I was reading an article claiming the pandemic made GenXers more distrusting. To which I responded,
No, the pandemic hasn’t made Gen Xers distrusting; their childhood made them that way. Current circumstances only exacerbate their natural leanings. See, Xers (those born 1961-1981) are children during the Consciousness Revolution years (the mid-’60s through the mid-’80s), which is a time when the needs of children fall to the bottom of the nation’s priorities. It’s also a time when, after the stifling and stuffy years of post-WWII glory and achievement, people start to tire of the bland, majoritarian culture and instead begin to pine for individuality, self-expression and the right to put their own interests above the needs of society.
This era of adult self-actualization is great … for the adults, but it’s absolutely devastating for the children born in this time. Neglected, underprotected, considered “bad” and incorrigible, young Xers see all around them double-standards, blame they don’t deserve and societal institutions that simply don’t have their backs. And, thus, this generation comes of age streetwise, hustling, alienated and hardened.
As a generation’s worldview is formed in childhood, GenXers’ can’t help but distrust institutions (government, media, education, religion, politics and law and so on). They can’t help but live by the credo of “Just be a survivor.” Now in midlife, and now that our nation and the world is in an extended crisis era, GenXers have, essentially, been training for this moment all their lives. The more things fall apart, the more many Xers think, “Yeah, I got this.” Difficult circumstances, risk and unknown outcomes are part and parcel of the GenX mindset and these times only prove out to them what they’ve known all along: The world is more broken than others have been willing to admit.
Equally, always angling, always looking for the next opportunity and always ready to switch tactics on a dime, Xers are, indeed, the unsung heroes of these times. History will give much of the credit to the young Millennials, but in truth, it will mostly be the cunning, hard-to-fool realist GenXers who saved the day and found innovative solutions where others only saw crisis.