I’ve a good friend who posted a piece on Generation X, our generation, recently put up on Salon. The general thesis, as with most published opinionated pieces in my view, wasn’t entirely clear to me. The general message I got out of it was one of generational sobriety and empty despair. We’re helpless to our inner conflicts regarding our roles, our place in the world as it is, but what else is new? Familial and societal circumstances have brought us to this point, and as we reach our own mid-life crises (such as they are), apparently, we’re still unnoticed because we’re viewed as children who were encouraged choice and independence. We’re “lucky,” we’re told, but are we?
I don’t feel lucky right now. It’s my own midlife crisis, I’m so sure. I know a number of people my age who feel exactly the same way I do. The bills keep piling up, costs of everything skyrocketing to ridiculous amounts, and here I am, a single woman, educated as was expected of me yet flailing at lost goals, forgotten drive and neglected ambition (I’m only now working to change that, at 41). I’m miserable and lonely in spurts, yet there are so many instances when I want to be away from people, away from the phone, a good portion of the time (this is probably due to having to talk to people all day at work). Every single one of my colleagues and friends my age or thereabouts is on, or has been on, some form of antidepressant or antianxiety medication. If not, he or she is or has been, at least, taking blood pressure medicine because the stress of expectations and lasting results has affected their overall health. I’m currently tapering down my dose of antianxiety meds. I’ve been on them because I feel as if I just cannot take it all in anymore, but I don’t want to be chained to chemicals, so I’m suffering through the long process of getting off them.
To live, such as it is, this American lifestyle of accumulated debt and stagnant wages, isn’t worth it in the long run anymore. It’s not as if our money can be stored away, saved for an honest to God retirement or anything. Is it any wonder the Gen Xers feel the way we do?
(Oh, and I’m well aware that there is no thesis here, either, but this is a blog, and I am free to ramble incoherently and whine incessantly. It’s not as if I’m getting paid to construct a polished piece.)