Somewhere Between Gen-X and Millennial


Hi, my name is Tara Jo and I am a labeled Millennial, stuck in a Gen-Xer’s mentality.

One of my first “I’m in trouble” memories as a child is as vivid today as it was when it happened. I was maybe four years old, running around the house, while belting out the song lyrics “Like a Virgin, Hey! Touched for the very first time!” My dad was infuriated. Of course, at four years old I had zero clue what I was singing, but I had an older brother and sister that played Madonna ALL the time. Basically, we all got in trouble as he was not a fan of his kids singing about their virginity. Boy, did my mom and dad have fun explaining the cone bra, too.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s is something I am proud of. What a fun few decades of emerging music, television shows, and style. One moment, I was holding an “Alf” doll and the next minute I was saving up my allowance to purchase my first CD. Since Madonna’s controversial beginnings in the 80s caused such trouble in the house, I was shocked when my parents allowed me to purchase “Oooh on The TLC Tip”. If you remember TLC, you know that Left Eye literally wore a condom on her left eye in order to promote safe sex. So, if singing about feeling like a virgin was considered inappropriate, using contraceptive as a form of style couldn’t be okay. However, my parents knew I worked hard for my allowance, and I was able to buy the CD and run around the house and sing “What About Your Friends” as much as I wanted.

Oh, hang on. Maybe I should explain what a CD is for the younger audience?

It’s this round circle thing that is shiny and that is where we kept our music. Better yet, I’ll call your CD and raise you a cassette tape. If you ever had to use a number 2 pencil to wind your cassette tape back together, I just don’t see how you’re a Millennial. When 9 pm rolled around, I ran to the radio ready to record The Top 5 at 9 on DJX. That was pure GOLD to have because you had the cool music for the week. Should I even talk about mix tapes and mix CDs?

Man, we had to WORK for our music. Just one more side note on music, when Kurt Loder announced Kurt Cobain had died, the world stood still for a moment.

There is so much more I can talk about as the Gen-X/Millennial debate comes to mind. We had the Golden Girls, Saved by the Bell, and TGIF. If you love Justin Timberlake now, you need to go back and listen to “Please Don’t Go Girl” by NKOTB. I could keep going on with the memories I have of why I take a stand on not being a REAL Millennial.

Flipping the page, I have come to realize why the year 1983 was carved into the Millennial group. Nokia and AOL. That’s it. That’s all I have. Just because I had dial-up internet in high school and a Nokia phone to play Snake on as a senior, I am a Millennial.

Did you know I had to pay ten cents per text message and press the number buttons several times to even get the letter of the word I was trying to spell in the text?! Texting wasn’t a thing, you still called and left voice mails. Does anyone remember PAGERS? I just remembered pagers in middle school. Do you remember when you traded off the clips to interchange the pager colors with your friends? Pay phones? Rotary Phones?

HOW am I am real Millennial?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Millennial by the way. It is the generation right now that is too young to be old at all. The generation that is partying and working and maybe getting married now or maybe not. I just can’t completely identify with young adults that were born AFTER Dr. Dre was NWA.

My favorite Peloton spin class instructor Robin Arzon brings up things such as “If you don’t know what a Walkman is, add 5 on your resistance as a youth tax”. If you can add youth tax by not knowing anything I have discussed in this article, you are definitely in that Millennial group.

Being stuck somewhere between Gen-X and Millennial isn’t all that bad.

I give it more grief than what I really intend to. It honestly gives me an opportunity to tell the younger generations of all the ways we listened to music, the movies and the style. I’ll tell them that if they need a lesson in history, come sit by me and I’ll school them on how to properly belt out “Like a Virgin”.

Can you relate? Are you somewhere between Gen-X and Millennial?


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