There’s finally a label for the people who are sandwiched between Generation-X and Millenials. The forgotten sliver of Super Mario Bros. playing, slap bracelet-wearing, Goonies-loving humanity born between 1977 and 1983 has officially been dubbed as the Xennial generation (get it?). Is it a great name? Nah. But if you’re into labels and fit the criteria… here you go!
This is good news for me as I was born in 1981 and have loathed being lumped in with Millennials and Gen-Xers when it’s convenient. Especially because I’ve never felt like I was part of either generation. I’m too young to be a part of the grunge-loving, Atari-playing, original MTV generation. While they were attending Woodstock ’94, I was at summer camp making friendship bracelets out of boondoggle. While they were reeling over the death of Kurt Cobain, I was playing Wiffle ball in the street with my friends.
But, on the other hand, when most Millennials were toddlers, I was already preparing for my driver’s test. I remember the time right before the internet blew up because I was already 10 years old. I was out of college before Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and every other form of social media was popular. I remember a time when pagers were more common than cell phones and everyone memorized their friend’s parents’ phone numbers (I still remember some). If this describes your experience, then you’re a Xennial, too.
The new buzz word was dubbed by Dan Woodman, an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Melbourne. Simply put, the Australian did something someone should have already done and just made a portmanteau of the two bookend generations. It took about as much thought as brunch and Brangelina.
‘The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group – who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident,’ Woodman told Mamamia.
The definition of a Xennial, according to Woodman is:
Woodman himself was born in 1980 so, like many of us, has spent much of his life wondering which generation he actually belonged in. “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. It was a time when we had to organize to catch up with our friends on the weekends using the landline, and actually pick a time and a place and turn up there,” he said.
The only problem with having a name is that now people can poke fun at us like they did with Generation X and they do now with Millennials. Before Millennials were dubbed lazy slackers with no ambition, Gen-X was referred to as the laziest, slacker generation ever. I guess we lucked out at that of us Xennials are already grown up. Go ahead and mock us. We don’t care. We have families and mortgages to worry about now.