Generation X in all her glory: and Interview with Jen
There are lots of us out there, generation X-ers that is. I feel we are a cross over generation – here I am at home with the internet, but when I tell the internet native 16 year olds I work with that the internet didn’t exist when i was their age, they look a little shocked.
Anyway, when it comes to generation x, our lives, our beliefs, our loves… you cant get better than the blog “Are you there God? It’s me Generation X“. So i thought I would ask its creator, Jen, a few questions…
As I am a youth worker by trade, I’m afraid you will have to suffer the ice breaker question… Who are you and whats your favourite flavour of ice cream?
I love ice-breaker questions! My favorite ice-cream flavor this year is pistachio. My favorite flavor last year was cappuccino chunky chocolate – made my an Oklahoma dairy, Braums. My whole life I’ve loved Neopolitan!
What inspired you to start writing, and especially the blog?
All I ever wanted to be was a writer. My father was a minister, but first and foremost, a writer. He had a big influence on me. I wrote my first poem in 1976. It was about Jesus and his blond hair and blue eyes. My father gently informed me I had described an image of Jesus made popular in some Catholic portraiture/paintings; not the Evangelical Christian Jesus who was most often depicted with dark hair and dark eyes. I was certain God had inspired the poem, and that was probably the beginning and end of people telling me preconceived ideas about God. =)
My first job out of college (real job) was as a journalist. I’ve made my living in journalism and PR. I began blogging in 1999 when I read about the Open Diary I Self or Glamour magazine. I patiently waited for the site to go live. I’ve been blogging ever since.
Where would you put yourself faith wise, and do you feel being a Gen X-er makes a difference?
I love this question. Nobody has ever asked it in this way. I am a Christian, but I rarely refer to myself as such because the term has become so watered down. Sadly, depending on what continent I’m standing on or what state I lie my head in, the word conjures up a variety of different feelings and convictions in people, many of which might not apply to me. Thus, I prefer to tell people that I *try* to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe He is the beloved son of God. I believe He saves me every day. I have had personal encounters with the Christ, which have transformed my life and my understanding of God’s love for man, woman, child. There is no turning back. I do not judge the faith walk of others. I feel certain that the calling on my life is to testify to the love of God that saved me. Nothing more. Nothing less. I believe when people encounter this irresistible love they too will be transformed. It is not my job to convict anyone. This is the job of the Holy Spirit. I pray to live my life in such a way that people will come to know God’s love a little better.
Regarding whether or not being an Xer makes a difference, I definitely believe it does. I believe God knows us before we are born as the Psalmist has written. There is a verse in Habakkuk (2:3) I really like. It says that the vision will happen at the appointed time. It hurries toward its goal. It doesn’t lie. If it’s delayed, I must wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late. This is a verse I claim for myself, and in my prayers for all of my Gen X friends and family who struggle with arriving at their place and time in this life on earth. In summary, I believe God put me here at this place and time for a purpose. He made me an Xer! Ha!
How do you think being a Gen X-er affects your general view of life, especially as a woman?
I have always been inclined toward the Gen X dialogue. In the early 1990s, I couldn’t wait to learn about MY Generation. Unlike most, I loved the name Generation X. My parents were Silents, and my father, especially, was very connected to his time and place in life. He talked to me about my generation and past generations, so I had a sufficient awareness. But, then I read Coupland’s novel, and while I connected with many things in it, it also bummed me out. I definitely related to the parts about McJobs and McMansions. I knew, as early as 1991 or 92 that I was not alone in my Gen X career. This awareness served me well.
In recent years, I’ve read so much about Gen X. I have my own ideas, but many of my classic Gen X experiences have shaped my view of life. (From being a latchkey kid and worrying about nuclear war to tolerating a herculon cubicle and Baby Boomers who refuse to retire.) In general, I believe life is an incredible gift, despite how infinitely complicated it has become, particularly for Gen Xers who will have fewer resources with which to deal with greater problems. In this regard, my experience as a Gen Xer has underscored my view of life – that my purpose is to serve God.
There is a song I heard when I was in grade school. It was part of a church cantata (that sounds sooooo old fashion!). Anyway, it’s always meant a lot to me and it remains my prayer to this day.
So send I you to labour unrewarded
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing
So send I you to toil for Me alone
So send I you to bind the bruised and broken
Over wandering souls to work, to weep, to wake
To bear the burdens of a world a-weary
So send I you to suffer for My sake
So send I you to loneliness and longing
With hart a-hungering for the loved and known
Forsaking kin and kindred, friend and dear one
So send I you to know My love alone
So send I you to leave your life’s ambition
To die to dear desire, self-will resign
To labour long, and love where men revile you
So send I you to lose your life in Mine
So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred
To eyes made blind because they will not see
To spend, though it be blood to spend and spare not
So send I you to taste of Calvary
“As the Father hath sent me, so send I you”
As far as being a Gen X woman, I’m definitely an equalist, and I have a special place in my heart for Gen X moms who work outside the home. I began my career in 1990 and worked outside the home until May 2008. The transition was difficult, but nothing was ever as hard as working through three pregnancies and taking babies to daycare – managing a big career – and missing my children. I think Gen X women have it very hard, whether they work (with or without children) or stay-at-home (with or without children). There is so much societal pressure on women – more and more all the time. That is not to say Gen X men don’t have it hard. Compared to their Baby Boomer counterparts, I think their lives have been very difficult.
And finally, as its Christmas, what do you remember about your childhood Christmases and was there a particular toy or present you remember especially?
I grew up in a parsonage and as such we struggled financially. But, our Christmases were divine. I remember Christmas programs at church. Mary always wore a blue sheet and Christmas angels had wings outlined in tinsel. The wisemen carried Avon bath salts. I miss these days very much. I miss singing Away in a Manger on Sunday morning. I’m very nostalgic. I loved Barbies and I always had something Barbie under the tree. One year I wanted the Barbie Fashion Plaza, but instead I got a Barbie ship. It was the coolest thing ever – like the Love Boat!
Thanks for letting me answer these questions. The ocean that separates us doesn’t seem nearly as a big as it did when I was spinning the globe with my index finger in 4th grade geography.