By Thomas Sellers Jr.
I’m having an identity crisis here in 2019.
Born in 1981, I’m not sure if I am a Millennial or a Gen Xer. According to some publications, if you were born between 1961 and 1981, you are Generation X. Then other studies show that a Millennial was born between 1981 and 1996. Therefore because I am familiar with John Hughes films and also created an email account just to have access to Facebook, I am technically a Xennial (pronounced like Zennial).
Caught in the middle of these two generations while learning from Baby Boomers, I’m trying to come up with a list of resolutions to improve upon myself in the New Year. Thank God, the Baby Boomers are still going strong, helping hold our industries, infrastructures and values together.
As a bridge between Gen X and Millennials, I recognize the similarities and vast differences between the two groups. Generation X will come up with a list of resolutions that will mirror a Millennial. But the youngster will have a totally different idea and purpose behind the wording.
This Best Sellers’ List is an inside look at my confused state of being a Xennial looking to improve over the next 350-plus days. Here is a view inside the most popular resolutions of Gen-X vs. Millennials.
- Read more (Gen Xer) vs. use less
Both groups make this resolution as a token gesture. Gen Xers are not serious about reading more even if it is a physical book or on a Kindle. Meanwhile, Millennials are tired of hearing how their generation is so dependent on technology, so they vow to cut back on the need of technology. As soon as they do that, a new app or invention hits the market.
When the new hot item becomes the craze, Gen Xers will finally keep their resolution to read more. They will pick up the manual or pamphlet to learn how to operate the device. A Millennial can just grab the new piece of technology and start operating it.
Why use less technology when you can press an app that makes somebody else go pick up your food from a restaurant? Then that person drives your order to you so you can continue your busy life.
Meanwhile a Gen Xer can still be spotted in the eatery at a table with a laptop, tablet or smartphone, reading about the latest headlines on TMZ to remain trendy.
- Travel more vs. spend physical time with loved ones
As Gen Xers approach 40 and 50 years old, they want to seize the moment and create special memories. They are starting to author a bucket list. On the other hand, Millennials are invincible and might be shortsighted. So a noble ambition for a Millennial will be just to spend more time in person with people they know.
Gen Xers are no strangers to gathering with friends to just hang out. They will also hit the road for a trip in a heartbeat. Gen Xers like going to the gym in groups and will form friendships with colleagues. The twist is that Gen Xers will use their phones to enhance the experience. They download stupid games to play with friends or try to record goofy moments to post later on social media. A Gen Xer will even use the phone to bring up a topic for discussion.
This is vs. Millennials, who can isolate themselves in a room full of people. It is scary going onto a college campus and seeing a university center full of individuals. Each person is trapped into a lonely world by choice. Their preferred way of communicating with friends and family is via Snapchat and Instagram.
- Spend more time with family and friends vs. less time on social media
Now Gen Xers will make the vow to spend more time with friends and family too. But they make this decree because they are workaholics or have allowed their hobbies to drain most of their day. Usually Gen Xers develop habits (good or bad) that pull them away from the general public. Gen Xers realize they are spending too much time online and will dedicate themselves to spending quality time with others.
Millennials’ quality time is spent logged into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. A Millennial will wake up, get dressed, fix his or her face and head to a special venue just to take a picture to post online. When you are this committed to your profile on social media, it might be time to pull away.
Millennials can make up a whole new life online with filters, well-timed photos and flat-out lying.
Reality checks are need for both groups. Gen Xers need some face-to-face time to slow down in life and get back on track. Meanwhile, Millennials need time away from FaceTime to get back to reality.
Let’s pray these youngsters get enough time in the real world to learn how to deal with the real world.
- Quit smoking vs. drink less
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, smoking became a way to deal with stress. All the public service announcements were a part of the mainstream warning us about the dangers. We even saw ads about our brains being on drugs and “I learn by watching you.” So Gen Xers knew to avoid hard drugs. But cigarettes were made available to us by the age of 18. To deal with the pressures of life, several Gen Xers turned to a smoke to relieve some of their worries.
But as organizations like Truth.com villainized smoking, Millennials romanticized alcohol. Drinking became the cool thing to do for Millennials. Then the substance became the way out of depression and pain for Millennials.
While both cigarettes and alcohol remain legal, the pair have enough negative consequences to have Gen Xers and Millennials trying to quit them. But marijuana, in all its old and new forms, is taking a firm grip on both Gen Xers and Millennials. It seems like we are trading one drug for another.
