Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, July 18, 2014

Generation X and Y

A response to Judith Price's editorial: "Young adults need to get more realistic".

This editorial is the last in a long line of articles I've read suggesting that generation x and y have an entitlement complex. I completely disagree and I'm speaking out.

Let me tell you about my generation. I grew up in an era in which we were sold pipe dreams about our future. College was a given; heck, Ivy League at that. We'd climb the corporate ladder. We'd enjoy the fruits of technology. But then we became adults. Many of us went to college and came out with exorbitant, suffocating loans. The grants available in the 70s are not the same grants available to my generation. In those days the maximum Pell grant covered 3/4 of college costs. Today the maximum award covers about a 1/3 of the cost. In recent years most of my friends just plain couldn't afford college and didn't even attend. (Many of them are better off than their debt strapped counterparts).

The price of my cheap little apartment in Lowell went from $350 in 1997 to $900 in 2000. Nearly a 300% increase in 3 years. My generation didn't benefit from the housing value wave that our baby boomer counterparts rode; a convenient source of income to tap into.

When I graduated with my RN last year the economy tanked. All the part time and retired nurses when back to work to supplement their family's income. The jobs for new grads are few and far between. After the grueling rigors of nursing school, I have yet to find a job.

As a result of these economic realities many of my friends have severely delayed childbearing. A costly decision for a generation to make. One that, perhaps, contributes to a sense of slow maturation.

That's the raw deal my generation got. How are we handling the hand we've been dealt?

I can't speak for everyone but I'll tell you a little about myself. My family lives in a small apartment. But we don't feel sorry for ourselves. We enjoy each other's company; a silver lining to the close quarters. No one misses every cute little thing my one year old does. Love abounds.
Our grocery budget is tight, but we're resourceful. I'm not too proud to cook a big pot of rice and beans; in fact, it's a favorite. We're also farming a quarter acre plot in Dracut this year.

Is my generation lazy? Tell that to my friends at the package handling job who faithfully work, bringing home only $100 a week. Tell that to my best friend, a single mom and VP of operations at a multi-million dollar corporation who works her butt off day in and day out.

Another theme I've read frequently in articles is about the lazy, selfish young adults who "won't leave the house". Certainly every situation is unique, but my when my kids grow up I welcome them to live with me, or at the very least, next door to me. I look forward to baby sitting my grand kids and being there for my adult children. And when my old, frail body fails me, I know that my kids will reciprocate, because we've always maintained that close family bond. I don't expect the government to pay for my final years as the older generations seem to.

So the next time you think of generation x and y, you should think: resilient. Not: entitled.



  • At 1:04 PM, Anonymous said…

    Hi there,
    I liked your post a lot until I got to the part about the older generation ( of which I am a proud member !) expecting the gov't to take care of them. I have to say, I think it grossly unfair to make such a blanket statement. I don't expect much from my government but it sure would be nice if they would return to me (at some point,when I'm a bit older) the social security money that I have so faithfully and unerringly loaned to government for the duration of my entire working life. I think the idea was that they take that money from our pay checks, hold onto it for us until we're old and then parcel it back to us, a little at a time, to help supplement whatever savings we may have been able to squirrel away. The problem is, the gov't has been "borrowing" that money and there may not be enough left to return to us when we need it.
    I too am an RN. For 35 yrs I've been able to care for my family's health and medical needs pretty well, but sometimes we need the services of a Dr or hospital, which our very expensive health insurance pays for. unless my son grows up to be an RN or a Dr, who is going to take care of my medical needs when I'm unable to take care of them myself. I have a bad feeling that I won't even be able to depend on that paltry Social Security to help me out as it will most likely be gone before I see any of it.
    Don't get me wrong here...I think your generation is awesome, truly, but so is ours. We've not worked any less hard than you guys to get where we are today and had plenty of tough challenges ourselves along the way. Please don't make assumptions that people of our generation are expecting to be "taken care of" by the gov't... It sort of sounds like you see US as the entitled ones.
    Thanks for your thoughts, I enjoy reading them. I just had to put in a defending work for us aging boomers. Have a great day!

  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger Deena said…

    You know, you're right. I just reread that blog post and it was great all the way up to the last line when I had to stick in that snide little remark. Now that I've thought about it I would take it out, but your comment centers on it and I think you make some good points so I'll just leave it in.


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