Stuck between Generations
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.
â€œYouâ€™re a Pisces sun with Pisces rising and a Pisces Venus? Thatâ€™s Â about as close as anyone can get to loving unconditionally.â€
â€”An astrologer friend in a recent conversation with me
As further proof that I was born ahead of my time, my birth year is generally included as the last of the baby boomers. And yet, Iâ€™ve rarely had anything at all in common with baby boomers.
I always found myself identifying a little more closely with Gen Xers. At least in my terms of attitudes and enjoyment in variety.
When I graduated from college, I resented being referred to as a baby boomer. Â Particularly Â because the job market sucked so badly at the time. All of the middle and upper management positions were filled by Â baby boomers, and they werenâ€™t going anywhere. Â Unless you were and Â engineer, Â there Â were Â precious Â few Â jobs Â that Â paid above minimum wage.
The job market had turned, but nobody had seemed to notify the universities of this yet. They were still delivering seminars about how the right combination between high GPA Â and Â extra Â curricular Â activities Â could Â land Â a high-payingÂ Â jobÂ Â in Â middle Â management Â in Â corporate America. That was my first lesson in being stuck between generations, and it was a harsh one.
Thereâ€™s a shift occurring, on so many levels. And one of those shifts is how we look at our lifeâ€™s work.
Among the baby boomers and older generations, you graduated from college and went to work in one particular job. Â You Â worked Â your Â way Â up to theÂ top Â and you worked there for your entire life.
Toward the end of that generation, Â you didnâ€™t necessarily work for one corporation Â for thirty years, but you did make long-term commitments to the one or two corporations Â you Â worked Â for Â withÂ Â well-timed Â jumps Â to higher positions.
It wonâ€™t be that way in the future. What I see for my own children Â is working Â in a particular Â job for several months at a time, taking a six-month hiatus, then working in another job for perhaps two years, leaving that job for a few months, beginning another that lasts Â three weeks, taking a week off, and beginning another that lasts four monthsâ€”all different types of jobs. Task-oriented, Â independent Â contractor type work. Thereâ€™s more variety and more independence, Â but it takes more discipline to save, too, and to manage your own career.
With this future coming, I see the twenty-somethings of todayâ€™s workforce and the early thirty-somethings staying in a job for three to four years, and then moving on to another job. Â Three to four years for them is a commitment, and itâ€™s a long-term one.
Well, if thatâ€™s how different generations Â look at their lifeâ€™s work, how do they look at long-term relationships? How do they look at committed relationships?
Once upon a time, a commitment was for life. You married Â someone Â and Â you Â stayed Â married Â to Â them Â for thirty, fifty, seventy-five Â years. Couples whoâ€™ve still love each other and Â have been together over fifty years, say theyâ€™ve seen enough to Â understand the ebb and flow of relationships. Â Enough Â to Â still Â love Â each Â other Â though theyâ€™ve been in and out of their feelings for each other many times and know the feelings will come back if they can continue to grow together. You live long enough and you see the patterns, they say.
The patterns for my generation? Nowadays, we seem to take on longer term series of relationshipsâ€”serial Â monogamy as Â some Â people call it. Eight years here, fifteen there, Â and Â itâ€™s Â not Â uncommon Â to Â find Â date-able Â men whoâ€™ve been married three times before theyâ€™re 40.
So whatâ€™s coming in the future?
Will a commitment be not for life, but for oh, three or four years? Â Biologically thereâ€™s something to be said for that. Couples bind together, have a child, and then by the time the child is three or four years old, weaned, the family unit seems to break up. Often attracted elsewhere. Per- haps itâ€™s biology to seek out others to blend their DNA and distribute their genetic material. Not having all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.
So where Â does this leave someone between generations?
The ego wants foreverâ€”if lifeâ€™s good with the person, that is. And if not, to find a person you can be with for the rest of your life. Biology wants variety, and the heart wants what the hearts wants.
If you stay in one relationship, Â or one job, for too long, Â then Â youÂ risk Â stagnation. Â Change Â is Â good Â and Â it keeps the inner fires stoked. Â Itâ€™s Â been said that we are very, very lucky to find someone in a long-term relation- ship who will continue Â to change Â and grow just as we hopefully will continue Â to change and grow and that we both, in spite of all the change and growth, still like the people we are and still like the people weâ€™ve become.
I donâ€™tÂ consider Â that luck. I consider Â that unconditional love.