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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

Generation Covid

A generation generally refers to groups of people born within a 15 to 25-year span. It may also be defined by historic events. For example, the generation born circa 1920 felt the aftermath of WW1, the last cases of the Spanish flu, the rise of fascism in Europe, the full impact of WW2 (if they made it through alive), along with the Great Depression.

Born circa 1950s (Baby Boomers), you would have been made aware of the Korean War and known the Cold War (version 1). The boomers would have experienced the escalation of nuclear warfare ability and threat, the Vietnam War, the psychological emancipation/realisation that 'what is' is not necessarily what should be, and the increase of civil protest and ‘disobedience’ as a political weapon.

Born circa 1960, first media memories were of televised anti-Vietnam War protests. Gen X'ers had the growing understanding that Darwinian capitalism was a negative force not just on the environment but also in terms of financial and cultural inequality. You lived the requirement for safe sex practices due to the HIV epidemic, and were aware of both a 3rd and 4th wave of Feminism.

Let’s fast forward to those born round 2000 (the Millennials); our Covid Generation. Well, 9/11 just as a start, the 2008 financial crisis, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, the rise and rise of social media and Cold War (version 2.0) …The 2000 babies have seen a fuller picture of Darwinian capitalism with regards to negative impact on the environment and unequal access to livelihood and resources (including vaccinations).

Most recently, the Millennials have seen the transformational effect of the ‘Me too’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movements, along with perplexing attempts to erase history. Millennials are experiencing disrupted rites-of-passage due to Covid and know that pending massive social debt, and increased and more severe environmental events will dominate life. And let’s not forget witnessing those violent riots at the world’s bastion of democracy, Capitol Hill. Political instability is definitely a part of the Millennials' inheritance.

Lastly, our Covid babies, born circa 2020. Their lives have only just begun but already their lifetimes are branded by the pandemic. They will see mask-wearing as ‘what you do’ in much the same way as post-70’s late teens and young adults viewed safe-sex as ‘how you do it’. They will see hugs and kisses as an intimacy between partners and family rather than as a form of social greeting. The transformational definition of personal reality being both on and offline will be well within their grasp; having seen their parents function for work and play, during lockdown. And it is only 2021!

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