Monday, July 10, 2017

Glad and Proud to be a Xennial

(The Oregon Trail Card Game)

A couple years ago I wrote a blog post: Nostalgic Over Lost Marbles and the Millennial Micro Generation Gap.  Claiming, "Those of us who were born in the early 80's remember record players, remember VHS's and cassette tapes, remember a time before the internet existed, remember when music was able to fit on a CD and then an MP3.  I remember going to the little arcade at Pizza Hut to play games, before my family splurged on a Super Nintendo (I had to visit friends homes to play the original NES.)  I think I truly belong to a micro generation that spans two eras, the post analog and the pre digital.  That's where I belong."

In the last couple weeks the term Xennial started going around the internet, defined by those living at the end of the analog and beginning of the digital, 1977-1983, the classic (and best) Star Wars years.

The micro generation I've felt connected to finally has a name.

Some sources have claimed GOOD magazine coined the term in 2014.  Another source says Dan Woodman, Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Melbourne, started it.  He states, "It was a particularly unique experience. You have a childhood, youth and adolescence free of having to worry about social media posts and mobile phones... We learned to consume media and came of age before there was Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and all these things where you still watch the evening news or read the newspaper."

 I remember starting BYU in 2004 at 22 years old, already feeling a disconnect with those 4 years younger.  All these kids suddenly had cell phones!  They had iPods!  I used the free payphones scattered around campus and carried a discman sophisticated enough to also have fm/am radio.  I literally walked around from class to class wearing earphones, not silly earbuds, carrying my discman in front of me, trying not to jiggle it so the CD skipped.  I felt so cool.  Those kids with their iPods were lame.

I'm glad I grew up before the digital world and internet took over.  I'm glad I grew up playing outdoors, laying in the grass, and then occasionally allowed to play Nintendo when chores and homework were finished.  Sometimes I played games at the arcade along with pinball and skee-ball.  It was fun going to the computer trailer at school to play The Organ Trail.  All the trophies, medals, and ribbons I received were earned, not given.  Nothing tracked me via GPS.  I wasn't tied to a device.

The Xinnial micro generation is probably the last generation to truly experience a carefree childhood where we were allowed to get bored.  Boredom is fuel for creativity.  It was a good period to grow up, spanning the best of both Worlds, aware of the past, but having the excitement and curiosity of the future.

I'm glad to be a Xennail.

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