I’m not sure where I fall in the generational letters, somewhere between X and Y I would think although I can’t find anywhere on the net that defines it to a conclusive year. I was born in 83 and most of my early childhood was filled with MTV and the internet in its infancy. For the sake of argument I will define myself as Generation XY.
There are a lot of people out there with opinions about the people of my generation and most of them don’t even know us. They see us in the news and it’s usually something bad. They see the statistics that show we used drugs, got pregnant and drank before we were ever out of high school and they write us off as the lost generation…. maybe they aren’t so wrong.
Most of my friends and I never had a lot of teaching about morals and values growing up. We were spoiled and ignored to the point that we didn’t have any respect for our parents. We knew we could get what we wanted if we just whined a little more. Our parents had been raised by tough people in the 60’s and 70’s and had sworn that there kids would have it better than they did and so they gave us what we wanted rather than what we needed. My parents were poor and I still had more than kids from 20 years before and way more than my parents would have ever thought to ask for in their teens.
So we grew up, getting what we wanted, suffering few consequences and convinced we knew everything. Being classy and civil was for old people who never got any attention. We were proud, very loud and a force to reckoned with, anyone who stood in our way was bound to get knocked down and walked over. Some of our parents were essentially big children themselves and tried to be our friends, more than our guardians and protectors.
Some of us grew up too fast, drugs, sex and alcohol killing our innocence way too soon We saw our friends die from pure childish recklessness and still thought we were invincible. Then we turned 18 and were thrust into reality with little ceremony and no idea how to function in the real world. Everything we had learned so far had only taught us that someone would be there to catch us when we fell and that we didn’t have to really try at anything, we simply had to cry about it long enough and someone would give us what we wanted.
I see people my age all the time who are still living at home, some with children of their own, who have no idea what they want to be when they grow up even though we are on the downward slope to 30 and middle age. If their parents won’t take care of them they find someone or something that will. Welfare and the government pick up the slack when actual people won’t step in and help continue to raise these overgrown children.
We have been set up for defeat, either exposed to reality too soon or sheltered from it to the point of it being a handicap. We are crass, tactless and bold with little respect for anyone, even ourselves. Fuck buddies and hook ups are the only way we know how to interact with the opposite sex. The concept of dating is so foreign to us that we scoff at the idea. Love is something we all want but we haven’t learned to love ourselves and therefore find it hard to have a relationship. Failure is unacceptable so we don’t even try.
How do we get beyond the decay of our generation? How do we get away from the sense of entitlement we were raised in? With our country falling apart at the seams will my generation ever buck up and meet the challenges? Will we dissolve what it took 200 years to build due to lack of motivation?
I don’t have any answers and that is most of the problem with the people who have come of age in the last decade. We were taught to question everything but never taught how to find the answers for ourselves. Only time will tell whether we ever will.