by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Esq.

This year, I officially turned middle-aged. However, if you ask my wife, the Lovely Mrs. Shabazz, she will tell you that between my comic books, superhero cartoons, and video games, I’m more like an adolescent. I bring this up because as we get older, we reflect on our lives and the world around us and how things have changed, and in my opinion, they are mainly for the better.

If you’re a Gen Xer, you were likely born between 1965 and 1980. We were too young to fully understand the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and that whole Nixon/Watergate thing. We do recall when there were only three networks, although most of us loved our Saturday morning cartoons. I was more of a Superfriends, Bugs Bunny, and Tarzan kind of guy, but you get my point. Our “first President” was Ronald Reagan, our “first war” was Gulf War I, and we also have memories of the Iran-Contra Affair, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings and the election of the first Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who broke the Republican’s 12-year hold on the office.

But part of the reason I enjoy being a member of Gen X is our attitude and adaptability.   Unlike our Baby Boomer parents and predecessors, we did not feel a need to go out and protest every injustice in the universe because to be frank, unless it impacted us, we really didn’t care. And to this day, I have a hard time getting worked up over things that don’t affect me. Yes, we could argue that everything impacts all of us in one form or another. But we’re not arguing that today.

To quote Peter Gibbins, from the classic 90s’ film “Office Space”   when he’s telling the Bobs that he has eight bosses,  “ Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled; that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired. ”  Thus, our Gen X desire to be left alone and live a hassle-free life.

But it’s not just our attitudes that make it fun to be Gen X; it’s also our adaptability. I would argue that we are the most adaptable generation in human history. We went from the Sony Walkman to the Disc-Player to the iPod to streaming on our phones, and we didn’t even bat an eye. Raise your hand if you ever took a blank cassette tape, recorded music from the radio, and played it back on your Walkman. Of course, you have. You remember when the tape got messed up, and you had to take a pencil to fix it. And don’t get me started on the old VHS tapes where we would record movies and build up our “library”.

Now, granted, while Gen X is awesome, we do have our shortcomings. Part of that stems from being “latchkey” kids. Our parents usually worked, so we were home alone after school and had to look after the house and fend for ourselves. We are also the first generation to truly experience the single-parent household. This is a shortcoming because a lot of Gen Xers said they would never treat their kids the way their parents treated them, so they went entirely in the opposite direction, and now everyone gets a trophy.

So, as I turn another year older this month, I hope you enjoyed this brief trip down memory lane. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to run to Walgreens to get my blood pressure medication. Of course, 30 years ago, if I was in Walgreens, I was buying booze, tobacco and condoms. My, how things have changed.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is the editor and publisher of Indy Politics and an attorney licensed in Indiana and Illinois.