Gen X Comes of Age

It’s been ten days now and I’ve officially got a crush on Obama. Now I’m checking my Blackberry for those earnest emails, slightly wounded that he hasn’t called. (Though, good president-elect boyfriend that he is, Obama promised in his last note to “be in touch soon about what comes next.”) I realize now that all my talk of Obama burnout was just the long-suffering liberal bracing for the inevitable disappointment. But the night he won, I sat in front of my TV, watched the crowds dance in the streets and wept in spite of my cynical self. Every day closer we move toward January 20, I grow more giddy. And that’s really saying something considering Inauguration Day is also my 40th birthday. Even as the jobs evaporate, the nation’s debt balloons, the foreclosures skyrocket and my 3-year-old’s tantrums rage on, I’m feeling effervescent! Obama restored my faith on Nov. 4. And though I know he’ll make mistakes, his election marks my generation’s coming of age. Obama, born in 1961, to a mixed race, mixed nationality, divorced couple, is one of us. (Obama inhaled!) Granted, he’s a more brilliant, better-spoken one of us, but nevertheless a member of that earnest and self-effacing Lost Generation born in the 60s and 70s who grew up with a profound sense of mankind’s darker traits. Our childhoods were marked by melancholy and tumult, both personally and globally. For my part, I was conceived around the time of the My Lai massacre and the signing of the Civil Rights Act. When I was in utero, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated and Chicago police pummeled student activists outside the Democratic National Convention. And I was born the day Richard Nixon was inaugurated. Turning 40 the day Obama becomes President feels about right.