By Antonella Giles
We are a generation of latch-key kids, who have grown-up in a time where coming home from school to an empty house, living off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cans of Chef Boyardee and entertaining ourselves by watching tv all day or listening to our favourite albums (real vinyl on a real record player) was the norm. We are a generation where doing chores around the house was expected, without having to be told twice, and then chatting with your friends on the telephone for hours was your reward. We are a generation where we got our exercise by actually running and playing hide-and-seek with your neighbourhood friends, or getting on your bikes and riding everywhere for hours. We are a generation where helping others who needed it, regardless of age, was only common sense. We are a generation who has lived through several historic world crises and learned to quickly adapt and survive.
We are Generation-X, and we were built for this pandemic!!
I’m talking about those of us born between 1965 and 1980. This global pandemic we have all had to endure since March has had a much different effect on us then either the baby boomers ahead of us, or the millennials and Generation-Z’s after us. Some boomers feel that they have been through enough over their lifetime and can “take care of themselves”, calling this all a waist of time and having a difficult time accepting that they need to stay home and not socialize, while others seem to have gone into “hiding” and “hoarding” modes.
Millennials on the other hand are having to deal with this in a whole other light. Most have had to juggle working from home while taking care of their very young children, who in turn run and scream in the background through zoom meetings and conference calls, all the while having to deal with certain anxiety and uncertainty issues causing them even more stress.
Then there is the Generation-Z kids, where my kids fall into, who seem to be struggling the most with having to isolate. Most Gen-Z's have a somewhat lax attitude towards quarantine. Being stuck at home while trying to focus on completing school work (and all the new chores that their crazy Gen-X parents have decided is a fun thing to make them do) has had a toll on them. Some Gen-Z's, if they are anything like my kids, have locked themselves in their rooms all day just so they don’t have to cope. This generation has been reported to have the poorest mental health of any generation, and so the anxiety grows constantly with them, causing anxiety on us.
This brings me to my generation…Generation-X. Although we may be the most prepared generation to cope with a quarantine, having grown up our entire lives having to fend for ourselves, we feel the pull of the generations on either side of us, and the demands all at once. We have been given the ultimate task of caring for both our aging, and usually stubborn, parents as well as our own coming of age, and also stubborn, children. Being in-between means we seem to be responsible for everyone, all the while still working and maintaining a household. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say thank goodness for the multi-tasking and life-juggling skills we have mastered over the years, which for some reason did not seem to rub off on them.
So much of what we learned growing up is what has been helping us cope and handle this pandemic. We have always been self-reliant and self-sufficient, doing homework and chores without being told and without our parents helicoptering, oops I mean helping, us. We learned great time management skills and studied and worked on our assignments all while maintaining part-time jobs, finishing our chores at home and still making time for friends. We also learned to quickly adapt to new situations, teaching us how to become resilient, hearing the hard truths from our parents, teachers and even employers, making us stronger for it. We mastered (and still trying to) through all the new technology thrown our way, most of the times being self-taught. We appreciate the little things in life, the finer moments and fond memories we still hold dear to our hearts. As much as it may seem that I am bragging about how wonderful our generation is, and they are, I am also simply stating that during this Covid-19 pandemic we have been able to let our abilities and skills shine to make sure everyone is safe. And we haven’t been doing it selfishly either.
There is one thing that this pandemic has been able to do for most of Generation-X and that is to get back what we thought we had lost…Quality Time. It has allowed us to spend more time with our family and get re-acquainted with our Generation-Z children. We have been able to bring back dinner conversations, as well as family movie and game nights. We have been able to teach them some cooking or baking skills taught to us by our grandparents. We have been able to enjoy being outside in our backyards and gardens and even explore our neighbourhoods while going for walks or bike rides together. Most of all, we have been able to slow down and appreciate what we have around us. No more rushing to school, work or all the extra-curricular activities we thought our kids needed to do.
We no longer take for granted our family or friends. We no longer take for granted visits, gatherings and social events. Each have become special in their own ways. We no longer take for granted shopping or for groceries and necessities. We no longer take for granted our lifestyle in general.
We have spent months trying to show everyone that we can hold it all together, taking care of those we love on both ends of the spectrum. We have been keeping our children, our parents and our jobs safe. We have been keeping our masks on, our hands washed and we have been social distancing and sharing glasses of wine with family and friends over zoom calls. We have been using all our skills that we were trained for our whole lives. We are Generation-X and I’m pretty sure we have kicked some Covid ass!!
It seems we may be in this for the long haul. Let's continue doing what we are doing and stay safe.
If Life Were Predictable It Would Cease To Be Life, And Be Without Flavor.