Xer Meme: I’d go mainstream in a heartbeat.

OK, Lynn. For you. Your post was beautiful, by the way.

Maddie’s Xer Meme pushes a lot of buttons, as generational posts tend to do.  I’ve already pointed out to her that she is so far from mainstream that they’ve had to name an all new stream after her. We’ll call is maddiestream. It was kind of her to call me a “cusper.” Jamie once told me I was squarely GenX, and I vehemently disagree. In my mind I belie classification.  (And Jamie, if you say that just proves I’m an Xer, I will flame you like you’ve never been flamed. ;-)

I have two things to say about all of this. One, what’s so bad about mainstream? And two, riffing off of Jamie’s edge post, there’s no point to being edgy unless it helps you accomplish something.

I’ll start with the edgy part. I’ve never been edgy. Bitchy, yes. Anti-social, sometimes. Snarky, sure. But edgy implies some sort of disregard for the order of society that I simply never had. It’s too scary. My edgy friends used to take me to alternative rock concerts back in the day, because they thought they were more likely to get backstage with their “normal” friend. They thought it was funny to watch me “just say no” to the lead singer. Luckily, as an adult, having an edge is different than it used to be. Still scary, but different.

I’m not mainstream either. Part of me very much wishes I could pull that off. To me, being mainstream is about having something in common with everyone, and being able to use those commonalities to build relationships. I grew up very self-contained…a lone wolf, much like my father. I often imagine how much more I could accomplish if I had more commonground with more people.

So here’s the thing. Even as I work to be more mainstream–and yes, I really am working at it–I’m actually just now developing my edge. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can finally make gravity work for me. I’m learning that…

  • Telling the truth can be productive if you do it in the right way.
  • There is power in listening, even when you don’t agree.
  • Optimism is more productive than cynicism, even when staying positive seems impossible.

What does this all have to do with GenX? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. I can’t wait for the next time we get to hang out with Jeff Hurt. Look how you inspired us! (again.)


Cynthia D'Amour September 28, 2009 at 11:23 am

Lindy, good for you on your quest to your edge.

As I read your post, I thought about how easy it is to throw words around that become almost meaningless because so many people use them.

What does it really mean to be normal? Mainstream? Edgy? Does it really matter? It’s all relevant given none of these words have a hardcore calibration point. What’s edgy to one person may be bland to another.

I think the Gen-X way is really about embracing what makes one’s heart sing. It seems like many folks who are older didn’t buy that they had choices. We do – which gives us lots of options in how we express ourselves and play in our world.

Thanks for making me think! Cyn

Lynn Morton September 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Cyn – Because Gen X woke everyone up to say “Yes, we do have choices!” Generation Y is sometimes almost crippled by all the choices we have. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it can just be a little overwhelming at times. It’s like the first time you walk into a Chipotle and your heard explodes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that I get exactly what I want. Otherwise I’d be asking them to take stuff out, and that always gets messed up. ;)

Lynn Morton September 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

That was supposed to be “head explodes”… ‘-’

SocialFishFood September 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Xer Meme: I’d go mainstream in a heartbeat. http://bit.ly/cBbst

Shannon Otto September 29, 2009 at 11:16 am

Gah! I agree with the choices thing – as a GenYer, I’m so overwhelmed by all the choices out there! But I think GenX made it easier for us to embrace being “individuals.” Cyn, I totally agree with your comment, and almost touched on that in my own response post (coming soon!). If it’s cool to be edgy, is it really more edgy to be mainstream?

I’m sure that makes no sense. But GenX was the first generation to *truly* embrace themselves as individuals and make those subversive choices and I think my own generation has taken it even further.

Great post, Lindy!

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