Religion & Generation X

This week the Scientific American reported the findings of a recent study that claimed Generation X is more loyal to religion than baby boomers.

My experience as a Gen X'er has been quite opposite of this study's findings. My twenties featured an evolution from evangelical christian to cynical atheist. Maybe it's just the circles I run in, but I don't know anyone that goes to church regularly.

I am interested to know if I am missing something here...are Gen X'ers really church-going religious followers? That doesn't seem to fit with our age group. But, I could be wrong. Religion tends to exclude, not include. For an accepting, tolerant generation such as ours...being loyal to a religious doctrine seems like a conflicting behavior.

My Paperback Revelation

I discovered something about myself today. I have spent the day working on my laptop, watching my HDTV, and playing with my Wii. Yes, I love technology. But, today as I watched a Kindle commercial, I realized I am not in love with all things electronic. I started thinking how much I don't like the digital reader concept. I get it. I understand why people like and want one. But, I just can't jump on the bandwagon.

I like paper.

I have a thing for the hard copy.

I don't know what it is about the feel and smell of books...but I can tell you that buying a brand new book makes me way more excited than downloading a file. I like having a library in my house, telling a story of my varied interests over my lifetime. My bookshelf showcases my love of sports, politics, comedy, movies, philosophy, and trivia. I love how you can tell just by looking at a book exactly how I felt about it. The more wear & tear...the more times I have read it. That's the best review or comment I can give.

As a member of Generation X, I have always felt sandwiched in-between the people who were scared of a  blinking clock on a VCR and the people who have three technical gadgets attached to them at all times. When I was little, I remember a life without cable, computers, cell phones and the internet. But, as an X'er, I have always happily embraced new technology, instead of being cynical or intimidated by it...like many boomers.

But now, with my rejection of digital books, I find myself at a strange point in my life. Does it mean I am old when I am no longer excited by all new technical gadgets? Is this my first step towards becoming the cranky old lady at the end of the block living with a plethora of cats?

I hope not. But, this anti e-reader stance I have taken does expose my age. How excited would I be about this product if I was a college student?  No more 50 pound bags to schlep around campus on your back (I bet this invention has hurt North Face backpack sales).

But, then again, with these digital readers and the internet...today's college students do miss out on all the fun things that can be done in your college library stacks.

I rest my case.


The Atlas Shrugged Woman

I read a great post from Morgan at Mancouch yesterday. He talks about how reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged has influenced his taste in women.

As a very outspoken and opinionated single woman in my 30's, I unfortunately must report that Morgan's opinions (while very welcome) seem to be more of the exception rather than the rule. Does a guy want a girlfriend who understands monetary policy and the Federal Reserve? Or, would he rather have the girl who knows all about the Kardashians?

I hope I don't sound bitter! That is not my intent. I have just never been one that enjoys small talk and pointless mind-numbing activity. The E! Channel is blocked on my cable (except for the Soup, I make that exception every Friday night), but Current TV is on my list of favorites.

I don't see how people can care about Lindsey Lohan or the cast of the Jersey Shore. It just makes no sense to me. But, if people want to occupy their time with that kind of thing...hey, it's a free country.

I will just spend my time a little differently. My copy of Atlas Shrugged is calling my name.


Whatever He’s Smoking, Please Give Me Some! Obama and the Social Security Lie

"Social Security is not in crisis. We're going to have to make some modest adjustments in order to strengthen it. There are some fairly modest changes that could be made without resorting to any newfangled schemes that would continue Social Security for another 75 years, where everybody would get the benefits they deserve."

                                                                                              -Barack Obama, Aug. 18, 2010

Holy crap, where do I start? Now that I’ve taken my jaw off the floor, I can write my thoughts on this bombshell delivered by President Obama yesterday. You know, it’s one thing when someone says something wrong simply because they had incorrect information. But, it is quite another when someone just outright lies to your face. Or maybe he’s just high. If that’s the case, I’ll have what he’s having. That stuff must be good.

