Monday, November 25, 1996

Week of 11/25/1996

On … GULP! … Turning 30!
- by David Matthews 2

Remember what I said in my column about EVERYONE getting thoroughly bashed? Well now it’s MY turn…

This past Thursday (11/21) I hit the big 3-0.

Yes, thirty. I’ve left the realm of the twenty-somethings that comprises the bulk of my Generation X brethren into SERIOUS adulthood. Gone are the years where I have to "make a name for myself." Now it’s "produce or DIE!" Gone are the years of "living for the moment." Now I have to "invest for the future."

But let’s look at that for a moment.. I have yet to "make a name for myself." Instead, because of the shifting job market, and the transition from the Industrial Society to the Information Age, I and everyone else my age have jumped straight into the "produce or DIE!" mode. And with the financial problems I and my parents have had, I haven’t been able to "invest for the future." Everything I’ve "produced" has gone into paying the bills "of the moment."

And of course, turning 30 is also supposed to mean I have to think about "settling down" and starting a family. That is part of the "produce or DIE" and "investing for the future" mentality. But given my fiscal instability, an unclear job future, and a social life that would make the monks at Saint Anselm proud, starting a family right now would be as improbable as Bill Clinton not waffling on a controversial issue.

Then again, there are some advantages to turning thirty. It means no longer being referred to as a "boy" or "young pup." It means I am supposed to be taken more seriously than before. It means I’m supposed to be "more responsible." (That helps, especially with car insurance.) And of course it also means I won’t have to be asked for ID as often when I order or purchase alcohol (unless they have a policy that would card even Strom Thurmond).

And perhaps being a thirty-something member of Generation X will also have a positive impact, allowing those my age to be more readily accepted into society as did the Baby Boomers. Perhaps we can even dispose of the "slacker" stigma that has been so wrongly placed on us. (I personally find if hilarious that the same media that wants to recycle the 60’s and the 70’s would dare call other people "slackers.") Perhaps the term "slacker" can be retired like "hippies" were for the Baby Boomers and we can finally be accepted for what we really are - simply the next generation trying to make order out of the mess they were given.

Of course, wait a couple more years and the media will catch on to the transition and make something big out of nothing.. again. "The Slackers turn 30.. what does this mean for you? Next on Dateline NBC!" I shudder at the thought of some future Madison Avenue ad campaign using recycled Nirvana songs and "retro-grunge."

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