Monday, 13 September 2010

Generation X takes charge: the passing of the baton

Well, my lovely friends, I hope you’ve all been relishing your weekend. Spring has well and truly sprung in Hobart this weekend – yesterday we flung open our French doors for the first time. Just glorious. Having relaxing dinners outdoors is just around the corner now. Anyway, I thought I’d have a chat about some things we have noticed after returning to live in Hobart after 11 years in Sydney.
Hello, Generation X!
One of the most striking realisations has been that our generation has now assumed most of the reins of power down here. After growing up being accustomed to our parents and their friends being involved in the community and knowing politicians and community leaders, it’s been a little bit of a shock to return to find most of that generation has retired. Some have even died. Others have moved interstate to be near their grandchildren. We’ve found that confronting. Especially when we notice how quickly our parents and their friends have aged in the last few years. We always knew it was on the cards that at some point, it would become an issue for us but we have been caught a little off-guard. I suppose while we’ve been fussing around on Planet Baby, age had started to catch up with them.

We even know some of the new State politicians personally – we went to school and university with them. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were larking around with them at Uni and now they have assumed positions of great power in the community. With President Obama’s inauguration, I felt a real sense of a changing of the guard. But he’s still 49, nearly a decade older than me. I still didn’t quite relate to him as being of my generation. Now our Tasmanian political leaders are 45, 42 and 41. And I’ve just turned the big four-oh. Hmm. I think the baton is being well and truly passed onto Generation X down here.
Don't drop it!
It’s not only on the political stage, though. Now our peers are also entrenched in senior management positions or have long-established family businesses. Some are being headhunted overseas. Their opinions are being sought by the media. Yes, Generation X is stepping up to the plate. 

I’ve mentioned before that so many of our school and uni friends left Tasmania to obtain work experience interstate and overseas. Now, we’re finding so many of them are returning to Tasmania, married with small children and looking for a better family life and time to spend with their parents. The ones who did stay here during that time seem to have done very well financially as they bought houses before the prices rocketed up here a few years ago. That’s not rocketing on the scale of Sydney or Melbourne, where housing has become so unaffordable, of course. But relatively speaking, for a long time, Hobart real estate was seriously underpriced so when prices took off, they increased at a far greater rate than Hobartians were accustomed to. Those who bought early are happy campers now.
Maybe this little Hobart cottage has potential with some Wedgewood blue paint
In Sydney, buying a three bedroom, one bathroom, unrenovated house with a small garden in an average suburb in our area was going to cost us at least $750,000. That’s a large mortgage in our books, especially as we’re currently living the single income life. That’s one of the main reasons we left Sydney – it was just getting beyond our reach. We’re still happy to rent down here for a while longer while we get a feel for how our Sydney apartment is appreciating and also discovering how far our money would go down here.

My dad has been keeping an eye on the market for a while and tells me that prices seem to be dropping a little, sometimes below that magical $500,000 mark for a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a garage and a garden. They're probably not renovated but it does seem eminently more affordable down here. I’ll let you know how we go when, and if, we decide to sell our Sydney place and buy a house here.

So, for the moment, we’re renters. I find that a bit hard to grasp after years of ownership but it’s what is working for us at the moment. It does mean that we’re limited in the ways we can use our home. You know, the whole ‘We can’t stick a nail in the wall to hang a picture’ kind of aggravation or the ‘I really don’t like the bright yellow walls in Sam’s room – they’re hardly calming’ kind of thought. Sigh. I’d love to redecorate the place and stamp it with our style. One day we’ll have our own little place – we’ll get there.

I think I'll use this birthday present as inspiration when we buy down here
But for the moment, I’m satisfying those urges by vicariously enjoying all the prettiness so many of you blog about. I'm captivated by how you’re planning your houses (hello, Briohny), decorating them (that’s you, A-M), realestalking them (you again, A-M!), renovating them (take a bow, Sarah B), prettying them (come on down, Janette), sewing cushions, garlands and blinds (that’s you, Tina), creating linen loveliness (hello, Jami and Ness) or vintage gorgeousness (thanks, Viv and Rachel). You are all so wonderfully talented – I am in awe.

