5 Questions with Sally Koslow

Last month I posted a review of the book Slouching Toward Adulthood by Sally Koslow.  I remarked that while the book – about Generation Y’s slow pace

through life – was interesting, I found it rather sad.  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.  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,–let’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 won’t evolve into cynics who wish that someone had kicked them in the butt when they were younger so they’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 X’ers are now thought leaders, rising in every profession. Your impact grows by the day.  You’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.: I’m in the middle of The Odd Women by George Gissing, a British author popular in the late 1880’s. This novel is fascinating and surprisingly contemporary, though a bit one-note. It’s set in London and explores hardships faced by single women as well as inequalities in and outside marriage. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose—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–it’s never too late to grow up—and will be published by Viking, It focuses on a recent widow as well as her daughters in their 20’s and the paths their lives take after the death of their husband/father. It’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 I’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.  Click here to buy Slouching Toward Adulthood.  After reading it, let me know your thoughts!

Book Review: Slouching Toward Adulthood

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.