Last month I posted a review of the book Slouching Toward Adulthood by Sally Koslow.Â I remarked that while the book – about Generation Y’s slow pace
through life – was interesting, I found it rather sad.Â Ms. Koslow, a Baby Boomer herself did a lovely job researching and writing about the history of both the Boomers and the Gen Y’ers.Â I, a Gen X’er, simply found the whole topic irritating and wondered how my generation fits in between these two massive, sometimes self-centered, hugely influential generations.
Ms. Koslow was nice enough to agree to answer a few questions to help me get to the bottom of my concerns – as well as to help me (and you!) get to know her better. I am so grateful that this author, teacher, editor, wife, and mother took a moment to speak to me…Welcome, Ms. Koslow!
Dr. S: Given that Gen Y seems to be having a lot of fun traveling, teaching English all over the world, and living as long as possible without taking on adult-like commitments like mortgages and 401K’s – do you think the rest of us would benefit from adopting their worldview? Are we missing the boat by being too serious?
S.K.: I see a lot Gen X-ers and Boomers having fun. No one can accuse us of being too deep. And while sometimes the random acts of wandering you describe among Gen Y-ers allow them to hit on the magic combination to a padlock that frees up lasting contentment, for some people,–letâ€™s be honest–this behavior is simply procrastination married to moral superiority. While researching Slouching Toward Adulthood, I met many Gen Y-ers who seemed to assume that there would always be enough time to do everything they want and that every light in front of them would always turn green. I worry that if they spend too many years in the activities you mention, they may miss out on other opportunities that they will enjoy. How many Gen Y-ers wonâ€™t evolve into cynics who wish that someone had kicked them in the butt when they were younger so theyâ€™d have already found a career path with which they can be reasonably happy and have started to build a life that makes it possible to provide a comfortable home for themselves and possibly children?
Dr. S.: As a Gen X’er I am interested to hear your thoughts about how my generation fits in between the Boomers and the Gen Y’ers? Or are we too small to be relevant?
S.K.: Many Gen Xâ€™ers are now thought leaders, rising in every profession. Your impact grows by the day.Â Youâ€™re had the good fortunate to have graduated from college and professional schools when there was less unemployment than there is now. Gen Y-ers have drawn the short straw.
Dr. S.: What are you reading now?
S.K.: Iâ€™m in the middle of The Odd Women by George Gissing, a British author popular in the late 1880â€™s. This novel is fascinating and surprisingly contemporary, though a bit one-note. Itâ€™s set in London and explores hardships faced by single women as well as inequalities in and outside marriage. Plus Ã§a change, plus c’est la mÃªme choseâ€”the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Dr. S.: Please tell me a bit about your new book coming out in June.
S.K.: The Widow Waltz, my fifth book, is a coming of age novel. One of the women is 50–itâ€™s never too late to grow upâ€”and will be published by Viking, It focuses on a recent widow as well as her daughters in their 20â€™s and the paths their lives take after the death of their husband/father. Itâ€™s a story of resilience built on the infrastructure of a mystery.
Dr. S.: One of the things I often write about is how to manage stress. We all know yoga is great, but I love to hear about some more creative solutions to stress management. For example, I have written that one of my go-to strategies is watching House Hunters. What do you do to manage your stress?
S.K.: Besides reading? I watch funny movies that Iâ€™ve seen so many times I can lip-synch. Topping my current rotation are Bridesmaids and As Good as It Gets. A few years ago I would have named Clueless and My Cousin Vinnie. After dipping into any of these films for a random ten minutes I feel mellow.
Thanks Ms. Koslow! To learn more about Ms. Koslow and her other books check out her website – www.SallyKoslow.com.Â Click here to buy Slouching Toward Adulthood.Â After reading it, let me know your thoughts!
5 thoughts on “5 Questions with Sally Koslow”
Stephanie….many thanks for the chance to chat! Sally Koslow
Thank you! Can’t wait to read your new book!
Nice interview with Sally! As a babyboomer and mother of young adults, I found her book insightful and revelatory — funny and smart too. But I find it interesting that in the time since the book was written, many Gen Yers have stopped their travels and are trying to settle down, but are smacking into the employment walls created by the recession. I worry that this generation may forever be set back by being unleashed on the job world at exactly the time there are no jobs. You Gen X-ers: Maybe your jobs don’t carry as many benefits as those BabyBoomers had, but you are lucky to have found yourselves in a time when there was space for you.
Thanks for your great comments. You are so right, the economy has wreaked havoc on all of us, changing the trajectory of many of our careers. Thanks for pointing out this important part of the puzzle.