Saturday, August 02, 2014

This Next Generation is Going To Blow Your Head out of Your Arsehole!

You've heard of Baby Boomers, You're probably as a reader of this blog a member of Gen Y, and perhaps you've been hearing about Millennials (kids born after 2000) or iGen, or Gen Z? Well get ready mother fuckers because the next generation to change the world is going to be...

Generation X.

Aka the next senior most generation after the Baby Boomers retire. They were big in the 80's and 90's around the time that marketers and journalists and what not pay attention to people. They will be even bigger in the coming decades as they weild actual and significant economic and political power.

And aside from a few young celebrities, almost every other generation will do what every generation has done before them, and simply wait their turn. And it's a long wait.

Case in point, the first Roman Emperor Augustus was about 18 years of age when he defeated Marc Antony in battle and ultimately seized power for himself. I'm sure there are non-European examples of young rulers, but basically that's probably the most powerful and influential a 'new generation' has ever been. And I suspect it had far more to do with him being the adoptive nephew of Julius Caesar than it did the times he was born in.

Since then, people of influence have probably on the whole gotten progressively older. It was only five or six years ago that Japan got it's first Prime Minister to be born after WW2. Bill Clinton in the early 1990's was America's youngest ever president on inauguration yet he was not 'Gen X' but a baby boomer, old enough to have been doing a Rhodes scholarship during the Viet Nam War drafting days.

If you are in the relatively few, and relatively small industries whose target market is a young demographic then hey yeah, you may want to look into how X differs from Y differs from Z. But on the whole your attitude absolutely can be: I don't give a shit.

Because on the whole, each generation is actually by and large the same as those that preceded them. And the most significant thing most members of most generations produce is yet another generation. Which is probably the best thing any generation can produce, yet being not different or exciting, it receives very little attention.

But evolution doesn't happen that quickly, Gen Y is no 'smarter' than Gen X, who in turn are no smarter than Baby Boomers. What makes each arbitrarily segmented generation different from each other is actually something they all do the same - interact with their environment.

So relax, young people are just like old people but younger.

I will make one caveat, and that is to pay heed to the addage 'only bad change happens quickly', all the changes to our environment of most significance to a younger generation that I see are bad - increased mortgage stress, increased working hours, increased living costs, poorer nutrition, more portable technology, environmental degradation.

Given what I've learned about the hippocampus and early brain development, if there's anything to be expected from the younger generations it is greater incidence of anxiety and depression and it's subsequent increase in substance abuse etc.

I'm not blaming young people, these shitty lifestyle choices are handed down from our elders. And I suspect Gen X to be a lot similar and not much different to Baby Boomers. Who in turn barely resemble their hippy reputation when they were being wrote about in the 1960's.

As for me, I'll probably be 'of significance' in another 30 years when I hit the 60's mark.

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