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The generational blues

March 10, 2014 9:56 am by: Category: Opinion 4 Comments A+ / A-

Hanna BleauBy Hannah Bleau | gargoyle@flagler.edu

I may be a 60-year-old woman in a 20-year-old’s body. I am an avid coffee drinker and almost always in my pajamas by 6 p.m. Sometimes, I read for fun. I never miss my favorite shows on talk radio, and frequently make hot chocolate chip cookies for my sisters just for fun. Seriously, being a grandma is pretty great.

While I have the tendencies of an elderly woman, my younger self takes a visit now and then, and it often bothers me. Sometimes, it makes me cringe. I wake up, and there it is. Surf social media. There it is. Walk down the street. There it is. I can’t seem to escape it. Maybe it’s because I’m grouped in the stereotype. Allow me to go back into granny mode to talk about my generational blues.

Every generation strives to be better off than the last. History shows it typically works out that way, but my generation is phenomenally different than the rest. Our generation is growing up in a culture of self-obsession. Selfies are a regular thing. Social status is all the craze. All gym pictures must be uploaded to instagram so everyone can see your “athleticism” or “work in progress biceps.” Having a significant other is an absolute must, and if you don’t by the time you’re 13, something is obviously wrong with you.

The condition is worse than it appears. The only thing worse than a self-obsessed generation is one that also carries utopian ideals along with it. My generation is very idealistic. While it’s safe to say that almost everyone has soft spots for orphans, widows and handicapped people, my generation leaves it there. Political opinions are guided by feelings and emotions rather than substance and reason.

The “End it Movement” really got me thinking about this. “Shining a light on slavery” is great. I don’t personally know of anyone who is rooting against the cause. But my generation has been brought up to think that if they set aside a few days a year to draw a red “X” on their hand, they’re changing the world. One of the posts on my Facebook news feed said, “Let’s be bold.” Writing a status on facebook and drawing an “X” doesn’t change a thing.

Really. What sacrifice does that require? That takes literally no effort, time or money. Sending nice thoughts? That’s comforting.

While I have no doubt these people are to some extent sincere, it reflects the self-absorbed nature of the generation. We want to look like we’re doing something so we’ll look like good people. We’re brought up to think that buying a Kony 2012 T-shirt will change the nature of warlords in Africa. Let’s be honest. We just wanted a t-shirt to look like we cared. Really, how many of us are guilty of thinking we were changing the world, one profile picture at a time?

It seems as though my generation only chooses issues that suits it well. There’s not much deep-seeded thought in what we seem to choose. College students would rather read about the struggles of an interracial lesbian couple than the economic crises or the next billion dollar-spending bill.

My generation is responsible for idolizing Hollywood stars like Beyonce who regularly sing about being racy and in the same breath profess to be a renowned feminist. Talk about a walking contradiction.

My generation is responsible for electing the first black president of the United States, yet will complain about “racial injustice” running rampant in America.

Passion erupts for gay rights, marijuana usage and contraception, but anything that has to do with the sanctity of God and country is ignored or labeled as intolerant. My generation is obsessed with looking compassionate.

While no generation has been perfect, there’s something admirable about grandparents and parents. For one thing, they had thick skin. Let’s face it. Kids today are total wussies.

Previous generations appreciated the small things. Family time was sacred. Today, children will bash their parents on their own social media accounts without them ever knowing. We’ve lost the element of respect for our elders.

Past generations worked hard. Trust me, I even argued this one. I mean, I work and go to college — I work hard! But this doesn’t even begin to compare with the struggles our grandparents and parents went through. For many of us, our parents can help us. Past generations didn’t have that luxury.

Past generations really valued freedom. American politics was something deemed as important. Kids learned about the greats of American history. Today, most kids graduate high school without knowing anything about the founding fathers and the Constitution, but are well-versed in “gender and sexuality studies.”

So this isn’t entirely our fault. We’re products of society.

We’re products of a society that encourages us to put our self-identity in a significant other. We’re products of a society that tells us to differentiate ourselves from the crowd by a new piercing or tattoo.

