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A COMMON LANGUAGE

by Jessica Thompson

Take a look around at Gen X-ers, and you'll see a group of crazy kids with body piercings, tattoos, and funny-colored hair. Many of you may ask: Are there ANY similarities between my children and me? I, as a Gen X-er, am here to tell you that despite what you may think, we are more alike than you'd imagine. Yes, I know you look at us and say, “We're like THEM? But they wear crazy clothes, and do all sorts of strange things with their body jewelry!” You have to remember that we are your offspring, and no matter what you may believe, we have been instilled with your thinking in some way or another.

If you talk to the majority of people in Generation X, you will find most of us want exactly what you wanted when you were our age. You will realize that many of our morals and actions are based on what you taught us. However, what we learn is also based on what is fed to us via the media, television, movies and music. We take examples from our parents, but at the same time are being force-fed what is okay by all these forms of media, which play a huge role in our lives. While your generation was growing up you learned how to relate to the opposite sex from such shows as Happy Days and Gidget. Today's youth learn how to relate from Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210 and MTV. These types of programs have taught us that it's okay to sleep with someone on your first date, that such things are not wrong. Many Gen X-ers tend to serial date and sleep around just because the media tells us it’s acceptable. And yet, underneath it all, we long for the same things you wanted: success in life, a loving companion, a happy family, a decent-paying job and a house with a white picket fence.

We yearn to make you proud with our accomplishments - our biggest fear is to have our parents be ashamed of us. So we try to incorporate what we've learned from you into what the media has taught us, and hope that it all turns out for the best. We may not show it often, but everything you said to us when we were younger, and continue to say to us, doesn't go in one ear and out the other. We take it into account, and when we make decisions about what to do in our lives, your words hang over our heads. Eventually, we come to a point in our lives where we realize that if you succeeded in raising us you must know SOMETHING about life. In fact, you may know a lot more than we'd like to admit.

Many Baby Boomers were members of the Hippie movement because they were looking for a chance at free expression, free love, and inner peace. Many Gen X-er's have looked for those same things in the Rave movement. The music may be different, and the clothing may have changed a bit, but we want the same things you did: to have a different voice, to stand out, to have the chance to express ourselves.

Just look under the Gen-X cover of spiked hair, baggy pants and an eyebrow ring. Look hard and you’ll find your own dreams, goals and morals just below the surface.                     


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