I went to an escape room to learn about millenials. I ended up learning about myself.

If you are an avid follower of PivotNW’s work, you probably saw our social media posts about a recent trip to an escape room trip. I planned it. I posted about it. I made sure everyone’s schedule allowed them to come and I am the one with the middle child inclination of wanting everyone to experience fellowship and frivolity.  But I am not a middle child.

However I am Xennial (’80) on a team with mostly millenials (our graduate student research assistants) and a few Boomer/Xer cuspers (our Executive Dir., I/O Psych team leader and our newest grad research asst.).

I figured that since Escape Rooms started in 2007, were brought to the US in 2012, and have gained popularity partly from their inspiration by video games adventures, well, it seemed like many other phenomenon associated with millenials: Food trucks, vinyl and the much maligned avocado toast.

What I learned is that the escape room has a broad appeal and a broad clientele (even if the hosts are often millenials). I think the most interesting part of the experience for me was once the room started. Both the millenials and boomers went to work at a frenetic pace right away. It’s not as if I didn’t pitch in and help. But if I ever was in charge of the afternoon, clearly that was no longer the case.

This struck me as a familiar place to be as an X’er. Few headlines are about us, few reins of power are held by us, and if you google Gen X nowadays you get headlines about how we are sandwiched in between two very powerful and outspoken American generations. “Why can’t we just step up and make peace?” the articles ask. Well, I couldn’t even lead a team out of an escape room.

This causes me to consider how in-between figures in scripture embodied their in-between-ness. The story of Zechariah comes to mind since it is often part of our advent reflection this time of year and he is a somewhat minor character in between the hope of our Lord and the promises of the Old Testament. Zechariah is overshadowed by his son John and his distant relative Jesus. But his role was characterized by obedience to his priestly task, faithfulness in his calling to shepherd God’s people and his family, all while being struck dumb. His voice was diminished and when it did return he used it to praise the creator and prophesy. 

That prophesy is upon John the Baptist who “will be called the prophet of the Most High” and who “will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways.” Read it. Especially if you are Gen X. Luke 1:67-80. What do you think? If you had to pick a patron saint of Gen X today who would it be and why? And how about Millenials and Boomers? To make it more immediate consider just characters in the Advent narrative as they relate to the birth of Jesus. Then maybe do this exercise regularly with co-workers, bible-study members, family, etc. The answers might reveal a lot about your self-image and that of the generational groups around you.