Gen X is the 'most stressed' generation alive but they're also the best at handling it
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Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1979, are America's goofy middle children sandwiched between the much larger Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. Gen X prides itself on being individualistic, nonconformists committed to a D.I.Y. ethic whether that means writing a punk 'zine or launching a tech start-up.

(If you just asked yourself "What's a 'zine?" you're clearly not a member of Gen X.)

It's a generation marked by an aloof cool where any personal slight can be written off with a "whatever" that's deathly afraid of taking anything too seriously. It's a generation that was so put off by the corporate, commercial culture of the '80s it rebelled by wearing second-hand clothes and ironically embracing low-brow '70s culture.



It's the generation of hip-hop, Tiger Woods, Quentin Tarrantino, the re-birth of punk rock, John Cusak movies, and Atari.

A big reason Gen X is so self-reliant is that it's the generation hardest hit by divorce. According to a 2004 marketing study it "went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history."

Gen X was the first generation that experienced both parents working outside the home. But, unfortunately, at the same time, childcare centers and afterschool programs had not yet emerged to a significant extent.

Now, the "Coolest Generation" finds itself somewhere between 42 and 56 and is hitting middle age. Unfortunately, that means it's now the most stressed generation in America. Although, in true Gen X fashion, many refuse to let anyone see they're stressed.

An extensive study by Penn State showed that stress began to hit Gen X sometime in the last decade. The 2012 study discovered that Gen X had an average stress level of 5.8 (out of ten) while Millennials (3.4) and Baby Boomers (4.4) were a lot calmer.

A study from earlier this month shows that the trend hasn't changed. In 2021, 22% of Gen Xers admitted to daily struggles with stress followed by Millenials (17%), Gen Z (14%), and Baby Boomers (8%).

A big reason for the stress is having to take care of multiple generations. Many Gen Xers have to care for their aging parents as well as their children who are just starting to make their way in the world.

Gen X may have aged its way into the most stressful part of its life, but things could be a lot worse. There's no group of people better equipped to deal with stress. When executives at Nike studied Gen X it found the generation's hallmarks are "flexibility," "innovation," and "adaptability." "They have developed strong survival skills and the ability to handle anything that comes their way," the study says.

Gen Xers may think that's just a bunch of corporate B.S. However, it's true. Gen X grew up during the AIDS epidemic, the end of the Cold War, the Challenger disaster, the late '80s and early '90s crime wave, 9/11, the Great Recession, COVID-19, and managed to survive after "My So-Called Life" was canceled.

We've survived tough times and we'll make it through these as well. Just got to follow the advice of Gen X's poet laureate, Tupac Shakur: "And it's crazy, it seems it'll never let up, but please, you got to keep your head up."

We can also look forward to grabbing a big box of popcorn and enjoying the massive Millennial meltdown that happens when they hit middle age. It's not going to be pretty.




Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."