What’s in a label – Xennial vs. Millennial?

A Xennial takes the middle ground between the negative, pessimistic Generation X and the overly positive, optimistic Generation Y, this according to sociologists and demographers globally.

I have grown up in in a world where social interaction both in person and digitally is the perfectly acceptable norm. Where playing outside with your friends under the glow of the street lamp was just as natural as sending your message over the interwaves within 140 characters. I grew up using an encyclopaedia in a library to research school projects and now use Google to research personal ones.

So who does that make me, Millennial or the recently emerging Xennial? Is it possible to be a hybrid and how do these stereotypical labels affect my day-to-day living?

So what is a Millennial?

(Millennials or Gen Y – 1977 to 1995)

Millennials or generation Y’ers are considered to have been born somewhere between the early 80’s and 90’s, the children of the baby boomers (circa 1946-1964). Millennials have gained a lot of momentum in the media over the last few years for both positive and negative reasons, words such as lazy spring to mind with a tendency to move from job to job, asking not what I can do for my job but what can my job do for me? Gen Y is a generation that requires constant feedback and reinforcement while adopting a liberal attitude when it comes to less societally acceptable circumstances once shunned by Gen X and Baby Boomers before them.

It is a generation that is said to have benefited from the Baby Boomers attitude that their own children would have a better life than they did, smaller families and more focused attention. A generation that has grown up seeking approval and being rewarded just for showing up; everyone gets a prize; everyone gets a medal. It sounds fairly negative up to this point and extremely generic but it would be remiss of us to ignore that those born in this era have grown up in a more open minded society, in a world where people have become more accepting of the ideals that buck the norm our parents were used to.

It has been said that this is the me-me-me generation but I would like to think that the generation has had more self awareness and self focus as we as a society become more aware and evolved to discuss and understand personal issues (mental health included) which by our predecessors would have been swept under the carpet as unimportant or weak.

5 Disturbing Facts You Don't Know About Millennials

Digitally, Millennials reached adulthood around the same time that technology was peaking and that very technology is considered the biggest selling point of the generation. It is a generation that came of age at the same time as the worldwide web and many don’t recall a time without it…

BUT WHAT IF YOU DO?

I was born in 1984, mid what is labelled as a Millennial. Personally, I don’t feel that I agree with a lot of the characteristics listed beneath the Millennial label. I have never felt entitled, never felt that the world owed me anything nor did I have a lax attitude towards my career and its progression. That said, I would have to say that I do know adults younger than I am, also born within the year ranges provided that DO have these traits and identify with a lot of what is said about being raised and growing up as a Millennial. There are definitely traits that I do agree with, such as being inseparable from my phone and choosing a friend request or a text message over a phone call (I truly despise the phone).

This is where a new term has come in, one for those that felt as though they couldn’t completely identify with the label of Millennial, they didn’t feel part of Generation Y and felt that there needed to be a sub label that would represent a small age range of people – One that I find myself leaning toward as far as labels go, despite being born only one year later than the range allows.

I must be a Xennial.

(Xennials – 1977 to 1983)

An older range of Millennials felt that while they had a myriad of traits in common with their generational counterparts, many characteristics did not seem to fit and there were a few differences that set apart this small range of 6 years (now aged between 34 to 40) from the others. The term Millennial has been ditched and instead, Xennial has taken over.

A Xennial is someone who grew up in and confidently remembers an analogue age but as they grew older was eased into the digital age. These are people that spent primary school making mix tapes and listening to Walkman’s but somewhere mid high school, had their first mobile phone and access to both book and PC encyclopaedias. This is a group of people that aren’t really Millennials in that they have memory of this early analogue age, but not quite the generation before them (Generation X) that have had to learn digital as an older adult. A group of people that grew up writing letters, using a landline phone (The worst!) and there was no such thing as an HD TV but grew accustomed to social media and their limited dependence on it.

What is a Xennial

A Xennial takes the middle ground between the negative, pessimistic Generation X and the overly positive, optimistic Generation Y, this according to sociologists and demographers globally.

The upside? I managed to get through high school without any physical evidence of my actions hidden in a private conversation somewhere on the interwebs. I don’t have any awful photos on Facebook of me from pre 2007 (by which time I was already 23 years old) and I learned social skills from being forced to interact with people, even though I hated it, in person and telephonically. I was lucky enough to have experienced listening to a tape and pausing every 5 minutes as I wrote down the lyrics for my favourite song (instead of finding it online) and then being able to record over said song when I found a new favourite.

