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.