Here’s the thing…of all the people in these United States, Generation X is going to get hit the HARDEST of anyone when it comes to the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. If no changes are made to the current Social Security program, most estimates say it will be out of funds in 2037, which is great news for me. I will be 60. Currently, there are about 3.2 workers for every recipient. But, the boomers are retiring by the thousands each month, and that number will probably be more like 2 workers for every recipient in as little as 25 years. I am confident I will never see one dime from a Social Security payout, even after years of paying into the system.

Ok, there are a number of different layers to this issue. Each one of them must be faced by our generation, because the boomers are retiring and have done nothing about this coming craziness during their entire lifetime. It really frosts my cookies that the boomers have not only allowed our government over the past 40+ years to get away with the legislation they’ve passed, but they’ve voted into office over and over again the same elitist political crooks that perpetuate the status quo. But, that’s a blog for another day.

I want to begin with the very concept of Social Security. It was signed into law by FDR in 1935 as part of the New Deal. The idea behind it being-old people and the disabled needed to have a source of income. At the time of the depression, over half of the elderly in the United States did not have any retirement income or savings. So, once they stopped working there was no money. This law’s constitutionality was challenged in 2 separate Supreme Court cases, but was upheld both times. Why? Well, FDR was such an elitist snob, he threatened and pressured the Supreme Court to the point that justices flipped positions or retired…allowing FDR to stack the court in his favor. (If you have any interest in American history, I highly recommend you research 1900 thru 1939. It will blow your freakin’ mind. Between the bankers getting the Federal Reserve Act passed, the General Education Board, the shady passage of the 16th and 17th Ammendments, and the Presidency’s of Woodrow Wilson and FDR…I think those 40 years saw a systematic change in the course of this nation’s history. During that time, we completely abandoned the ideas of the founding fathers, and began a course of crony capitalism and socialism. The problem, of course, is no one in our country knows anything different. We are all used to the traditions of Social Security, Welfare, Income Taxes, government controlled education and the Federal Reserve. Yet, most of us don’t realize these things are less than 100 years old…they haven’t been around since the beginning. These are things we can change…no matter what our political leaders tell us.)

Now people, I understand that some elderly and disabled need assistance. I am not a cold hearted individual. But, the reasons charitable organizations and churches get tax exempt status, is because they are places that are designed to provide these services. That is the reason you get a tax deduction when you donate! We have a charitable safety net set up in this country for individuals who need it. Americans are generous givers, when their money is not forcefully taken from them. But I ask you, is it Constitutional to automatically take over 6% of your income every paycheck (with your employer matching) for the promise of some pitiful monthly payout allowing me to live at the poverty level until I die? I have the read the Constitution many times, but I missed the part that says the federal government had the right to withdraw money from my paycheck so I can live off the government when I retire. We supposedly live in a free country, where you have the ability to succeed OR fail. You have the right to save, invest, or spend. But, if you spend all you make (or even more than you make) and didn’t plan for retirement, why is it someone else’s responsibility to take care of you? This concept should absolutely make your blood boil. But, the Social Security system has conditioned us to believe the great and powerful government will take care of you when you die, because they are taking money out of your check every week.

Now, let’s move on from the simple concept of Social Security, and move on to the details. The law is in place, it is a reality. We have never known anything different. But, do you know what happens to that money once it is taken out of your earnings? From your very first paycheck until your very last, a percentage of your earnings is withheld via the FICA (Federal Insurance Contribution Act) payroll tax and deposited into a general fund. It is a pay-as-you-go system. So, instead of you contributing to an account just for you and earning interest, your contributions go into a general fund and get paid to people currently receiving benefits. Hence, the current 3.2 workers to 1 recipient ratio. Now, historically, more is being paid into the system than is being paid out, so a surplus fund was established. The kicker is, instead of leaving that money alone, the Secretary of the Treasury can use it for ANYTHING. So, this program works more like an insurance plan. The contributions you make via your earnings are like a premium payment on an insurance policy that will pay out once you can’t work anymore. It is not retirement investing. The way the system is set up, politicians have access to this money to spend on anything they want instead of saving or investing it. This is why the program is a ponzi scheme. You take the investment of one person and pay it out as dividends to another while financing your own spending spree. But, eventually the money runs out. And the last investors (that would be us, Generation X) will be left holding the bag, with not only no payout of dividends, but a complete loss of the principal investment. Now, in 2010, this is the first year the system will pay out more than it takes in. This is why I say Barack Obama must be smoking something, because this is just simple math. For him to say this program just needs some minor adjustments is just a complete denial of reality.

Let’s have some fun with numbers. Talk of privatizing the program at least partially has been around since the Carter administration. Now, if there is anyone I trust less than government officials and politicians, it is big money bankers. But, the benefit of investing in the stock market over the past 6 decades has been proven. Money invested from the 1930’s to the 1990’s shows an average return on investment of about 10.5% on long term common stock investing. In other words, long term investors over that time could see an average rate of return on their investments at around 10%. So, let’s say the people that are currently drawing social security benefits would have put 6% of their income into a private investment retirement account instead of the general Social Security fund. I will use some general numbers to make my point.

Scenario A

Premise: Current American Age 65. Worked from the age of 18 to 65 (47 years).

Average annual salary over that time $20,000. 6% of income ($50 a month) invested into personal retirement account with a 10% annual rate of return.

Result: When this person retires, they would have a personal account valued at $646,000 (with a contribution amount of only $28,000 in your lifetime. This also does not factor in the employer match of your contribution.) This account will go to you or your family to use in anyway you see fit. You can just live off of the interest and never touch the principal, if you like, and leave the rest to your family when you die.

Scenario B

Premise: Current American Age 65. Worked from the age of 18 to 65 (47 years)

Average annual salary over that time $20,000. 6% of income ($50 a month) paid into the Social Security Fund.

Result: When this person retires, they would receive a monthly benefit amount of approximately $1,000. But when you die, the monthly benefit stops. No more benefits.

I don’t know about you, but I like Scenario A. And, keep in mind people, this scenario is with an average annual salary over your lifetime of $20,000. The money grows exponentially in your investments when your earnings increase. We are talking millions. But, if you increase your earnings to an average of say $50,000, your social security monthly benefit only grows to about $2,000 per month.

Remember, however, that these are current numbers. By the time Generation X retires, the fund will have no money. The government will have spent it all. We are currently in trillions of dollars of debt with a system that only perpetuates that spending and more debt. We are fighting expensive wars all over the globe, sending billions in aid to foreign countries, and taking on the expense of an out of control health care system. THERE WILL BE NO MONEY IN SOCIAL SECURITY FOR GENERATION X WHEN WE RETIRE.

So, where do we go from here? First step could be to start contributing at least 6% of your income to a Roth IRA or a company matched 401k. That would be on top of the 6% being taken from your check by FICA. But, the stock market is just as untrustworthy as the government. It is risky. So, we must demand that the Social Security system be dissolved. Yes, let’s currently pay out benefits to those who have paid into the system over their lifetime. But, for those of us in Generation X, we must demand the ability to opt out of the system and take that 6% to invest and spend ourselves. It could be the stock market, real estate, foreign investment, whatever you choose! I want freedom over my own earnings. The social security system just increases government power over me.

I wish President Obama would bring about real change we could believe in, instead of telling people what they want to hear. If you even mention changing Social Security, everyone over 50 gets their panties in a bunch. But, this issue is NOT going to bite them in the ass the way it will Generation X. If we do not demand real change now, the federal government will continue to take a percentage of your money every payday with no guarantee of ever seeing a dime of it again.

Obama will not do it. His family is busy taking vacations costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, while he continues to grow government and take away our economic freedoms each day. The establishment Republicans won’t do it. They love big government as much as the Democrats. If we don’t vote in people that truly understand personal liberty, we will never make this happen. Now is the time Generation X!Challenge the status quo. Get rid of these archaic politicians who have been ruining this country for decades.
Say goodbye to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Lindsey Graham, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, Chuck Schumer, Sam Brownback, Pat Roberts, John Kerry, Kit Bond...the list goes on and on.

