Generation X

Last weekend I watched an investigative report about Generation X.  I have been pondering it ever since.

According to this report, those born into generation X (that is me and, no doubt, lots of you too) have married later or married and divorced quickly or never married and lots of them have remained childless. The idea behind the report was that there were lots of people who are now desperate to find partners and have children because they have almost missed their chance. They interviewed men and women of this generation. Overwhelmingly they said things like – I’ve got a great life and I haven’t had time for a significant other or family OR if I found a partner or had children they would have to be willing to fit around my lifestyle.

This is the very factor which has separated me from many of my peers. I married at 20, had my first child at 24, my second at 28. At the time that we married many of our friends wondered why we were doing it. We were the first to be married and had children long before any of our friends. At a time when our children are at the end of their school life and we are beginning to see a life post children many of our contemporaries have pre-schoolers who are just beginning their school lives.

There were people I knew who were not going to have children until they had travelled or paid off their mortgages or made their fortunes. I have found myself wondering is this self-fulfilling or self-centred. I do not intend to cast judgement. I just wonder what it was about our generation that urged the notion of waiting to have family, that a life needed to be lived before it could become part of a partnership. Were we trying to find ourselves and enrich our lives before making that commitment or did we want to have it all and do it all before settling? Why did we think that we could not have a life if we had a family, that the two concepts were mutually exclusive.

I very often felt that I was out of synch with the zeitgeist of my own generation because of my choice to have a family at a younger age, but I never let it make me feel diminished as a person. I am well educated, I have a career and I could have followed this to high levels if I had the desire. I have had the oppotunity to follow my own course within the partnership of my marriage. My husband has had the same opportunities. We have raise two bright, articulate and interesting children. Their love and our love of them has sustained us as a family and allowed us the opportunity to enrich the lives of our children along with ours. My life has made me very happy and I really don’t want for more than that.

I know that every life experience is different and I can’t tell you what compelled us to marry and have a family. It just seemed like the right thing for us. I’m glad that we did.


I think that I would have had a lonely life without these two! (aged four and six months)

I am so interested to hear how generation X has impacted your life. I’ll leave you with a song for every member of our generation.


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10 responses to “Generation X

  1. Don’t know if I’m typical gen x-er. Married at 25, no kids – ex didn’t want them (well after I left he said he wanted them), divorced at 32, had first child at age 36.

  2. Maybe I am a typical Gen X-er. As soon as I left school I got a job and saved money so I could travel. I spent seven years overseas and never even considered marriage or kids. I came back to Australia, studied, got a job and until I read your post, thought I was different to all other Gen x-ers. It does feel good to see I’m not alone. Do I want to get married? Not really. And I want to stop making bad choices regarding men first. Do I want kids? I always said no – now I say unlikely. I know what I’ve got and I appreciate it. I also know what I’m missing and know that I don’t know what I’m missing (does that make sense?). In the end I have to be happy with the choices I’ve made – and for the most part, I am.

    Wow – I’ve opened up more here than I have on my own blog!!

  3. I’m an X’er as well who delayed getting married (because I didn’t find the right man until my 30s) and delayed having children. I am glad that I delayed children because I have eons more patience now than I would have in my 20s. Plus, my Boomer sisters who had their kids in their 20s always resented having children because they had no careers. My Boomer sisters always encouraged me not to marry and not to have kids.

    I was also strongly influenced to not be like my mother who was uneducated (Gr. 10) and unhappily married with 4 daughters. She couldn’t leave her marriage because she had no means of providing for me and my sisters. I was determined to be self-sufficient and am fortunate to be capable of returning to work and self-sufficiency if I need it.

    It is amazing what influences us, isn’t it?

  4. As a mother to the X-ers, it has meant less grandchildren!

    But I think the main thing it has meant is that my sons are not happy now. One has brain damage, so he will never have a relationship, or children now. The other has emerged from a long term partnership, childless, & they both regret it now. Perhaps if they had had children they would still be together. My daughter chose to have a child, & she has found it hard, alone, but now has another child, with partner, & it is not that much easier. She has never really regretted either child, though. And she has a career.

  5. Oh my god look at those little faces.

    Your daughter has been a stunner at all stages of her life by the look of it.

    Yeah yeah, sorry, I know she reads this, so I apologise if she becomes difficult to deal with for the next few days while her head re-sizes. 🙂

    Unfortunately, I am heading for mid 40s and still have no children, and have only been trying for a couple of years with my husband of a couple of years.

    I can’t say it was a decision I willingly made not to marry or have kids early, I just never met the right person to do that with.

    As for you, me, and others similar or different, I say live and let live. Whatever floats your boat is what you should do, without worrying about what others expect(ed) or want(ed) from you.

  6. h&b

    It wasn’t a popular decision to get married at 25.
    It was the first wedding either of us had been to since we were little kids, and we had to wait another 10yrs before anyone else married….

    However, they all married and got stuck right into the kids, whereas we were late in this regard. Coming from an unsettled background myself, travel wasn’t high on my priorities – I wanted old fashioned things like a permanent home, a solid marriage. I wanted to put a good horse before my cart.

    I don’t think I ever knew happiness until now. Before, it was all work and bills and forging ahead. With my son, i’m smelling roses that previously may not have been available to me, without the foundation work.

    That said though, I lecture others on not leaving things too late. But then, you can’t tell youth anything 🙂

  7. There’s way too much agonising over things today. I think it’s just as well I married at 22 and had children while I was in my twenties.If I’d established a career, and gotten comfortable with a salary and interesting work, I might have been less willing to take the plunge. Having kids while you’re still not too far removed from that state yourself has it’s advantages. You maybe have more fun with your kids, more stamina, are more flexible. Of course there’s also the matter of cluelessness,and immaturity….ultimately,its like Aunty Evil says. Whatever floats your boat.

  8. I caught the tail end of generation X, so I feel like I am in between. Generation X is a long generation so I don’t always feel like I have a lot in common with people who were born at the beginning.

  9. Ah, well, I am an X-er too. We married at 26, also had our first baby at 26. We just jumped right in. Most of our friends are only just getting married and/or starting families now (even though they have been together as couples for much longer than we have). I’m glad we never agonised over starting a family, we started out with nothing, but are probably better off for it.

  10. I’m really glad I didn’t settle down with the serious love interest of my 20s. I always felt that he was too immature and self-absorbed to take on parenting, although he eventually fathered a child in his 40s. I fell pregnant at 32 and that felt right for me. It’s kind of keeping me young at heart, even though I’ve officially reached middle-age…

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