I am the digression.

Could somebody please explain to me what generation I’m in? According to some accounts I’m right on the upper end of “millennial” while according to others I’m just out of that category. I’ve also heard “Generation Y” applying to me which I was fine with considering I’m not too much younger than “Generation X.” Then came along “Generation Z” which confused me altogether for a few reasons. First, what comes next? Perhaps we should have started earlier in the alphabet. Also, how did we actually have two generations after X already? Granted, it’s biologically possible but wouldn’t they still be toddlers? Then I came across an article that explained the difference between X, Y and Z which provided generalizations about each one and I fit into none of them.

Truth be told I couldn’t care less about what name people want to give my generation. The word “generation” is suspect in the first place. I get that the Baby Boomers were a specific generation after World War II, then their offspring were Generation X. But from there people got the idea that they can start categorizing everybody. It’s the same problem with trying to isolate cultural trends by decade. We think of “eighties music” when we should focus on the styles of music that were prevalent during that decade—which weren’t even specific to that decade to begin with.

When it comes to any definition of these “generations” and what it means to be a part of them I don’t really fit in ,anyway. Maybe it’s because I didn’t follow trends in high school. Then the seven years or so after graduating college went by in a blur. I found myself in my early thirties without a job relating to my degree. (I still intend on going for my master’s, by the way, but I still have other things in my life I have to resolve first.) Nowadays it’s common for college graduates not to find jobs right away but I graduated before this became as common as it is. So if we were to categorize one’s “generation” by how one behaves in society, where does this put me? I know people who tried a job with their degree and quit because they didn’t like it. But beyond my internship at a local newspaper back in 2003 I haven’t had much experience.

No matter what category people try to pigeonhole me in I’m always still a bit of an outsider—a position I’m quite pleased with. I’m a musician but I have a hard time isolating my music into a particular kind of genre. I’m a writer but I don’t like to call myself a “fiction writer,” “poet,” or “blogger.” Concerning the last one I have a hard time using “blog” as a verb anyway. It’s a shortened version of “web log” and “web logger” wouldn’t make sense. A logger is somebody who cuts down trees and as we’re talking about an electronic medium it really doesn’t make sense.

Okay, that was a bit of a digression and if I was in that class in “The Catcher in the Rye” the other kids would be screaming at me. But maybe that sense of digression is related to who I am as an outsider. That could be my role in my generation: I am the digression.That sounds like a bad web comic. Hey, that would be something my age group would do, wouldn’t it?

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