We can start by electing Rand Paul to the United States Senate. Then…Ron Paul for President in 2012!

Our generation depends on it.


Wow. People really don't like Glenn Beck or Bill Maher. Is it possible to like anyone?

Wow. A lot of people really don’t like Glenn Beck or Bill Maher. I have learned that over the past couple of days. After my last post “I am Glenn Beck and Bill Maher’s Love Child”, a lot of the comments seemed to focus on the men themselves and not the words they say.
This reader reaction makes me wonder…could there ever be a media figure that people actually trust? Does everyone in the media universe have an agenda or act as a puppet for some unseen power? Can there be any voice that truly speaks “for the people”?
Let me see if I can explain myself better. Our parents grew up with the trusted voice of Walter Cronkite. We have been told that everyone watched him report the news every night on CBS, communicating to the American people everything from the Kennedy assassination to the Vietnam conflict. I don’t know whether to blame it on naivety or ignorance, but the American public in the 1960’s seemed to trust the news reporters of the day. When I took a media history course in journalism school, we discussed the perceived trustworthiness of news reporters in the early days of TV & Radio. Ironically, the media went to great lengths back in the day to cover Presidents’ indiscretions and political corruption…they even protected Hollywood entertainers from bad press…but, yet, the people seemed to trust their media sources. The big 3 network newscasts and the major city newspapers were all perceived to be reliable sources of information.

And there was Woodward & Bernstein. The Watergate story seems to be the real turning point in American journalism history, revealing agenda-driven journalism on a national stage. Yes, they were investigating a major crime committed by some very powerful people, and that story needed to be told. But, the question is…did Woodward & Bernstein go after Nixon because they were journalists wanting to expose the truth or was it because they were big liberals who hated Nixon’s politics?
Now, let’s fast forward to today. Do journalists want to speak truth and inform the public or are they all agenda driven? Is Glenn Beck a true champion of the Constitution or some “neo-con pretending to be a libertarian constitutionalist”? Is Bill Maher a puppet of the socialist elites who hate America?
Could it possibly be these guys are just regular people with strong opinions who happen to have a national stage on which to share their thoughts and ideas? Are they just looking to make money, and simply saying things that are going to win ratings and cause controversy?
As a GenX libertarian with a Journalism degree, I can honestly say I can’t name one news reporter or anchor on the national stage that I trust. Wait, I do like John Stossel. He seems to understand the Constitution and the concept of our Republic. He seems to read between the lines of Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, and Conservatives and see that our country is fighting an ideological war. He has followed the money in a lot of his reporting. But, I could be totally wrong about it. I guess I’ll never really know.
I’m not sure this person could ever exist. Too many people are way too cynical. Plus, after working in TV news for a few years, I can tell you that it wouldn’t be easy. Corporations own the mainstream media and have for a while now. That was orchestrated by our politicians over the past few decades. If you try to do anything that challenges the powers that be or the advertisers that pay the bills, you will lose your job.
But, as I write this blog, I am participating in the new media frontier: the Internet. And, just like the early days of TV & Radio, a lot of people naively believe a lot of things they read on the web. Obviously, that isn’t the right approach to finding correct information. You can’t believe everything you see, hear, and read. You have to ask questions. You have to know how to make your way through all of the crap. The question is, how do you know what’s crap? How do you know what information sources to trust?
Can someone truly be an honest voice for a free people and make it to the national stage?
I was just wondering.


I am Glenn Beck and Bill Maher's Love Child

After receiving some interesting comments and e-mails, I want to make it clear that I don't particularly like either Glenn Beck or Bill Maher. I can understand why people don't like either guy. I do find both of them incredibly entertaining at times. What I am trying to point out, is that as a Libertarian, I agree with ideas that traditionally come from opposite sides of our current 2-party system.


