Who are we? Why are we here? What’s the point of all this?
These are questions we all ask ourselves, but these questions are most frequently asked by the cohort born between 1995-1997. I myself am a part of this group, having been born in 1996. (Not my decision, by the way.)
But why do we ask ourselves these questions? Because we are in the middle of two huge generations: millennials and Gen Z. Some academics have us grouped with the millennials, while others have us grouped with Gen Z. This has caused the '95-'97 generation to be going back and forth from, “How do you do, fellow adults?” to “How do you do, fellow kids?” over the last few years.
It’s time for us to have a name just for ourselves.
I know for me personally, I overlap in characteristics with both generations. I make TikToks, I like avocado toast, I’ve said the word “adulting,” but I also have no memories of the '90s whatsoever. (I’m still waiting for someone to prove to me that they were real.) I remember life before smartphones and Netflix, but I’m also not in the middle of my career like most millennials are at this point. (Also, what's a career?)
It feels weird simultaneously being the younger child and the parent to these two generations. With millennials I’m like, “Hey guys, I want to go to the bar too!” But with Gen Z I'm like, “Hey guys, if you’re going to drink, I’d rather you do it here at home. If any of you need a ride, let me know.”
On some days I feel like I’m a young millennial. On those days I say things like, “I’m gonna live forever! Old people suck!” But there are other days where I feel like I’m the oldest member of Gen Z. And on those days I say things like, “Death comes for all of us. The passage of time is inevitable. Heed my words, young ones, because before you know it, you’ll be but a particle in the wind.”
Why do we even have generations? Why can’t we just be our own individuals? Why can’t I be a part of Generation Steve? (Generation Steve sounds like a phase someone would go through after dating a startling amount of people named Steve.) It just seems silly to me that I should be grouped with a generation of people born in the '80s. Families back then still sat around at the table and had dinner together. I, on the other hand, have no memories of my family whatsoever. (I'm still waiting for someone to prove to me they are real.)
I don’t even agree with how generations are grouped. Here are the real categories of age:
- Young people (18-30)
- Young people? (31-40)
- Middle Aged (41-50)
- Oh no, not yet. (51-60)
- Hey, this isn’t that bad (61-70)
- This is still going on, huh? (71-80)
- Might as well keep going (81-90)
- What’s next? (91-100)
Those of us born in the '95-'97 range are the middle child of millennials and Gen Z. People know we exist, but we’ve mostly left home alone and expected to figure out how to make dinner for ourselves. Sometimes we get left out of the holiday card. If we get caught staying out too late, we don’t get in trouble. Neither side has time for us. We’re just told to go to bed. But we want attention! We were trying to seem like cool adults to millennials for the last few years, but recently, we’ve been trying to be cool young people to Gen Z. Either way, we come off as trying too hard. Both sides make fun of us. At the same time though, I don’t feel like there’s as much pressure on us. We can pick and choose which side to align with. If Gen Z does something cool, boom we are there. If millennials do something cool, we chastise them just like everyone else. We just want to fit in. Sorry, millennials. I'm sure you'll do something cool at some point. Keep your head up, buddy.
What shall we be called then? We simply cannot just be called “Millennial/Gen Z cusps.” It's too long. Here are some other options we could consider:
- Gen Middle Child
- Gen Don’t You Forget About Me
- Gen Why Do We Even Have Generations?
- Gen Footnote
- Gen Let’s All Just Agree to a Tie!
- Gen Buy One Get One Free
- Gen Middle Name
- Gen “Oh Don't Mind Us, We'll Just Be Over Here in the Corner Quietly Minding Our Own Business”
To be honest, I don’t know if either group wants us. Gen Z probably thinks we are too old for them. All though, maybe millennials would welcome us. Right now, some of them are experiencing a sort of mid-life crisis. No longer are they the cool, young generation. I think they would probably pay us to join them, so they can claim they have some Gen Z members in their group. And honestly, I would accept that job offer. Like many people, I’ve been furloughed from my current job with no current idea of when I will be asked back.
So, screw it, c’mon millennials, let’s drink a latte, watch all the Harry Potter movies, and split rent between the millions of us. I can chip in $5.
Do all of you have Venmo?