I recently read Slouching Toward Adulthood, by Sally Koslow after hearing an interview with the author on the radio. It seemed like an interesting topic – Generation Y’s reluctance to embrace adulthood and their effect on the culture, job market, and their Baby Boomer parents. While I am neither a Boomer nor a Gen Y’er, I certainly know lots of people in those demographics, and am aware of the massive influence these groups have on our society at large.
Here’s the thing: I couldn’t make it though the book because it was so darn depressing! Maybe not everyone would find it so, but I sure did. The mentality of entitlement in Gen Y of which the author writes is tough to take, and the self-important attitude she describes in Boomers became nauseating. Obviously not every person in these generations falls within these stereotypes, but the thought that even a few might was too much for me to read about after a while.
We all know that the Baby Boomers have changed the world with every step in their development (hippies to yuppies to active retirees). So it makes sense that their kids would follow a novel path, too. Besides, what adultescent (as Koslow calls them) would want to leave parents who have supported them emotionally, financially, and otherwise everyday of their lives? Not only that, but these Boomer parents laid out a life path so smooth for their children that it was devoid of any real challenge, heartbreak, or disappointment. And through it all truly believed that their children hung the moon? With a childhood like that, I wouldn’t want to leave the nest either. Who would?
The dynamics between Gen Y and Baby Boomers are probably important for us to be aware of, as we all have to live in the world they have (or will) create. But for me, a stereotypically independent and skeptical Gen X’er, this book was just too much.
Consequently, in researching this post, I did come across this article on alternet.org: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking. Now that sounds like my cup of tea.