Why Gen Xers Will Smash The COVID-19 Lock Down

Sitting here in my now cluttered lounge room, prosecco cocktail in hand and laptop at the ready, I'm listening to the goings on outside.  The sound of someone mowing their lawn strangely reassuring. 

With all this craziness going on in the world right now the sounds of traffic, lawn mowers, people passing, dogs barking, even the early morning garbage trucks, are welcomed sounds.  Sounds that now reassure me that life carries on.

I don't want to get caught up writing about the virus or the affects on people everywhere, but it would be remiss of me not to mention it at all.

Like a large part of the world's population, my office is now squashed in to the corner of my lounge room.  I'm gratefully still employed, but nervous about how long that will last.  I'm also learning to spend a shit load of time at home again, kind of like when I was growing up back in the 80's & 90's, when we didn't have the internet to beat boredom.

I read a great article about this the other day, about how Gen Xers are going to smash the lock down, no problem.  The author (obviously a Gen Xer) nailed it when she described why.  I had almost forgotten how long the days seemed to be and how we spent countless hours doing nothing.

As I read this article I was reminded of how we used to play physical games like elastics and stuck-in-the-mud, or board games.  It brought back memories of watching weekend music videos on Rage and Video Hits, waiting for Top 40 on the radio in the hopes of recording a full length song on a mixed tape and only having about 5 channels on the TV, all of which constantly played ads.  If you wanted to record your favourite TV show while you were out, you had to work out how to program the VHS timer first.

Picture of VHS tapeNow, the VHS recording needs a special mention here.  Let's face it, if not done correctly it could bring a household to its knees.  God forbid that you wanted to record something at the same time as your Mum (she always won, except to Dad - he was king of the VHS).  Worse still, was if you set up the VHS to record and you stuffed it only to find you'd taped the wrong channel, the wrong time slot or only half a show.  But, nothing surpassed the rage that would consume the person whose show had been taped over, usually by an ignorant parent or a sibling taking their revenge.  Oh the memories!

Not to stop there though, there was also the countless hours in between where we were left to amuse ourselves.  Parents of Gen Xers did NOT entertain kids, that suggestion would have been absolutely ridiculous.  Whether we were at home, at a friend's place, a BBQ, a party, on holidays, anywhere; parents did adult stuff and we amused ourselves.  I like to think that's why I'm so social and can talk to almost anyone.  I had a couple of decades to learn it!

My personal favourite memory from this article was the final point she made.  Although at the time, it was probably the lowest point of any day.  It was when you had exhausted everything you had to amuse yourself, there was no TV or radio worth turning on and you retreated to your bedroom where you literally laid on your bed and just thought.  Yes, just thought.

Ha! Fancy that, I can't imagine Master 11 yo considering that as something you would ever need to do.  Not only does he have every possible internet worthy device at his disposal, he has me - a mum who sees it as part of the parenting role to sometimes entertain him.  A game of indoor soccer, backyard cricket, darts, table tennis, kicking goals and even brandings, are some our more popular past times.

Taking all of this into consideration I reckon we Gen Xer's will indeed rock this lock down better than most.  We have the experience of how to waste time effectively, we have TV streamed anywhere on any device, at any time.  We have any number of computers or laptops, tablets or other devices to swipe away the time and we can still play physical games or exercise.  We can even have almost everything we need delivered to our doorstep.  It's quite amazing just how far we've come from our childhood lifestyles.

If there is one little thing that may break us, possibly the only reason we're likely to start day drinking, it's this uncharted territory of home schooling our kids.  That my friends, we are not trained for, nor are we ready.  So on that note, I'm going to pour myself a drink and knock it back because tomorrow is Monday and Master 11 yo will no doubt be demanding my attention.  Might I suggest you do the same.

Good luck folks, may the force be with you... 


  1. Good article Wendy!
    I'd like to add another layer of complexity to your notion that gen Xers will rock this.
    The trials, tribulations and failures we went through when taping Rage on our parents VHS (in my case it was TMNT) and recording the Top 10 on our parents stereo, built an inner skill set in us to COPE with things when they DON'T go our way (and APPRECIATIVE when they do). We have GRIT and PERSEVERANCE.

    But... We are our own worst enemy. Those shit fights we had with the VHS and tape recorders have put us (as parents) in a position that we don't want our own kids to have to go through the same crap we did. These poor souls (ie our kids) have so much accessibility to things that just work all the time (ie. Netflix, internet, computer games, etc) that they don't know what it's like to deal with those insignificant frustrations we, Gen X'ers, had to navigate through. We have grit cos of the stuff we had to deal with as kids and at the same time, we don't want our kids to go through the stuff we went through, hence they have little grit.

    All of a sudden, these poor little fuckers have had their universe take the biggest shit on their lives and now they are forced to navigate a change in their existence. And in 20 years time, this will be the moment in their lives where they got their GRIT.

    1. Indeed, too true! Great perspective. Grit, resilience, perseverance are all part of the learning for our little ones right now. Thankfully, we too have unlimited streaming and immediate gratification these days.


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