Most people I know in Generation X are completely over the two party system in America. No one identifies with either the Republicans or Democrats anymore. I consider myself to be Glenn Beck and Bill Maher's love child...I am a libertarian. I guess you could call me a small government, freedom loving social liberal. Economic and individual freedom are the most important things influencing my politics.

I like to think kids get the best qualities from their parents...and I consider Glenn and Bill my two daddies. Since I don't agree with either of them 100% of the time, I have to find the pearls of wisdom both of them speak. Here are some of their opinions that I agree with.

Glenn Beck Quotes I love 

Every time the government grows we lose more of who we are.

Good for you, you have a heart, you can be a liberal. Now, couple your heart with your brain, and you can be a conservative.

'Hello my name is the Republican Party and I got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government.' I'd like one of them just to stand up and say that.

I believe that if we get out of people's way, the sky's the limit. The sky is the limit.

I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they have a problem. And when they do say that they have a problem I don't know that I believe 'em.

It does not have to be that the greatest generation is behind us. It does not have to be that our children will have a lower standard of living. It will be that way if we choose to believe that. I choose not to believe that.

It's not just spending, it's not just taxes, it's not just corruption, it is progressivism, and it is in both parties. It is in the Republicans and the Democrats.

Let me tell you, it is still morning in America. It just happens to be kind of a head pounding, hung over for four hours in America - and it's shaping up to be a nasty day, but its still morning in America.

No one is guaranteed happiness. You can pursue it, but if you happen to find success along the way on that road to happiness, Conservatives believe you should not be demonized or penalized for it.

Please stop teaching my children that everyone gets a trophy just for participating. What is this, the Nobel Prize? Not everybody gets a trophy.

Political Correctness doesn't change us, it shuts us up.

Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution, and it was designed to eat the Constitution, to progress past the Constitution.

Remember, beneath every cynic there lies a romantic, and probably an injured one.

The worst is still ahead of us. But no one in Washington has the spine to tell you that.

To restore America we need less Marx and more Madison.

We all know what the problems are: it's tax and spend. One party will tax and spend, the other party won't tax but will spend. It's both of them together.

We just put General Motors in the hands of people who can't even run our own government.

We should reject big government and look inside ourselves for all the things that built this country into what it was.
We're giving our freedoms away. The American experiment was about freedom. Freedom to be stupid, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed.
What does it mean to be a conservative? I don't even know anymore. I know what it means to me. It means to me, personal responsibility. That if I've done something wrong, its up to me to pay the price. It's up to me to make it right.

What is the point of competing for a trophy if everyone gets a trophy?

What we don't have a right to is healthcare, housing, or handouts. We don't have those rights.

When did it become a problem to be a small businessman and become successful? The small businessman - like my father, or like me?
When did it something of shame or ridicule to be a self-made man in America?

Without failure there is no sweetness in success. There's no understanding of it.
You can get rich making fun of me. I know. I've made lots of money making fun of me.

You know, we all have our inner demons. I, for one - I can't speak for you, but I'm on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can happen by the end of the show.

Bill Maher Quotes I love

I do think the patriotic thing to do is to critique my country. How else do you make a country better but by pointing out its flaws?

Kids. They're not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex.
Let's face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?

Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake - you know, to send the right message to kids.

Maybe every other American movie shouldn't be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.

Religion, to me, is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need.
Suicide is man's way of telling God, "You can't fire me - I quit."
The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs.
We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think religion stops people from thinking. I think it justified crazies.

We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly.

To me a real patriot is like a real friend. Who's your real friend? It's the person who tells you the truth. That's who my real friends are. So, you know, I think as far as our country goes, we need more people who will do that.
What Democratic congressmen do to their women staffers, Republican congressmen do to the country.
We need more people speaking out. This country is not overrun with rebels and free thinkers. It's overrun with sheep and conformists.
Whenever the people are for gay marriage or medical marijuana or assisted suicide, suddenly the "will of the people" goes out the window.
When you want to make it clear to the rest of the world that you are not an imperialist, the best countries to have with you are Britain and Spain.
I have a high state of resentment for the conformity in this country. If you`re not married and having children, it`s like your life is empty or you`re a communist meanie.
When we talk about values, I think of rationality in solving problems. That’s something I value. Fairness, kindness, generosity, tolerance. When they talk about values, they’re talking about things like going to church, voting for Bush, being loyal to Jesus, praying. These are not values.

