Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do Xers seem younger than they are?

I had a discussion recently in which the Boomers I was talking with didn’t see Xers as being “old enough” to be in executive management positions. Yet the oldest Xers turn 44 this year – and the youngest are turning 30.

Do you think there is an assumption that Xers are younger than we really are? Or do we act – or look – younger than we are? I’m interested in your opinions on this one.

17 comments:

JK said...

Xers are still seen as young, in my book. I'm almost 40 but I still feel 30.

- JK

Anonymous said...

I think maybe we act younger than boomers did themselves at 40, and therefore we seem younger? X'ers are generally less tied to routine amd more active. We're also more interested in things like work-life balance, which makes us seem younger because that seems idealistic, and idealistic is associated (perhaps by the cynical) with youth.

Or it's just as simple as the older we get, the younger everyone else just seems. I've got a 22-year-old intern this summer who I need to remind myself is a grown-up!

Jenn Barnes said...

I'm almost 32 and people tell me I look like I'm 12 (no complaints here!). I don't think I *act* like I'm 12 though.

As our life span increases, older ages are actually younger ages for succeeding generations, I think i.e. "40 is the new 30".

Anonymous said...

IMHO, GenXers are less likely to adopt the "uniform of authority" (3 piece suit, shiny shoes); therefore, are perceived as less authoriative=less old. I mean, we still dress nice but I think more individualistic. We are protective of work/life balance and have found the value of relaxing and enjoying life is worth preserving. I am often not perceived as my "40" but I see it as part genetic and also not taking the whole "I have to dress,act a certain way to be an "adult" attitude...also I do make time for r&r and don't work overtime! IMHO.

Kristina said...

I agree with all that's been said. I would also echo the second "anonymous" comment. I had a Boomer tell me the other day that my 34 makes me "just a baby." It's their perspective.

GenXpert said...

@anonymous & anonymous - that's an interesting concept (that work/life balance would make us seem younger).

@kristina - I get the same thing. And I think "I'm 38, when do I get to be the grown up????"

Jennifer K said...

Bringing up the work/balance is an interesting concept. But I also think we look younger because we take ourselves less seriously than the Boomers take themselves...usually.

jen said...

I think it's more acceptable to do things today that make us feel/look younger than it was when my mom was aging. She was completely gray at 40 - wearing polyester and accepting "mid life." Now, women my age dress like teenagers. We all color our hair. Even men color their hair. We feel more comfortable being trendy. We are given more permission to do this than Boomers were or even are given. Interesting - possibly an upside for Gen X. lol.

GenXpert said...

@JenX

I know EXACTLY what you mean. My mom looked at least 10 years older than I do when she was my age. She's be saying since she was like 30 that she's too old for long hair.

My grays are covered. I feel no shame in covering the wrinkles. But I don't necessarily think I look young. I just think this is what 38 looks like these days. Frankly, I don't have the body to pull off what the teenagers are wearing, but I definitely keep up on the trends. My students I taught as an adjunct always like my shoes ...

Kelly O said...

Someone sent an email to my management team about me not too long ago and used the phrase "the young girl" who helped me. At 31, it's nice to still be "the young girl" but it makes me wonder if that's part of what holds me back in the original career path of choice and might be why I'm behind a grocery store pharmacy counter instead of at a desk in an office.

le @ thirdontheright said...

50 is the new 30 .... at 42 I am glad of this ... I keep thinking I am 34 .... I think for me having kids at 36 and 38 - ie OLD - has kept me young(er). This is an interesting subject for sure - cheers le

Anonymous said...

I think X'ers are more balanced than Boomers, and thus, appear more youthful. X'ers grew up with so many Pop Culture Firsts - MTV, Atari, edgy TV shows (Three's Company was, dare I say, inappropriate). Dropped against the looming threat of nuclear war with communist Russia, the onset of AIDS, and escalating divorce rates, X'ers learned to escape through Pop Culture and live their lives their way.

Dirty Mouth Mama said...

Even when I turned 40 people could not believe it. Recently when shopping at this flea market,I saw some "young" looking people, who I promptly befriended because I KNEW they were gonna be Xers and they were!!!!

Yes, we seem younger but are starting to actually look our age. (Gray with weight gain and wrinkles.)

Maybe it is balance, or maybe it is the continual yearning to be 'cool' and cool always seems younger. I mean how old was Burroughs anyway?

Xers tend to be irreverent as well, which when seen by someone outside the generation it seems like a response by someone with "no experience" when in fact it is experience gained at a very young age.

mountain said...

I think 1981 should be included as X, my brother is only 3 years older.

JessieX said...

48. Not 44. The oldest Xers turn 48 this year. 1961-1981 birth years for Xers.

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Anonymous said...

I think we do seem younger than we are. I've been told I look 10 - 15 years younger (I'm 46) and have been alternately called Miss and Ma'am depending on how youthfully I''m dressing.

But I see I'm ageing, pretty well. Just got some juvederm for my bags which aren't significant. I color my hair of course. I certainly feel youthful. I'm not sure when the old feelings will kick in. I think perhaps when you start looking a certain way and there's no disguising it!