How Generation X will weather middle age

Brad Karsh
This photo taken Aug. 6, 2013 shows Brad Karsh of JB Training Solutions speaking to a group of generation X'ers at the Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Co. in Chicago. There's a new urgency to the quest for workplace harmony, as baby boomers delay retirement and work side-by-side with people young enough to be their children -- or grandchildren.

The oldest Generation Xers are hitting 50-years-old and confronting their own middle age.

Recently, writers and researchers have been reflecting on their "slacker" status, discussing if they ever truly grew up and figuring out what it means to be in a "middle child" generation between the Baby Boomers and Millennials.

Sara Scribner wrote about the aging Generation X for Salon:

People heard it loud and clear when the baby boomers crossed over to midlife - you couldn't avoid it. Radio talk show hosts probed into the transition, newspapers described boomer women coping with crow's feet and men reclaiming their vitality in tribal drum circles. For the generation born after - in the '60s and '70s, raised by television like no previous generation and with the divorce rate skyrocketing during their childhood years -- there is no media watch broadcasting their new trajectory. Few have even noticed that this small, notoriously rebellious clan - those born roughly between 1965 and 1980, which means about 46 million Xers versus 80 million boomers -- has entered middle age. It's a transition that, until now, has been captured, mulled over and ridiculed for each generation for more than a half-century. But not this time.

The problem is, with adulthoods repeatedly shipwrecked by economic disasters, Xers might have neglected to track the crossing over. Susan Gregory Thomas, author of the resonant memoir "In Spite of Everything," says that many Xers "are always living in a state of triage, always in a survivalist mode. We're not thinking long-term."

On The Daily Circuit, we look back at the lives of those in Generation X and look ahead to how they will age in the shadow of Baby Boomers.

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