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Xennial in the Middle :: The Microgeneration

Xennial in the Middle - The Microgeneration | Columbia SC Moms Blog“Hey you guuuuuuuys!”

I learned a new word this week, and if you were born between 1977 and 1983 like I was, definitely keep reading. 

I first heard the word “Xennial” the other day, and it was music to my ears. Seriously. The sun came out, birds were singing, there were rainbows. It was beautiful. 

It irritates me to be called either a Millenial, or a member of Generation X. I rant about it frequently (literally). We get put into either group, but there are quite a few reasons we just don’t fit. 

But now we finally have a name to call ourselves. Xennials. We are a “micro-generation” that falls in between the one that came before us, and the one that follows. 

Here’s the basic definition of a Xennial —

  • Born between 1977 and 1983. 
  • Our childhood was analog, and our adulthood is digital.
  • We get the cynicism of Gen Xers, and the optimism of Millenials.

Basically, we grew up in one era, and came of age in another. I sometimes get funny looks and sideways comments when I make this point, but it really is true. 

Back In My Day…

We played kickball in the front yard for hours, then came inside and played Nintendo (the original one). 

There were no pressures from social media telling us how to act or what was cool. We had judgmental peers for that.

Computers in our grade school classrooms were definitely not a thing until maybe high school.

What’s a Google? We wrote our research papers by reading encyclopedias. Spellcheck was done by our teacher, with a big red pen. We know knew how to write a bibliography. By hand. 

We knew what a long-distance phone call was, and we were probably in college before we ever owned a cell phone. However, that cell phone was basically never with us. I had a professor at USC who once flipped out on a kid for sharpening a pencil during an exam. I can’t imagine what he would have done if one of those students had a phone ring. 

Speaking of college — our professors knew what our faces looked like, because when we took notes in class, we wrote them down. On actual paper.

If you mention a war in Iraq, we might ask you which one, because we are old enough to remember both. I still have penpal letters from the soldier I wrote to in third grade. 

“I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so … scared!” If you know what I’m quoting, you just passed a big Xennial test.

We created our Facebook accounts when you still needed a college email address to sign up, but we were still in college at the time. 

And Now?

We were still young enough to mostly embrace the digital revolution. We can hold our own on social media, but there are some apps we just don’t understand (I’m looking at you, Snapchat). It was relatively easy for us to transition from reading maps, to using a Garmin, to using our phones. 

We can help you fix your computer, but still might need to ask our younger siblings or cousins how to use certain features on our iPads. 

We also still speak the English language when we text. Full sentences, punctuation, the whole nine yards. And we have no idea what certain emojis mean. Or why we need about 800 of them. 

It’s not that we take issue with being in either of our surrounding generations, it’s that we don’t feel a true connection to Generation X or Millenials. Things were a little different for those kids born a few years in between. We love to reminisce about the “good old days” just like anyone else, and we think ours were pretty great. 

Do you fit into the Xennial Generation?

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7 Responses to Xennial in the Middle :: The Microgeneration

  1. Jeffrey Angstadt July 3, 2017 at 11:15 am #

    Fantastic Hannah!! Really good stuff. I love that both of my children are part of this microgeneration.

    • Hannah Gunning July 3, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      Thanks dad!

  2. lisastevens July 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    Love this! And I totally passed the Saved By the Bell test 😉

  3. Jeffrey Angstadt October 18, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    This is very insightful Hannah! A fun read. These generational designations never really made sense to me before reading this. They struck me as simplistic marketing tactics. That worked. There were no such titles in my day, unless you count old farts and stupid kids. Or hippies. Thank you for enlightening me!

    • Hannah Gunning October 18, 2017 at 11:00 am #


  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa January 3, 2018 at 3:10 pm #

    Yes I totally identify with all of this! I used to think we were the elusive Gen Y because I knew we weren’t Gen X or Millenials. Finally there’s a term for our small group! (1979 represent) 🙂 Thanks for writing.

    • Hannah Gunning January 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm #

      Nice to have our own name!

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