Posted on July 26 2015
Could we be the first generation of adults ever
that don’t suck?
Photography: Bonnie Arbittier @Bonniearbittier
A hell of a lot has changed in the last quarter of a century. The world seems more disorganised less friendly every day, and our generation is reaching that precarious time where we actually start to matter. That can be frustrating, especially if you feel like you have a lot to say and you’re still too young for anyone to listen. Regardless, I feel like the idea of being an adult is something that isn’t so foreign anymore. But while the whole concept is becoming easier to understand, I’m not necessarily sure I’m happy about it.
The deeper into my twenties I get, the more I start to understand expressions that meant nothing to me as a kid. The phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ started to make more and more sense with every scary piece of information I learned about the world and how it works. It seems like a lot of people I know are becoming unsettled, disenfranchised or sometimes even depressed the more they teach themselves about how the world really is. I find it hard to balance myself sometimes. The world is a fucking negative place, and that’s sometimes hard to dismiss when it seems to be jammed down your throat by every media organisation, social media outlet, and politician that surrounds you. The more you see the facts, the more the world is built to get you down, and the harder it is to not let it get to you, to a point where I sometimes envy my mates who only think about footy and couldn’t give a shit about any worldly issues, and just live in their happy little bubble. I envy them, because their ignorance will save them a bit of heartache in the course of their lives.
I keep trying to tell myself we came along at a good time. We got to be kids in the 90’s; ride skateboards and BMX’s on the weekend, go to school and have a big group discussion about the dope episode of Pokemon that you know everyone had watched 20 minutes before you all arrived. We got to go to the cinema in a big group when it was your friend’s birthday and see the latest Mighty Ducks, or Jurassic Park, or Batman, and not know a goddamn thing about the story lines before we walked in. We got to be kids that thrived on being kids. We also got to know the Internet when we were hitting our teen years. That meant we could spend night after night of high school on MSN, and you probably met someone on Myspace that you’re still friends with to this day. We hit the jackpot when it came to balance. We got to be real kids but we still got to be at the forefront of the tech movement. The Internet is both a wonderful and a terrifying thing. I think our ability to use it to communicate is going to be such an important part of our future as a species. Shit, the fact you’re reading this is proof of that. But with that in mind, we also need to remind ourselves sometimes that we are not digital beings. It’s very hard to have a real conversation with someone through a screen of any format. And the less and less we communicate face-to-face, quite frankly, the shitter we seem to be getting at it. I’m not suggesting we dismiss and ignore the technology around us, I’m just saying that maybe it’s not the worst idea to put our phones down and dust off our skateboards. We invest so much of ourselves into our Instagram account that we forget that life isn’t about ‘Likes’, goddamn it. I think it makes it really had to find satisfaction in ourselves when we become so used to having things gratified online.
The biggest advantage the Internet has given us (especially over the generations that came before us) is our ability to share information instantly. We have “in jokes” that our entire generation understands. It connects us in a way that is really unmatched. This may mean we’re not easily fooled, but it also means we’re not easily pleased, and that’s not the nicest trait to have widespread. The harder we are to please, the more self-righteous we become. As hard as it is to fathom sometimes, lots of people have stuff to say. Everyone wants to have his or her voice heard. The more self-righteous those voices become the harder it is to actually tell anyone anything. If you’re smart and have something to say, but you can’t actually get your message across to anyone because of how you deliver it, then perhaps you’re not as smart as you thought you were after all. We can’t get arrogant with what we “know”. When our battery dies or the cable drops out, none of us are really that smart anymore.
I don’t want to sound like I’m beating our generation up. We’re really great at a lot of things. We are very open and accepting of people. We don’t have nearly the prevalence of things like homophobia or racism that was very common for our parents. We’re also very good at recognising injustice and shining a light on it, which is also really wonderful. I feel like it’s not just me who is really starting to realise that being an adult is intimidating when the generation above us, who currently call the shots, don’t seem to have the same ideas on issues as we do. We all just need to make sure we hold onto those ideals, because it wont be that long until we do actually get to run things. And whilst I’m not encouraging people not to listen to their parents or bosses, take everything that older generations have to say about us with a grain of salt. There are lots of political and social powers who would love us all to become jaded and complacent and stop caring about things, succumb to money, and pander our own lives towards “comfort”, the same way every other generation before us has. Systems are in place to make us slowly turn into dicks without us even realizing. If we don’t compromise what we understand to be true, and we make sure we communicate the things that are important, there is no reason that becoming adults needs to be intimating for us.
We could be the first generation of adults ever that don’t suck. The first generation of adults who looked after the planet more than they fucked it up. Who gave more money to families and people, than to military causes. We could be the first generation of adults who didn’t take themselves too seriously, or have to resort to blaming the last generation for their problems. Am I the only person who really wants to change the world?
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