Generations X, Y and Z Put Fall 2016 into Perspective

For Generation X,Y and Z in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the end of a beautiful sunny summer.  On the outside we may appear relaxed with a golden tan, a toned body, glowing eyes and a big smile  left over from memories of how we felt on vacation.

But on the inside, many of us are hardly relaxed; we are worried about the logistics of a new season, thinking about new classes, complicated carpools, common applications, honors classes or for  X and Y, a new job or even new career. Tweens are anxious about workload, teens are focused on college applications.

While these details are necessary, “sweating the small stuff” can drive anyone nuts, especially if you don’t think about the “bigger picture” to put the details into perspective. For all generations – X, Y and Z,  ’tis the season to be pensive and make sure we’ve each honed our perspectives, our attitudes about our lives, about this new season that’s kicking off.

Why? Having a fresh perspective – a solid point of view about where we are in life, at this moment – gives us more purpose as we multitask among everything in our increasingly hectic yet full lives. Fall is the perfect time for this renewal. IMG_2602

Each generation, and individuals within that generation, has their own perspective on life and how they view their specific goals.  As the world changes so rapidly with technology and media, are people and their perspectives changing too? Let’s look at the perspectives of Gen X and Y and get to know what each generation is thinking.

From a Gen X point of view:  Gen X reclines, reviews and renews

The majority of Gen X takes their grandest vacation in July / August, the perfect time for this maxed out generation to unwind… but wait, it’s only for a minute. Sitting still on a beach or by the pool is incredibly challenging for Gen X, especially as we get closer to a new season. Most of us don’t know how to “do nothing” – we think, we fidget, we order drinks, we dig in the sand a bit with our kids, we scribble, we take notes on our iPad. 

Not only do we think about the logistics, but also the holistics of our lives as they are today – how it all works together: our jobs, our skills, our families and our perspectives towards all that. As a time constrained but content Type A writer / mother, I usually return from vacation with a list of my own perspectives and rules on how to make this year better – what to focus on, how to be more playful and what to ignore. For example, I have a new perspective on volunteering:  only take volunteer positions that relate to my professional development. This perspective guides me in deciding what I volunteer for and helps me choose the right organization or cause.

Here are four generational perspectives everyone should know about: 

  1. As Gen X turns 50, life becomes more finite and precious
    As individuals – parents, employees, care takers – we used to obsess over the logistics of our daily lives. We use to share each other’s schedules over a glass of wine as if we’re discussing the finale of our favorite tv series. But is that what we want to remember about this time in our life? Not me, I want to remember the bigger picture, the “OMG appreciate them NOW” moments. Gen X is losing interest in the logistics, the details, because the big stuff matters more than the daily grind.
  2. Gen Z children are becoming adults, establishing a stronger presence (and impact) in the world
    I frequently write about Gen Z in the US but statistically, there are only 23 million in the US vs. 1.9 billion globally. My perspective is that Gen Z will make it’s mark as world leaders and those in the US will have global intentions no matter what career they choose. Gen Z will inform Gen X how to work and think globally, teaching us that we need to change our perspective from national to global. Simultaneously, Gen Z is under major pressure by Gen X and colleges to be highly successful meaning we – Gen X – need to have a gentler perspective on Gen Z.
  3. Gen X has newfound flexibility, generating more opportunistic perspectives
    As more Gen Xers work from home, we are constantly distracted by most of our responsibilities and it’s hard to complete anything. A flexible schedule means always being available to too many people and for us, that is really hard.   I perform best keeping one ball in the air at a time (and wish I did it more).  Yet by working from home, I am considered available to help my Gen Zer’s with homework and all that parent stuff associated with being home…and that’s where the boundaries come in.  Like Gen Z, I work in small chunks where I put everything personal aside and focus on work 60 minutes at a time.  My perspective is to maintain balance no matter what it takes to keep it.
  4. Gen X will become empty nesters which opens many doors
    As Gen Z’s go off to university, work or college, some parents are ecstatic, a few depressed, some lonely or stunned. The Gen Z children have been the household focus for years. For some, this is a rite of passage all parents contemplate and the departure can be shocking. If you don’t have a steady income to help pay student loans or a job to keep you busy, then consider finding one. Gen X can begin building a second career now, I’m on my second already!

Fall is very different than the New Year. The New Year is about making personal improvements while autumn is about making life improvements if necessary. Nature tells us what to do: at first, get really colorful and creative, then shed what we don’t want. Aging, responsible Gen X wants a colorful yet simple life: that’s our new perspective.

Originally written for GAIA Insights Aug 2015
For Gen Y Perspective,


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