The downside? Up until I was 23, I actually had to write down or remember someone’s birthday and physically draw up a birthday card instead of being able to write on their Facebook wall. If I wanted to make a call, I needed to slip a few coins into a pay phone and hope that I remembered the phone number I was dialling off by heart. I listened to Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls, by choice and blue eye shadow was still the first colour you wanted to own.

Millennial vs. Xennial with a little Gen Z

I would like to think that it is possible to relate a little bit to both. I am a Xennial with Millennial tendencies; I am open minded and liberal with a strong work ethic. I remember a time before social media but I don’t ever want to be without it again, I love my phone but for text messages and not phone calls. I fondly remember having a Sony Walkman but am grateful for music streaming, an endless supply of memories at my fingertips.

Now, I am a hybrid raising a new generation of human beings, the next generation Z; an unstudied enigma to generational alumni. A generation that is still too young to be studied and yet themselves are becoming some sort of hybrid, where their lives have been completely digital and mobile phones are common preteen gifts but we have a record player in the house and recently Tamagotchis made a comeback.

Labels…

I think it is important to remember that these generation labels are exactly that, labels. If you are happy to be labelled and live your life according to the label you have been assigned, that is your prerogative but it is important to remember that this is not always the case across generations. Wow, how very millennial did that sound?

Ultimately, this need not pertain to you if you choose it not too, lets not get too hung up on what’s in a name. It is also important to note that the birth year range for generation naming is very messy, every website you find has a different year or age to which the label pertains which could in fact lead to many more hybrids, just like me, who cross identify with generations. Heck, I am as cynical as the next Generation X’er, just another trait for my growing list.

Which generation do you find yourself being grouped into and which one do you best identify with?

Xx

Shevy

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Generation Gaps Infographic

A leap of faith.

I have chosen a new path that will allow me to realise a lifelong dream, to do what I love and never work a day in my life.

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It has been a while since I took a jump without forethought and planning. Almost all of my life has been calculated down to the finest T, every decision carefully crafted and designed for a desired outcome. I’ve never been an impulsive person, my OCD disallows careless action and I don’t usually do anything without hours of consideration.

 

Until now.

 

Those of you who keep up with this page know that I have had a few medical issues recently; I was diagnosed with an Iliofemoral DVT (as well as clotting in my IVC and lungs) and before that, earlier on in 2017 I had a sub total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy for treatment of Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It has been an extremely trying year in terms of my health, at the ripe young age of 33 I feel like I have experienced a lifetime of medical concerns compounded by surgical menopause and my faltering mental health, the progressive worsening of my anxiety and the dark hole of depression that opened up, ready to swallow me into a point of no return.

 

Shevy in a witch hat.

 

So much medical jargon, boring I know. It sounds so very dramatic and admittedly like I am trying to baffle you with bullshit. I’m not. This is my reality, a few lifetimes of medical madness made manifest in the body of a weakened human being. I had lost a sense of who or what I was while trying to clamber to any semblance of hope for the future, all the while juggling being a mother, a wife, a friend and a career woman. Up until recently, I was solely focused on surviving, choosing a path of forced existence over choosing to live.

 

Since my teen years, I have had the same career all of my life. I studied Travel & Tourism at the school of Tourism at Damelin in Johannesburg, South Africa for which I received a diploma. Afterward, I walked into a reception position at my first employer, a corporate travel agency who took a chance on an 18 year old girl with but a piece of paper and an ill fitting skirt suit. I progressed quickly and climbed the ladder, promotion to promotion, which ultimately saw me leading and supervising a global, 24-man team, which operated 24/7. I have always been good at my job because I have always enjoyed it, I am good at what I do and had built up a great reputation in the travel industry in South Africa… until I cracked.

 

Shevy up the stratosphere in las vegas

 

One day, I woke up and I just couldn’t anymore. I could not walk into a company (a well known global travel company) and make them a fortune at the expense of my sanity, the stress levels were immeasurable and night after night I would come home in tears, weighed down by the pressure of bringing in an income to help support my family. My husband and I sat down and talked it out and I made the decision to resign from my managerial position, I then moved to a smaller agency where the stress levels paled in comparison, my biggest gripe was wearing a uniform and not making enough commission.