- Save more money/spend less money vs. waste less money
Let’s look at money for a moment. A Gen Xer might have a family, career and investments by now. So he or she is trying to watch finances in order to keep things going in the right direction. A Gen Xer is facing decisions like not taking a larger vacation, buying a new car down the line or refinancing a home.
Over in Millennial Land, the question is whether to buy the new iPhone or put new rims on the car. I would tell all the Millennials in college to enjoy being young while you can. Go buy all that foolish stuff before you bring children into this world. While you are young and single, be selfish. But while being selfish, put a little money back for the day you get responsible.
- Live life to the
fullest vs. don’t be a procrastinator
As you get older, you start to reflect on your past. Did I accomplish all I could? What is there left for me to do? Gen Xers are now at that point in life. “I haven’t done this yet.” So Gen Xers might be planning big vacations in the near future. They will be taking on tasks to live out their dreams. A Gen Xer might be making a big career move, such as becoming a YouTuber.
Meanwhile, a Millennial is already a successful YouTuber making millions of dollars. With some parts of life seemingly so easy, Millennials tend to relax and chill. They try not to stress about the important things in life like careers and family.
A Millennial is driven by fame, popularity, money and status. So when family, friends and jobs come up, they will put those on the back burner. Let’s hope the youngsters will be motivated to take care of others like they do themselves. And to all the Gen Xers, enjoy your selfish moment and then get back to helping others.
- Learn a new skill or hobby vs. learn
As we age, the past starts to look more beautiful in the rearview mirror. I am at the age where I remember VHS tapes, TGIF on TV and Alpha-Bits cereal. With the technology growing so fast, I have to learn how to use these apps to watch classic movies and television shows. For a Gen Xer, learning a new skill is just working your smartphone and flat-screen TV.
With technology second nature, a Millennial challenges himself or herself by learning something constructive. A Millennial takes up painting, sculpting, woodwork or gardening. While Gen Xers try to keep up with the times, latest trends and growing technology, Millennials pick up vinyl records, newspapers and hobbies to get a blast from the past. It becomes cool to learn of “old” stuff from the 1990s.
- Get organized vs. fall in love
I hate to say it, but several Gen Xers are going through divorces right now. Their family structures are changing. Some are even enduring career changes. So a Gen Xer is just trying to get his or her life in order. From spiritual to mental, a Gen Xer wants to get things back on track to move forward.
Maybe the wisdom of Gen Xers could help Millennials as they travel down the path of falling in love. No matter the generation, falling in love is a familiar process. You meet that special someone. There is an element of chasing involved. The other person’s heart is won over, leading to a relationship.
Millennials seem to fall in love weekly with the invention of social media. A Gen Xer had to go to school or work to find a special somebody. A Millennial just has to swipe right to get a chance to meet somebody. But the irony for Millennials is falling in love has never been so easy while being so difficult.
- Lose weight vs. eat healthier
When you are nearing 40, the midsection of the body tends to spread. Whatever you eat seems to go straight to your stomach. So Gen Xers are filling up local gyms across the Memphis area this month, trying to lose a few pounds.
Down at Whole Foods or the farmer’s market, Millennials are armed with handbaskets, picking out the freshest organic treats to fuel their health.
Gen Xers have formed several eating habits since the late 1980s. They love candy, Doritos, snack cakes and more. Now with so many reports warning us of how bad those treats are for our bodies, a Gen Xer takes the option to hit the gym.
Meanwhile, Millennials have been reading about the health dangers of junk food since they were in grade school. They gravitate toward reducing intake of food and eliminating the bad choices when it comes to getting healthier.
A guy like me caught in between takes a little bit of both. I will visit the gym while changing my eating habits. So far I’ve dropped 125 pounds and kept it off for nearly 10 years.
- Exercise more vs. work out
Now Gen Xers is in the gym. That doesn’t mean they know what they are doing in there. Pull out the smartphone and tap the YouTube icon. Look up some workout tips to take full advantage of your gym membership. Remember, Gen Xer, part of your organization is making time for the gym and getting after it when you are there.
Millennials are going to the gym, too. But they will also purchase equipment on Amazon.com to create a home gym. Millennials also like working out in parks. With three options around them, a Millennial has to find the time and purpose to work out.
Gen Xers have to learn how to use home gyms and parks to reach their goal of exercising more.
Both groups could learn from each other to improve. Just like the Baby Boomers and Generation X finally formed a loving relationship, it is almost that time for Gen X and Millennials.
Let’s start getting on the same page, Gen X and Millennials, to make U.S. America better. Time is running out because Generation Z is starting to drive and we have to share the road with them.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for Journal West 10 Media LLC. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to email@example.com.