Besides living on PB, I’m also leading a virtual existence, trawling though Etsy, adding gorgeous homewares and prints to my wishlist (you can have a peek at it in my sidebar). Isn’t that a veritable treasure trove! I'm pinning captivating images with We heart it. I'm pinning my beautiful boards on Pinterest (see my sidebar as well). I’m also discovering Flickr’s delights, spying delightful scenes, enchanting French images and glorious riots of colour, saving them to my precious list of ‘favourites’ and mulling over when I can blog about them! Do any of you do that as well? Yes, I confess, this blogging caper is becoming a teensy, weensy bit addictive. But I digress.

Yes, so moving back to our hometown has been a complicated journey of both the heart and the mind as we realise how much our lives have changed since we arrived on Planet Baby. Now, we’re the ‘grown-ups’ of old Hobart Town, caring for our ageing parents as their health declines and life slows down for them. We’re bumping into our peers as we drop off the pixies at school and daycare, standing in queues behind our old friends at the supermarket, buying nappies. It’s fascinating to see how people have aged and changed since we left school more than 20 years ago. Some people have maintained their old school-time friendships. Others have walked away from them and cut off all ties. Some are now friends with people they had nothing to do with at school. 

Life is getting more complex as we enter our fourth decade. We all have children, family responsibilities and social networks to cultivate and maintain. There are fellow parents at the pixies’ school and daycare for us to meet. There are school and community organisations for us to join. So, yes, it’s time in little old Hobart Town. Generation X is stepping up to the plate. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you slightly taken aback that the time has arrived, like me? Or do you think it’s high time the Baby Boomers moved on and let our generation get on with running the show? Something to ponder at the end of the weekend!



  1. Maybe the change isn't so apparent to me as I've never left the place? It sort of feels like a natural progression, apart from my parents getting older (so not happy about that). The whole realestate thing was a bit of a drag but I have to say that I was lucky to buy a unit down Sandy Bay before the boom. Boy, that was a good decision (love that cottage pictured by the way).
    Thanks so much for the shout-out, I really appreciate it! I agree, the blogging experience is a very very positive (and addictive) one.
    Have a great week Jane :)

  2. You're probably right, Sarah. It just seems so much more apparent to me having spent time away. And lucky you, having bought then. You are one of those happy campers! You too. J x PS We still have to get to the Gardens - you have whetted my appetite!

  3. You know, Jane, I've never actually thought about it until I read your post! You're right - it goes beyond my amazement that I was "on the P&C" when surely that was my mum's job!? We live in a conservative area so the pollies are all a bit still 'grand-dad' but in general there are countless local 'identities' that are our age. Successful people.

    Then you realise that you're probably one of them! We are stepping up for sure!!

    I do still panic at the thought a bit, though. I wonder when the 'real' grown ups are going to step in and have their say.

    BTW, the assignment post I did today was the script I wrote for the television part of my 'Gruen Transfer' brief from AdSchool. There is press, print, radio and online too, but I didn't want to overly bore everyone!!

    I was pleased with it in the end. It's amazing what you can pull out of your arse when you have to!! x

  4. Yay! High five Gen X ers! We have so much to offer! Making our mark on the world, one small child at a time! Oh how this post makes me want to be back in the workforce making a difference....plenty of time for that when I launch back to Earth from Plant Baby! Hey, thanks for the mention in this post! I think I actually blushed!
    X Briohny.

  5. Bron, you crack me up, although I admit that writing this post did focus my mind a bit more than normal. Yes, that time in the future which seemed so 'far away' when we were younger has arrived. I haven't quite put my hand up for the P & C but that time will come, I'm sure. And wow! You sure pulled that off well. I can't believe you did it. Bravo you. J x

  6. And Brionhy, you are making a difference - at home on PB. I'm going to do a post on that - raising the next generation is a huge responsibility! And it was my pleasure to mention you. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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