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The grunge generation grows up

They were known for their lack of commitment. Now Generation X is making waves, its own way.

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If the term "Generation X" brings to mind "slackers" who listen to grunge rock, you might want to take a closer look at the parents dropping off their kids at day care these days.

While no one was looking, Gen X grew up, and signs of their maturing are everywhere - from the release last month of the 10th-anniversary edition of the movie "Reality Bites," to a trend in stay-at-home moms.

Depending on whose measure you use, the first of the Xers will turn 40 next year - more than a decade after trend-spotters found similarities between the socially disengaged characters in the 1991 novel "Generation X" and the 20- somethings of the day.

Many of those in Gen X (born roughly between 1965 and 1979) now own their own companies, are raising children, and scoff at the stereotypes that were created about them in the early 1990s - particularly that they are cynical slackers who avoid commitment to jobs and relationships.

"That doesn't sound like me or most of my friends," says Tim Nekritz, a public relations professional and graduate student in his mid-30s from Oswego, N.Y. "We're like our parents' generation, in my opinion. We're getting married, having kids, settling down, buying houses.... I think we're like a lot of other generations that approach middle age."

Generation X may not have the numbers or the name recognition of the baby boomers, but its members - now approximately 25 to 39 years old, and 60 million strong - are putting their stamp on everything from parenting to planning for the future. Approaching their years of highest earning, this group is poised to influence not only housing prices and car styles, but social policy as well.

They live the life they want

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