 

It was shortly after this that I decided to make the move to the UK, a little over 3 years ago now. I was hired by my current employer – via Skype interview may I add – and no more than a week later I was on a plane to jolly old, ready to start a new adventure.

 

Since December 2015, I have been a full time business travel consultant working from home; most would say my job is ‘cushy’. I earn a decent wage; have the advantage of working at my home and therefore not being delayed by a commute and have a good idea of what I am doing after having done it for 16 years as a career. This is who I identified as, a travel consultant. Travel is in my blood, it is what I do, it is all I have ever known… but it doesn’t mean it is what I wanted.

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Mascarun 2014, Reunion island (centre)

Since I was a young girl, I would find myself writing. Anywhere, on anything I could find. Poetry. Songs. Stories. My solace was in my imagination and the magic wand was the nearest pen or pencil. I have never fancied myself as someone who could write very well (I have always been my worst critic) so I used to read… ALL… THE… TIME. Reading and writing, the earliest of education that is taught and the only things I cared for throughout my entire school career. There was a time, toward the end of high school, I considered going into a writing career but outside influences led me to believe that I would not make enough money to survive, I wouldn’t be good enough to make it in a ‘word eat word’ world. I chose a different path instead and every day I have regretted it since.

 

This year, after my harrowing diagnosis in October, I had a very frank discussion with the specialist who ultimately expressed his concern about the stressful nature of my job. Though you wouldn’t think it, what I do is definitely not for the faint hearted. I may work from home but from 08:30am in the morning until 18:00 in the evening; despite a lunch hour being imposed I seldom leave my desk. Call after call, email after email. It is a constant go, go, and go in a seated position – Not ideal for a DVT.

 

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Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

At the start of my situation, I was initially booked off work for two weeks however when I ended up back in the emergency room a second time and the doctors realized that my diagnosis was worse than originally thought, I was booked off work for a full four weeks longer. Shortly before my four weeks was up, I was back at the doctor and I was booked off for another four weeks with the possibility of extending further. With all of this time booked off ill and trying my best to recover, to be more mobile and to deal with the ongoing financial stress and not being able to work, I knew it was time to make a decision. I knew it was time to take a leap of faith…

 

I am so grateful for a lifelong career that has allowed me to raise a family, has eased financial strain and has taught me how to function in a corporate world. It has taken me this long to realise that my health MUST come first and it is about time that I act selfishly, that I forgo the luxuries and comfortable lifestyle I have become accustomed too in search of a new path, one that allows me to recover so that I can be the best person for my people that I can be. One that allows me to do what I love every day and with each passing moment, presents me with a new challenge to excitedly overcome. I have chosen a new path that will allow me to realise a lifelong dream, to do what I love and never work a day in my life.

 

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Rand Airport, SAA photo shoot.

 

A little over a week ago, I handed in my letter of resignation to a company that has stood by me for three out of sixteen years and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Not only am I turning around and walking away from a fantastic employer, a steady and substantial income, a job that I know like the back of my hand and not to mention its stability. I am walking away from a lifetime of the travel industry in order to pursue a business that means more to me than all of the perks that being a career woman has afforded me. I have been so fortunate over the years, I have been able to travel the world throughout my career and I have met so many amazing people, been recognised with some of the best in the industry and have loved every minute of it but it is now time for a new chapter.

 

My initial priority is to get better; my health is first and foremost the most important thing for me to focus on. I have days where I wake up and it feels like I can take on the world, one hand tied behind my back. Other days, the pain is so intense that I can hardly make it from my bed to the sofa. This is my rollercoaster and it has become a theme park for which I have an annual pass, I am learning to accept its twists and turns. Thereafter, my next priority will be to put myself out there in the New Year as a content writer and influencer, my blog remaining one of my primary focuses. Moonsomnia is imperative to my success, it is the platform that allows my vulnerability and versatility and it is a showcase of who I am and all that I encompass; a visual and textual representation of who I am now and who I look forward to becoming in the future.

