“Gen X Midlife Crisis” not coming to a theater near you.
For the past several years, Gen X has been quietly dumping its midlife crisis into the media ecosystem and just like Gen X itself, nobody really noticed. It has quietly been ignored. Slacker ennui and existential panic are a loud puff of weed stank, quickly dissipated by the wind. However with the writer’s strike, “Gen X Midlife Crisis” is announcing itself as loudly as possible. Of course, it will be totally ignored until the Millennials claim it, corporatize it, sell out, gentrify the neighborhood, and loudly proclaim themselves Authentic Geniuses - complete with stupid haircuts. Our youngest siblings are as annoying as our parents.
For Gen X, you must imagine Dionysus as Middle-Aged. Gen X has always been middle-aged. Much as our parents were the Aeternal Celebration of American Youth, we have been cynical middle-agers since we were 9. As the late 1960s were a bacchanal of youthful excess, Gen X has been doubtful of all that since the 1990s. The Boomers were the Golden Age of Rock, we were the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Look at the events of Gen X life — the wild exuberance of the End of The Cold War become the sand grit, blood and anxiety of the GWoT during our Twenties. Our Thirties, right as we were all supposed to be settling down into homeownership and the tedious yawns of pastoral lawncare and kids to school, we were smeared with the Great Recession. Fueled by the New Tech, the Great Recession was a financial event so incredibly bad and potentially catastrophic that it didn’t even get called depression. Fucking voldemortism. It was restrained only by the brutal application of Keynesian Neoliberalism. (That’s a term so half-assedly chimeric, even I don’t know what it means. But it happened.) Then as we all muddled around in our Forties, COVID put a hard stop to everything. We are the tip of the spear for dealing with lebensdisruption.
Even if you don’t think this applies to you, it applies to you, Genxer.