#13: Generation... Xennial

Hello, and Happy Sunday!

Today, meet a new generation... or at least relatively new to the general population's common knowledge.  I've had this conversation with a handful of people before, and I thought it would be kind of an interesting topic to address here.  So, here we go... meet the Xennials (you - like me! - may even be one!)!

I've always been fascinated by the concept of generations and what they, as a societal entity, bring to the table with regards to history, politics, energy, relationships, productivity, group dynamics, and more.  Today, we live in a world inundated with technological advances, some for better, some for worse.  I often say that I was born 50 years too late, as I truly identify with "The Greatest Generation" with respect to ideals, beliefs, and values... even style and music!  However, I am not 90. 

I was having a conversation with an acquaintance a couple of months ago, and he insisted I was a Millennial, to which I scoffed!  Haha!  I told him, though I don't feel old enough, I am actually Gen X.  I said that I can relate to aspects of both generations, and yet feel as though I fit neither.  He didn't believe that I was Gen X - so in true Millennial form - we googled it.  As it turns out, I fall into a category of lovelies recently dubbed "Xennials," referring to an overlapping "micro-generation" comprised of the tail end of Gen X and the beginning of the Millennials.  This was perfect, I thought!  Yes, this makes sense!  The easiest way I describe this to people is that we are the group who grew up on cassette tapes and had to transition to a technology-saturated world.

So, as a Xennial, we remember things like this:  Beta vs. VHS; being home before the street lights turn on; having ACTUAL penpals; the Apple II C; green and white striped printer paper; cassette tapes and the Walkman; giving your phone number to a cute boy who called you that night (yes, THAT NIGHT!) on your corded land-line phone; the rise of the cordless phone; having a pager in high school; getting your first cell phone in college (you were cool to have a flip phone!); ICQ and AOL chat rooms; paying bills by mail; and, as an adult, getting your first computer with the boxy screen, CPU tower, printer, etc., and having to figure out how to put it all together.

You would think that within those, say 20 years, we would have plenty of time to acclimate; and, many of us did, and did so quite well.  However, in the grand concept of time, it really felt like being pulled out of Pleasantville and thrown into The Terminator.  As Xennials, we can reminisce on the "simpler" times when we're not even gray yet, and we can step away from technology and still be able to breathe, sometimes more easily.  Personally, while I appreciate and enjoy technology for the wonderful things it provides us, I use it in moderation and with great caution as compared to some of my fellow Xennials, and even some Gen X and Millennials.  This choice tends to be more about my own personal beliefs than where I fall on the spectrum of time.

By now, you are probably wondering what in the world this has to do with health... well, a lot, and quite obviously so, I think!  Here are two main points to take home, and I can delve into these a bit deeper in future posts or in my newsletter:

1.  We could all use some time away from technology, and here are a few ideas:  leave your cell at home when walking your dog, and pay attention to the relationship with your pet; take a technology-free walk and appreciate nature; turn off all your devices two hours prior to bedtime (this is vastly good for your health for many reasons!); and, if you're feeling bold, take a weekend trip where you have no cell/internet reception.

2.  "No man is an island."  We are creatures who crave community, a sense of belonging.  We might enjoy our alone time, but no one wants to truly BE alone.  Human beings desire connection and commonalities.  We want to share ideas and common bonds with others, to find people who "get" us.  It is fun to identify with a certain generation, but it is actually important from a psychological perspective.  We need to feel we are not alone in the world, and that is HUGELY important to your individual health.

So, there you have it:  a bit about the Xennials from a Xennial herself - have a wonderful Sunday, and for the love of God, put down your cell phone for a minute!  ;)