Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Here is what I have learned about myself/my generation from the former one:
– I am entitled – I take everything for granted – I have it a lot easier – I can’t function without my phone – I am ruining society – I do not care about the common good
Wonderful, right? Well, no. It is not. Somehow there is this wide belief that we are the ones ruining everything. It is not true. I mean, I am not here to defend all of those reasons and say that all of them are invalid. Sure, there is some truth to them. But, as usual, they are generalizations. I am not here to say that we are better, that we are the ones saving the world. But I sure as hell will not stand by this. Because I need to point out something:
All generations are the same.
There it is, I have said it. There are so many posts about our generation, so many more platforms for the older generations to express their concerns about us. But is it not familiar? Has this not been the issue with every generation in history (at least with the ones we have a record of)? I have come across an article with quotes about the YouthTM , with a source on each of them. All these quotes say the same thing that is said about us today: we want a luxurious life, we are narcissistic, we have no taste for manners, we are reckless and we disgrace your values. Turns out, these quotes were from books, newspapers, magazines, reports from 1926, 1871, 1695, and even from Plato’s (!!!) The Republic, from 380 B.C.
So no. This is not new. It is only new to you because you have not taken a closer look at history yet. It always repeats itself, you know. In Before Sunrise, Julie Delpy’s character points out, “I don’t think it matters what generation you’re born into. […] For me now, it’s another type of fight. We still have to deal with all the same shit. But you can’t really know what or who the enemy is.” Sure, we might assume that we know the enemy of our generation by now. You never know, however, what you have to fight against when you are born, or when you begin to develop your consciousness for the world.
I have said that generations are all the same, but that is not the only thing I want to tell you. It is still possible that even after these arguments, one would feel like the Y generation does more damage than others. Therefore, it is time to bring up the counter points to make you realize that we do not come into this world entirely free of past generation’s baggage. No. I am here to show that the ME generation is going to have to deal with some intense issues, and the outcome will not be guaranteed, as every generation messes up, judging by what we have seen. And in the end, as a member of the Y generation, it would not be me if I would not try to bring back some of my me-me-me ’s dignity.
“MY GENERATION reports higher levels of anxiety and depression than ANY other generation, 15% more of US than YOU will go to university, But 46% of MY GENERATION won’t find a job until over a year after law school, MY GENERATION, on average, is $47,628 in debt. 58% of girls in MY GENERATION feels like they are the wrong weight, 95% of people with eating disorders are part of MY GENERATION, And MY GENERATION has a million dollar industry telling us that we are not good enough.”
This is taken from a U.S. citizen’s perspective; however, I think it is valid for us Europeans nonetheless. The world has become such a place where the amount of information triggers our anxiety and depression in a way that maybe has never been seen before. We have so much pressure on us with the accelerating world to always be better, always learn more, do more. If you do not have 30 years of work experience by the time you get out of university, you will have a hard time finding a job. Double masters is the new bachelors degree.
Some say that our parents’ generation was more active in the community, in student forums than we are now. They had bigger, more consistent views about politics, whereas we are floating voters. They joined the university council and were active throughout the college years.
Maybe we do not have time for that now. Maybe the demands have risen so much that we cry at the amount of homework we get, and forget about the fact that there is a gathering of whichever student party at 7pm, because we are busy until 11pm to finish our readings. Maybe we are floating voters because the amount of information that strikes us every day makes us lose our faith in politics, in democracy, in humanity. Maybe it is social media. But you know who did not invent it? Our generation. We are grown into that. Maybe born into that. But we did not make it.
These are just a few points that cross my mind everytime I hear middle-aged people complain about us. But I am not here to say that I will rebel, that I am against everyone above the age of 30. I am not.
I just simply want to deliver a message: remember that history repeats itself. Remember that there will always be an enemy that you will have to fight, even if you do not know what or who that will be right away. And remember the rage or annoyance you felt when you heard all these negative things about your generation when you want to express it to the one coming after you. Yes, we will be annoyed, yes will be concerned about the YouthTM. But that is nothing new.
My point is that the world is constantly changing, and because of that my generation possibly has bigger issues to deal with during our lifetime. It is a fact that the world we are born into is fundamentally different than the one our parents inherited. However, nobody knows what the future holds so we can not make the assumption, that generation Y is worse or that our struggles will only become bigger in the future. That is why my proposal is accepting the change we see in every generation, and for the older ones that do not believe that we can actually have it worse than them, just ask me for more facts.
So now, I am going to enjoy scrolling through my social media feed, take a selfie, and drink a pumpkin spice latte. Call me entitled.