I stumbled across this article today.

I found it interesting (if harsh in places) because I've felt for quite a long time--even before I'd heard anyone use the term "Millennial"--that I was "between generations" in some way. My trigger was this realization:

I am about three years too old to consider texting to be a normal method of communication.

To elaborate: I was born in 1986.

I have vague memories of "80's movies"--The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, etc. but never actually saw them when they were new; I just saw the photograph-filled storybooks for kids that floated around the school libraries. The first movie I saw in a theater was The Little Mermaid in 1989--the beginning of the Disney Renaissance--and the newest movie that could be called "classic" that I watched for quite a while was the original Star Wars trilogy (on laserdisc, before any of the Special Edition nonsense). Jurassic Park came out when I was seven. So my standards for animation and special effects are all quite high: I'm old enough to have been impressed by the effects in early 2000's movies, but not old enough that I can see the cheaper 80's sci-fi as cute instead of hokey, or 80's cartoons as anything but a pile of low-framerate ham.

In terms of video games, I was five when Sonic the Hedgehog came out. I don't have any memories of the 8-bit era or any of the Commodore 64 fandom that slightly older people talk about. For me, video games have always been 16-bit or higher, unless they were handheld, or unless they were on our family computer, which was equipped with Rogue and Sesame Street Crayon.

I grew up in a world where different levels of technology were naturally associated with different places. The public library had monochrome catalog terminals, but the school library--less funded--had a card catalog. The wide gulf between Macs and PCs created a mess of near Hatfield-and-McCoy proportions, just because my parents had a PC at home before most families did.

9/11 happened when I was a sophomore in high school, and the recession of 2008 happened just as I was graduating from college. It wasn't so much that I was defined by the time before or after these events, but by having them happen right when I was in the middle of doing things--of learning how the grown-up world works, or just getting started in the world. Just as I got ready to play a part for real, the rules about it changed.

Part of my generational oddness stems from the generational oddness of my parents. They're squarely in the Baby Boomer generation, but on the older side of it. They don't conform to some Baby Boomer stereotypes because both are nerds. When written sources say Baby Boomers don't do well with technology, I find the claim ridiculous. But then, they don't subscribe to the "must get the newest thing" urge that a lot of younger people have; they tend to wait for reliable standards to become widespread before they commit to a platform. (Except for the aforementioned laserdiscs.)

If Mom and Dad had had kids right away after getting married, I'd be very squarely in Generation Y, but they waited about a decade, so I'm...in the middle.

I don't have the 8-bit memories to consider myself part of Generation Y. The 80's have always felt like a mysterious and fascinating time to me: too recent for anyone to talk about as history, but just past the fog of my early memory. I missed out on experiencing that when it was new. So I do identify as a Millennial...albeit on the very older fringe of it. Perhaps a proto-Millennial. I like that better than a letter.

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