What was your Financial Education?

My parents never talked about money in our house. My schools didn't really teach me anything about money. What was your financial education like? Some of my financial decisions have been so poor (due to lack of education) that I probably would have been better off wiping my ass with my paycheck. It would have done me more good.

South Park Hits Puberty...

XIt does not seem all that long ago when my roommate and I watched the first episode of South Park in our college apartment. But, it is true that it was 13 years ago!!! Geekologie.com put together a fun South Park timeline that brings back a lot of memories and has some pretty fun facts. I'm a geek. I love this kind of stuff.


Generation Bankrupt-Going Broke at 32

My first video blog entry on Generation X and personal finance...and my bankruptcy story. I noticed something crazy today when sitting in my 341 meeting (meeting of creditors). www.GENERATIONaleX.blogspot.com

Talking about all things Generation X...especially personal finance, politics, and pop culture.


California Judge Says Prop8 is Unconstitutional!

So...gay marriage was legal, then it wasn't, now it is again...at least for now. A federal judge in California ruled today that California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage violates the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to equal protection. Of course, it will probably end up in the Supreme Court.

I have a feeling that by the time we are our parents' age, banning gay marriage will seem as silly as banning interracial marriages. I see Generation X supporting a country and government that promotes freedom for everyone. Let's hope I'm right. Btw...do you really know what your Constitutional rights are? Do you know the Bill of Rights? Knowledge is power, people!

Wipeout's Top Ten Moments

Honestly, if I need to laugh, I just turn on this show. Nothing funnier than people making asses of themselves. And the commentary from the "Johns" makes this little gem even better.

Seriously, this show is freakin funny.

If you're gonna biff it, I say biff it good.

Biff it real good.


Shaq vs. The Spelling Bee

Can we talk about how hilarious it was to see Shaq in a spelling bee?

We love Drew Barrymore and her Generation X movies!!

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are starring in a new romantic comedy called Going the Distance hitting theaters August 27th. It looks promising! But really, we love everything Drew does!

Never Been Kissed

Charlie's Angels
Fever Pitch

Going the Distance

Obama is NOT a GEN X'er

After reading Suzi Parker's blog talking about how Obama is with Generation X, I had to respond.

First off, while I appreciate Ms. Parker checking the wikipedia Generation X entry (what seems to be the origin of her premise that some scholars point to 1961 as the beginning of Gen X and the reference to Rosemary's Baby), most people agree it's 1964 at the earliest. I personally don't consider someone who is almost 50 to be part of my generation. Sorry. That's almost my mom's age. She is a boomer and she was born in the late 50's. Obama could be my dad easier than he could be my older brother.  My mom has a blackberry, but that doesn't make her a part of Gen X.

Obama has way more characteristics of a boomer than an X'er. He was old enough to remember Watergate and vote in the 1980 election. He came of age in the recession filled 70's...not the booming 80's like X'ers.

I am ready for a true Generation X politician. One who represents our generation for what it really is. One who is for individual freedom (both economically and socially) and distrusting of government. Not someone who grows government to never before seen levels, unconstitutionally takes over failing private companies, and then leaves the bill for my generation and those coming after.

This is my GenX Confession...(part 1)


A big word with a lot of promise.

I look back now and realize what influence growing up in the 80's really had on me. The increasing wealth, advancing technology, and booming commerce was normal. Most everyone I knew lived in a single family home and their parents worked at a local manufacturing plant or retail store...many owned their own business.  Everyone treated their kids to happy meals on a regular basis, Nintendos at Christmas, and Keds for back to school.   Of course a 10 year old doesn't understand Wall Street booms and trickle down economics. A kid has no context for what things like Nintendo, Walkmen, Wal-Mart super stores, and McDonald's franchises mean to their reality. To me, it was normal stuff. Those things had always been there. And, as far as I knew, they always would be. And, by the way, most everyone could afford that lifestyle (or so it seemed).

