becomes too much and we start looking for options. We throw caution to the wind and we make massive change.

  • We sell our large homes and move into small apartments.
  • We load up a truck and move thousands of miles away.
  • We take up traveling as a profession and turn to sabbaticals to try and determine what’s next in life.
  • We quit our jobs and start up a business that has meaning to who we are as a person.

Sound familiar? Ever done any of those things? Or maybe you’re a dreamer, dreaming of the day you do all of them? 😉

Yes, I’ve done each of these. Only in a slightly different order.

  • I quit my job years ago and developed a business around what I love.
  • We sold off our 3300 square foot home and moved into a 1200 square foot apartment.

And now it’s on to the next phase of our plan.

  • We’re loading up the truck and moving 1200 miles away … in a mere 5 weeks.
  • It’s the start of our sabbatical designed to help us determine what’s next in our lives.

There have been many days I’ve called us crazy. There have been many days I can’t believe all we’ve done. There are many days I wonder if we will ever live through this. There are even more days I dance around in circles, super excited at the prospects of what will soon come our way.

Yet through it all, I know one thing to be true. This is where I’m meant to be. This is what I’m meant to do. I know that because life keeps pointing me in this direction. I’m on this road because I have some place to be. And I’ll be sharing the entire “ride” with you.

At some point, you’ll have your own questions that need to be answered. You’ll have your own road to travel. It may be a bumpy road – I can almost guarantee it. But if you take care of yourself and talk to others that “get” you and understand your process, you’ll get there safe and secure, in exactly the space you are meant to be.

Here’s to “us” and all that the future has in store!