We’re products of a secularist world where the Hollywood elite tells us what’s cool to believe, magazines tell us how to look, and CNN tells us what to think. It’s our fault because we’re stupid enough to believe it.

I don’t want to be another stereotype. I’m not saying the “End it Movement” is bad. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy that t-shirt that sends some profits over to help orphans in Africa. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stand up for your passions, but we need to pick and choose our battles. We need to put on a different lens and really decide what’s important to us and what we’re going to do about it. We shouldn’t base our decisions on how good it will look on a selfie. Being cool isn’t all it’s made out to be. Society is pretty ugly.

I want to put the focus back on God, family and country. I believe that’s a divine ordering, and I want to look back when I really am a grandma and say, “yes, I have a generation to be proud of.”

I have faith in my generation. I haven’t given up yet. I think good can come out of all of this if we can see through the smoke and mirrors of popularity, Hollywood and Washington elites. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to bake cookies, take midday naps, and go for long walks in my orthopedic shoes.  (Ok, just kidding about the last one. I’m 60, not 90.)

 

 

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The generational blues Reviewed by on . By Hannah Bleau | gargoyle@flagler.edu I may be a 60-year-old woman in a 20-year-old’s body. I am an avid coffee drinker and almost always in my pajamas by 6 p. By Hannah Bleau | gargoyle@flagler.edu I may be a 60-year-old woman in a 20-year-old’s body. I am an avid coffee drinker and almost always in my pajamas by 6 p. Rating: 0

Comments (4)

  • Human Being

    Yes, you very much seem like an old woman stuck in a young girl’s body. Not the sweet, cute old ladies, but more like the racist old ladies who are disgusted by interracial relationships and think homosexuality can be prayed away. That’s what I took away from this article and from your character (there, lack of). Also, newsflash people have always been obsessed with themselves. Why do you think kings have so many portraits and statues of themselves? Maybe because they wanted to showcase their wealth, power, and obsession for themselves. You too seem obsessed with yourself, considering you seem to have almost zero empathy for anyone else. Have fun living your delusional, illogical lifestyle.

  • swert

    and we have so much more debt coming out of school then previous generations. don’t say we have it easier, we cant buy $10,000 houses right after we graduate college anymore. every generation has struggles. just because i’m more passionate about ending the war on drugs than jesus doesnt mean im part of some terrible doomed satan loving generation.

  • swert

    how is it even possible to use so many sweeping generalizations in one article?? wow…and because you dont seem to be aware: it is definitely possible to be a feminist who is confident in their sexuality. and sings about “racy things”

  • jahmik

    Oddly enough this is the first article i have read on the gargoyle and first and foremost i enjoyed it. however, we as a society/generation have steadily been moving forward with technology at an unimaginable rate. Sure, our grandparents had it harder than us, but you could bet you bottom dollar that their grandparents had it even harder and so on. we may be able to lean on our parents or grandparents for financial support but it isnt always as cut and dry as that. our great grandparents were probably members of the working class during the depression and therefore unable to assist their children monentarily as much. (Thank god we did not have to suffer through the same.)

    Now, while i agree that most kids in highschool now a days are far too stupid for their own good, we (most people born from 1987ish-2005ish) are so different as a generation that most experts would actually sub divide us into smaller generations of 1987ish-1997ish and 1998ish-2005ish. that being said, most of your issues (and i think any sensible humanbeing’s) are with the latter of those generations.

    However our society as self centered social media addicts is a result of our desire to be more connected as a world. as this desire grows so to does our focus on science more than religion, thus our loss of certain religious family values. i think we could both agree anyone who thinks liking a status 99999 times is going to help bring water to starving african kids is an idiot. however when you look back it was more good then bad, we were the generation responsible for popularizing the real 151 pokemon, getting dunked over the head with a viscous, fluorescent green slime, and the internet as we we know it. sure we may be being over run by a seemingly endless onslaught of stupidity but because of it we have managed to become some of the most progressive and intellectual young adults in history (were just not publiscized enough). so while i disagree in your thoughts of us as a mindless self centered mirror of what ever popular culture wants us to be, i cant deny that most of us are going to have some serious explaining to do for the jersey shore fans and social media crusaders of idiocracy.

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