I recently had a conversation with fellow law students that reminded me of a couple of things: First, it reminded me of my age; second, it reminded me of the times; and finally, it reminded me that, along with technology, our responses to things like love, free speech, and friendships have changed.
Just a number, right? Wrong! These days, age no longer determines our maturity, age can no longer be used as a gauge of success or stature, and age is no longer as important of a factor as it used to be. Growing up, age was everything. We wanted to be older so that we could legally drive, or date, or see R-rated movies. Now, we sneak in, sneak out, and underage-date-online like it's a sport. We rush into to things just to have things, and you can forget about us learning from the mistakes of our youth.
Age has become a joke and we can see that in the Kylie Jenner's of America who are 15 and 16 but look like 30-year-olds as far as clothing and makeup are concerned. Now, don't get me wrong, I have a huge appreciation for a properly made up face, but I also believe in the preservation of youth and innocence. Social media tells us to do this and do that, reality "stars" show us that if we eat at Nobu, we will look cooler and get more followers, and our friends tell us that selfies and likes are essential. But what happened to being young, going to the Jelly Belly factory or going out to eat with family without making it a huge social event? Why do we fantasize about the likes we'll get on a post at our grandfather's birthday dinner instead of living in the moment of our grandfather's birthday celebration?
I am a victim myself of these changing times, but that does not mean that I agree with them. I indulge in the occasional family dinner post, but why? Is it because, if we don't post it, it did not happen? That is a real question, because I scroll down my timeline and see people that post every single day from their workouts down to them pretending to work (we know they're not, because they are just staring at a computer for the camera and I'll put 10 dollars on that screen being blank half the time). Could it be the attention that we crave? As I enter into a world where views, likes and comments will matter more, I have taken a genuine curiosity in this age's reliance on social media.
I see the age gaps now more than ever and it saddens me that I now expect 90's babies to disrespect everyone around them. Age is no longer the indicator that it should be and people definitely do not act their ages... Whatever that means.
I am in the perfect spot as a 90's baby. I am young enough to be able to watch the millennials grow and old enough to have the 60's and 70's babies teaching me the do's and don'ts. Those before us will be quick to tell us to enjoy our youth and warn us not to take those times for granted. But as we near closer to the 2000's, we see more children disrespecting their parents on television and being praised for it, so that becomes the trend of the children coming up.
Today, we talk it out less, date and marry more, and speak up without facts like candy. We don't think twice about much of anything. It's like everyone is on a racetrack to be the most mature by making all of the immature choices that they possibly can. It seems as though we take the lessons, morals and values taught by our parents and grandparents and throw them out of the window on a daily basis.
In large part, I blame the advancement of technology and growing interest in reality television, but another great chunk of the reason why my generation of children forward seem to be so out-of-it would have to be that we are not getting the good dose of morals and values that our parents got. I am fairly certain that my generation started the trend of our parents being our "friends" more than being our parents. But, who could blame these parents, they worked their tails off just so that we could all have a great upbringing. So by the time we reach high school they are so tired and so ready to enjoy their lives that they relax the standards by a ton. Next thing you know, the children have become bold enough to not only talk back but also to yell and scream back.
I know that I am not yet old enough to say "back in my day," but back in my day, that type of behavior would have gotten my grandmother into a wide range of childrearing arguments with other parents and grandparents trying to teach their ill-behaving children and grandchildren a lesson. I am not advocating for the various controversial childrearing practices of the days before us, but I am advocating for parents taking back the throne and reinstating the morals and values that their parents, more likely than not, instilled in them.
Technology has created a huge rift in the way we communicate with each other. Instead of allowing ourselves the opportunities to use technology as a tool the way we should, we use technology as a distraction, a vice, a means for bullying, a place to pretend, and basically, as a junkyard.
We swipe right, slide in DMs, poke, pinch, and paste all day. I have literally watched people go out to eat and spend the whole meal with their face glued to their phone. Now, you can either attribute that to me being boring in a social setting (which is completely believable) or to people being overly obsessed with technology.
Call me old school but, if I am even going to venture out of my norm to be social, then I definitely expect you to do more than just stare at your phone, sing songs to your Snapchat, and record everything we do just looking for the next viral sensation.
Now, I am not asking for us to take it back to side ponytails, high socks and Friday night dates to the movie theaters, but I am asking for genuine conversation that is not constantly interrupted, eye contact, actual effort, manners, chivalry, and connections deeper than surface matters. Restore my faith in people, help me not to be such a cynic!
Let's be human again. Let's be social. Let's make eye contact. Let's grow together and not attack each other. Let's not be our own destruction.
I would say Let's Be Breef, but this project, this change, could take a while.