'We'll be the only ones left': Gen X says they're better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic than any other generation
- Gen X was made to handle the coronavirus pandemic, wrote a professor for NBC News.
- Experiences facing tough global crises like the AIDS epidemic and War on Drugs has left Gen X resilient.
- Gen X is also motivated to stay at home to serve as an example to the parents and children they're caring for.
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While Gen Z is getting called out for partying and baby boomers are being chided by their children for socializing with friends during the coronavirus pandemic, Gen X is having their moment.
"As the generation raised in the age of stranger danger and Just Say No, our inherent risk aversion is finally being recognized as a great strength and asset to the survival of the species," wrote Megan Gerhardt, professor of leadership and management at Miami University, in an opinion piece for NBC News.
Her generation, she said, has taken to Twitter to proclaim how they were made to handle the crisis.
"Shout out to Gen X, the only generation who can keep our asses at home without being told," tweeted Twitter user Lauren Hugh. "We'll be the only ones left."
"We survived Reagan, the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, the S&L collapse all the while living on nothing but PB&J and ennui," responded Daryl Sturgis. "The other generations should follow our lead on this one."
Gerhardt wrote that Gen X - those born between 1965 and 1980 - is well-equipped for the pandemic for three reasons: They've had experience riding out the historic crises mentioned above; weren't raised with the overscheduled life of millennials, which has left millennials feeling directionless in a pandemic; and are well-incentivized to stay home to serve as a role model for the parents and children they're caring for.
According to the Pew Research Center, 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent over age 65 - part of the high-risk group for coronavirus - and are either raising a young child or providing financial support to a child over age 18.
"Generational identity and life stage are both contributing to how we are reacting to our current reality," Gerhardt wrote.
Gen X is "the forgotten generation"
As the media shines a spotlight on millennials and baby boomers, Gen X often gets left in the dark. In a 2018 post for Forbes, Angela Woo, a Gen Xer, called her generation "the forgotten generation."
Woo wrote that Gen X, which she described as latchkey kids who began their careers during the dot com boom and entered adulthood when the internet became a daily staple, has built a "work hard, play hard" mentality.
"Here we sit in this powerful time with money, resources, and influence, and we still aren't in the mainstream conversation," she wrote. "We've watched the culture interest shift from boomers to millennials like we're a flyover state."
Consider the bad press millennials have bore the brunt of when it comes to their financial struggles. While most of the attention is directed at them, an Insider and Morning Consult survey found that Gen X is in just as bad financial shape as those younger than them.
It's the same deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Articles abound on how Gen Z didn't stop their spring break shenanigans, how millennials are worried about their aging parents, and how baby boomers are hoarding toilet paper.
But there isn't a whole lot on how Gen X is dealing with the crisis. At least, according to Gerhardt, they're resilient.
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