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How Will US History Remember Our Generations?

Posted by Justin on

Everyone is obsessed with labels these days... And it turns out that our generations have gotten a label too. Back in 1945, economists and policy makers started labeling the generations so they could study our demographics, grouping together folks born in a set time frame and in similar spots in our life cycles:

Most of us reading this right now fit within the Baby Boomer, Gen X or Millennial generations. And no matter which one you fall under, I’m sure you’ll agree: Our time in the world is always vastly different from what we hear about in stories from our parents or grandparents.

It sounds like a broad brush to paint us with, but defining the generations does make a good bit of sense when you zoom out and take a look at what’s happened to all of us during our heydays. And also, how we continue to roll with the punches in the changing times.

So how will US history remember our generations? Let’s take a look at what us Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials have been through, and how we continue to leave our legacy:

3. A Population Divided

Perhaps most obviously, historians will likely see our generations as some of the most divided in American history. With the exception of the Civil War, political polarization has never been this intense in America.

Republicans and Democrats alike don't trust each other, don't intermarry, and often live in completely different social and physical environments. For example, Democrats typically live in cities or along the coasts, while Republicans broadly live in more rural communities or in the American heartland.

This geographic division is mirrored in our political differences. It feels tough for many Americans to see each other as fellow citizens, due in no small part to the political polarization forced on us by the media.

2. Changing Times & Difficult Decisions

Historians will probably look kindly on us Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials for how well we weathered changing times and how we were forced to make many difficult decisions. We’ve adapted to crazy financial fluctuations, with many of us now struggling to buy homes, secure jobs, or reach the same prosperity that was the norm back in the good ol’ early days.

But, this struggle is worth a kind of respect and honor in and of itself. Times are certainly changing, both in terms of technology and social movements. Americans in the future may very well look back on us and see us as tough citizens who forged a new path through uncertain times.

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1. Generations of Dreamers

More than anything, it’s likely that our current cohort will be seen as generations of dreamers.

Although things can be interpreted as becoming worse, many things in America have indeed improved with each passing generation. These days, violence is down, lifespans are rising, and bright young innovators around the globe are pushing for new inventions, discoveries, or solutions. The cure for cancer may just be years away. We’re going back to the moon for the first time in decades. And technology, for all it has split us apart, can also bring us closer together.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen how the Boomer, Gen X and Millennial generations will end our stories and what our legacies will be. There’s still the possibility that the current generations will fumble the ball and split apart, leaving their children to pick up the pieces.

All in all, our generations have already made something great of ourselves. The Boomers among us are dedicated hard workers who get the job done, the Gen X’ers are resourceful and leverage the benefits of freedom, and the Millennials are entrepreneurial, always challenging the status quo.

While things have been feeling pretty wild lately, we’re still among the generations of Americans best positioned to make lasting change in these turbulent times. Here’s hoping historians see our generations as some of the best in the future.

Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots. 

Justin | FamTeeWorld
Maine, USA

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