 

moonsomnia logo black

 

Since handing in my resignation, a weight has truly been lifted. A renewed sense of hope has flooded the hole of darkness and I have something exciting to focus my attention toward, other than my incessant ailments and frustrating setbacks. The stress and anxiety, though not altogether gone, have been lulled into hibernation for the winter of my recovery. The financial strain brought upon my family as a direct result of my decision is one that escapes me however I am ambitious and I will not give up. I will do what I need to do (within reason and legality) to ensure we don’t have to compromise too much in order for me to live my truth.

 

The future is unknown. Have I made the right decision? I will never be able to tell. The only certainty is uncertainty itself and that petrifies me, it also does something to me that not many things have been able to do recently in my career, it excites me.

 

I am excited for 2018; bring on a new year and a renewed sense of purpose. ‘Until you spread your wings you will have no idea how far you can fly’.

 

Xx

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Abu Dhabi life.

More than words.

Perhaps we accepted that in order to move on with our own lives, we had to let go of each other.

Dear long lost friend…

I heard a song today.
This song which, amongst many others, reminds me of you.

I recall a time when this song was burned onto a CD 12 times. I remember sitting in your room, the CD in the little boom box next to your bed. I remember singing, every song, every time. When we reached the end of song 12, we’d start from 1 again. We’d laugh and sing, sing and laugh. We would just BE.

Times were different then.
I told you everything.
The deepest, darkest, dingiest thoughts that were buried in the recesses of this constantly chaotic cage that is my mind.

We were close. So very close.

You were my rock. My best friend. You supported me in every thing that I did in my life, as I did you. Texting until the early hours of the morning, every single night… Sharing our worries, our problems, our ideas and our gossip. Just sharing.

I miss that. I miss you.

It’s funny, we never dated, even though many thought we did. At one point I wanted to, at one point you did too though you’d never admit it. The timing was always wrong and we knew that our relationship would be a toxic one, a relationship that wouldn’t serve either of us well or for very long. We remained the best of friends instead and despite that feeling (the one that was MORE THAN WORDS could explain) we chose to move on with our lives. For the best.

I don’t regret that decision. I love my life, I only wish you were still around to share it with me.

I know you didn’t die. Well, last I heard anyway. It’s been at least 8 years since we spoke and the part of my soul that knows yours is missing you intently. I wish you could tell me of your life, your family, your children. I wish I could tell you of mine. I wish we could sit and listen to the same song on repeat 12 times like we weren’t absolutely stark raving mad but didn’t care what anyone thought anyway.

I wish we could play a game of pool and you’d let me win, again.
I wish we could spin circles around an ice rink, no matter how inferior you made me feel on skates.
I wish we could take long drives to the middle of nowhere with our best people and our favourite songs on the radio.

Since you left my life, anyone who’s entered it has heard of you. Knows your legacy. Hears the stories of a time that was, we were so much younger then even though we thought things were so much more complicated than they were.

I asked about you… to friends, mutual contacts, family. Sometimes I’d get the odd update, less than favourable news. Then the updates stopped coming, I Facebook stalked you less and less. I stopped texting you, knowing I was never going to get a reply…

I don’t know why we aren’t friends anymore. Life just… happened. We always swore we’d be the best of friends forever but I don’t think we accounted for the fact that life was changing, we were changing. Perhaps we outgrew each other? Perhaps we outgrew the mischief and mayhem we would get up to? Perhaps we accepted that in order to move on with our own lives, we had to let go of each other.

I miss you. I think about you every year on your birthday, even though I don’t get a social media calendar reminder (that’s a good friend right?). I think about you every time I hear the anthems of our youth played obscurely as a soundtrack to a movie or series (because we are too old for them to be on the radio now). I think about you every time I see the car that you used to drive come past.

You were such an important part of my life that even though you’re no longer a part of it, you’re so embedded that I can never let you go.

I hope you have found your EXTREME happiness, your place in the world, your calling. I hope you’ve continued to live up to everything I knew you could be.

Hopefully one day we will meet again.

Xx

Feminism

Is feminism really about equality when the very label in itself refers to females?

‘A “movement” that advocates for the rights of one gender over another is sexist and inequal by nature…’

The principles, years ago, were valid. Alas, now it is an excuse for misandry. The reality is that today, the problems that women face are just as commonly faced by men and yet ignored by penis presence.

Can we not just be advocates for human beings without being labelled anti-feminists? #humanist