October 12, 2007
I promise I’m not going to be blogging exclusively about how my generation is just so darn misunderstood, but I thought I might as well post this email that I drafted this morning in response to my MIL sending out the David Brooks Op-Ed to the family under the subject line of “interesting for parents of young adults or those who actually ARE ya’s themselves.” Interesting is just not my word for it…. between this email and not going to the baby shower, I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna get excommunicated from my husband’s family sooner rather than later. See my feeble attempt at making it “nice:”
I woke up in a feisty mood this morning, so please take all of this in the spirit of my own observations, somewhat frustrated ones, and not as an attack on anyone’s opinions except for those of self-important baby boomer columnists 🙂
Then I get to the heart of the matter.
As someone who is actually living through these so-called “odyssey years,” I feel compelled to speak up in whatever small way I can and say, I don’t think “interesting” is the right word for this piece. For us, it’s just plain frustrating to read yet another article by a baby boomer attempting to diagnose what’s going on with people of my generation. Look at the “tremendously valuable” report he cites. It’s titled “After the Baby Boomers.” Because that’s really what defines us–that we came after, that we are next. And the fact that we are turning out differently just bugs them. See Thomas Friedman’s op-ed, “The Quiet Generation,” yesterday for more of the same.
As for this phenomenon being observed in Europe and urban Brazil first, I think that’s pretty clear evidence that it’s pretty much economically motivated. As one of those people who is “delaying” so many of those precious milestones, I want to say that if there were a house I could afford in the place that I live on the salary my current education could make me, I would buy it. But there isn’t, so I either need more education or I need to move. Those things both take time. That’s the sensible, responsible thing I can think to do right now. Which isn’t to say there aren’t people my age buying houses–there are plenty, even around here. And they are getting roped into interest-only mortgages that blow up in their faces or finding that it’s really stressful to have committed to a mortgage for the next thirty years when their jobs are tending to last them only one or two. As for having children, how can I even consider it in good conscience when I have no stable home, no stable health insurance, and no way to provide either of those two things on just one of our incomes in order to be able to be assured of providing childcare?
All of this will smooth out in time, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better. People my age face all kinds of obstacles in the job market and the workplace. Most of us never think of it that way until someone opens up our eyes to it (for me it was Anya Kamanetz’s Generation Debt). Until then, we blame ourselves. I for one am tired of blaming it on myself when I’ve done everything that the BB’s advised. Clearly, things have changed. Our lives are just not going to resemble theirs, and while that is partially due to choices we are making I think it is more due to the fact that our economic reality has changed drastically. Plus, there are fewer of us so it’s going to be awfully hard to influence the political process even if we voted as a bloc.
And just b/c sometimes even when I’m trying really hard I just come off passive aggressive like that:
Sorry to spout off, but someone had to put lie to Friedmans “Quiet” label for my generation.
Anyway. Blogging and emailing are still pretty quiet, so I guess if I want to put my money where my mouth is I better start looking for a “louder” forum… or start articulating my reasons for why that’s kind of a thing of the past too.