As a Gen X woman, I struggle with the balance between surviving the Great Depression and Boomer mindsets ingrained in me by my grandparents and my parents, and the Gen Y mindset that is often more in line with my own beliefs and ideals. I exist in a no man’s land of dichotomies that simultaneously call me to care for everyone in my life, and at the same time, call me to stop taking care of everyone else in my life before taking care of myself.
This has me looking at all my facets and trying not to feel like two people crammed into a single body. So I go inward trying to make sense of the polarity.
I am an empowered female healer and entrepreneur. I am a dishwasher, a chef, a housekeeper.
I am an artist, a poet, an expresser of emotions. I am a snow shoveler, a dog walker, a poop scooper.
I am sexual, physically expressive, vibrant. I am modest, proper, appropriate.
I am “get it done”, “climb the mountain”, “soldier on”. I am “have dinner on the table by 6”, “do the right thing”, “stand by your man”.
I am “Let’s don’t use labels.” I am “How do I understand what that is without a label?”
I am sushi, pho and shawarma. I am a Campbell’s green bean casserole.
I am tarot cards, Nordic runes, sacred women’s circles. I am traditional Christmases, reservations, predictable routines.
So, when asked if I want to go out, hang out, go on a trip, I have to balance that with my long list of personal responsibilities, things expected of me, or things I think are expected. I have to remind myself that I deserve to have free time and to do things I want to do. I have to remind myself that those generational conversations do not have to dictate my behavior. I need to remember that what I want needs to be part of the equation, and also not the entirety of it.
And, when I am asked where I stand on a topic, almost any topic, bear with me and my long pause. Bear with me while I figure out on the fly what my personal values are. Bear with me while I run through both sides in the moment to make sure I am expressing me, and not any of the generational conversations I have absorbed over the years. Bear with me while I remember the difference between what I might have said in the past versus what I want to say now. Bear with me as I weigh what needs to be done against what I want to do. Bear in mind that I am a generation torn.