When I grew up, it was expected I would go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, and live the American dream. Just like my parents did. Only I was going to do it better. That's how America has worked for generations. Each one doing better than the previous.

In the Spring of 2000 I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Business Communications. I had 4 different job offers to choose from, with salaries starting at 28K all the way up to over 40K. I took the job I thought was the best choice, and into the workforce I went. I was 22 years old, making more than 30 grand a year, working in television, and on top of the world. I had officially started my American dream.

Then reality hit...and it hit hard. Six months after graduation, in December of 2000, I received a lovely letter from the lovely student loan people that I had to begin repayment of my loan. The balance was over 32K. My credit card bills started adding up. They were nearing 20K...I mean, I really needed to buy a new wardrobe for work, a TV, some furniture...I was making money now, right? I was 23 years old and over 50 grand in debt, making just over 30K a year. But, I was young and had plenty of time to pay down the debt. Besides, my salary would continue to go up as moved up in my company, and I eventually would buy a house and build equity. So, it would be OK.

I kept this up for the next year. Living paycheck to paycheck, never budgeting, never saving, trying to make minimum payments on credit cards and pay rent/bills, but keep up the lifestyle to which I was accustomed (thanks to my parents).

I kept telling myself things would get better. I would get a better job, make more money, pay down debt, find the right guy, and get the American dream back on track. I still had hope. I was told all my life that if I went to college and got a good job, I would be OK. But, as the years started to pass, I started noticing my expectations and my reality were at odds with each other. My salary didn't increase more than 3% a year. I would get bored with a job, quit, and have to start over somewhere else. The bills kept piling up, but the salary still didn't rise much. In fact, it went the wrong way a few times....but, I thought, I won't work somewhere I hate just because the pay is higher than another job. It became harder and harder to meet someone. I couldn't figure out really where to meet someone after I was taken out of the automatic social setting of a college town.

Suddenly, I wake up and I'm 32. I am finally making more money than I was 10 years ago, but I still can't afford to buy a house. Not quite yet...but I'm getting closer. I'm still in debt. Yes, I still have those student loans. I am still struggling to get ahead. I know I am not alone. Many of my Gen X friends have the same problems. The world has changed so fast, and it feels like we got caught in the middle.

When my parents were my age, they owned a home and a business, 2 cars, and a vacation time share in Florida. I own a 46" flat screen and an Ikea couch and cabinet.

I get the feeling my expectations never gave reality a chance. But, I am still working for my American dream. It just may look a little bit different than I originally thought.

10 Great '80s Cars That Time Forgot

I don't know about y'all, but who didn't get a little action in the back of an I-Roc in high school?
POPULAR MECHANICS has made a list of great cars from the 80s...so many memories

Sarah Gilbert Comes Out

First off...I am so glad we live in a world where people are starting to feel free enough to live their lives out in the open and proud of who they are. I think tolerance is one of the best traits of Generation X. Go Sarah! But really, didn't we all know this in 1991?

Keri Russell will always be Felicity...but this new show looks pretty fun. Especially with GOB Bluth.

How important is money to Generation X?

Psychology Today says money is no longer a motivator for our generation.

I don't know about you, but I'm over the ancient Baby Boomer concept that I should stay at a job I hate just because of the money...how about you?

Dawson's Creek News-Dawson Gets Married...Again.

Who else is on marriage #2? Anyone? Anyone? Starter marriage is over...now it's on to the real one!

I can't tell you how many GenX'ers I know who are right with Dawson Leery on the marriage count.

Dawson's Creek News-Pacey Con 2010

I myself was a Pacey girl...I never really met many girls that liked Dawson more than Pacey. I still love Joshua Jackson to this day. This video proves to me that he is still amazing in every way.