Every generation sees change to the world it didn’t anticipate. It seems to be an on-going joke with every new generation that the ones before it (which are still living) are crotchety, grumpy old people who dislike whatever happens to define modernity simply because the change of the times is something older people struggle more and more to keep up with. (In defense of older people everywhere – things ARE changing faster than they ever have in world history and so it IS tougher and tougher to keep up with!)
I can picture my great-grandparents rolling their eyes that my grandparents got to work in factories and offices instead of in the field and factories – such a posh life working indoors! “Young people have no idea how easy they have it today!” And my grandparents probably were grouches about the generation following them. “Damned hippies! What’s this crap about peace, love, and flower power?!?! Get a job and keep it!” My parents’ generation has worked really hard (often responsibly and often irresponsibly) to give my generation the easiest life we could have – we were probably one of the first generations to really want for nothing…. for the most part. Now they are the generation griping. “Kids get trophies JUST for showing up! Everyone these days is so sensitive – so easily offended!” The very people who themselves worked their fingers to the bones to spoil so much of my generation are now vocal about how people today need to toughen up and work hard for what they have in life. Complaining about the perceived faults of subsequent generations seems pretty par for the course of being a human. What will be my generation’s complaint? Although time will tell if I’m wrong, I think our biggest complaint will relate to those who came before instead of those who came after.
From the reading I’ve done, it seems like those who are coming after my generation (there are a few “generations” between what I would consider to me mine and the generation my generation is currently producing) are making their own way. Articles I read and people I speak with indicate that there is a different set of priorities at work with those groups. They seem to be mostly responsible. They recognize the world’s current and unnecessary weaknesses and exploitations and want to change them – or at least not be contributors. They’re spending their monies differently. There seems to be a bit of a break between my generation and the ones coming of age at this moment. And my generation, mostly, doesn’t seem to care about those differences. We don’t care that they not only don’t want to own homes but also are willing to pay three mortgages worth of rent on a space the size of my bedroom closet – all just to be in the city. In the past, the older people were annoyed or upset whenever those coming of age broke from what existed. My dad’s generation caught shit from their dad’s generation just for letting their hair grow. My generation doesn’t care so much about forcing what is on those who will be.
What seems to send my generation into orbit is the rigidity of attitudes and beliefs of those who came before. To be clear, the rigidity is the issue more than the other. My generation is saying “Be a voice, not an echo.” Those starting to come after us are saying, “This is my voice and I’ll say what I will in whatever language I choose.” But those from generations before mine are perceived to mostly say, “God – you’re whiny! Why can’t your voice be more like mine – AND – in English? What’s wrong with mine?”
I have a feeling this will show itself to be a new cycle of things. Growing pains may be scary severe…. old habits die hard, they say. Right?
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti