3 Reasons I’m Ashamed of My Generation


A couple months ago I wrote a post entitled Six Reasons Why I’m Proud of My Generation (https://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2014/02/02/6-reasons-why-im-proud-of-my-generation).  To my surprise, it’s become one of my most popular posts to date.  And I still mean every single word that I wrote in that post.  However, lately I’ve been unable to ignore some of the things about my generation (basically people between the ages of 15 & 30) of which I am ashamed.  Or perhaps it would be more correct to say things that really frustrate me about my generation.  In any case today I will possibly (ok, probably) sound like a grumpy old lady but I really could not care less.  I’m slowly coming to peace with the fact that I am indeed old at heart & there is nothing much I can (or should) do about it.millennial

These are in no particular order.

  1. MUSIC. First off, I do realize that not all modern music is aimed at my generation, but I think it’s fair to say that most of it is.  However, I don’t know how else to put this other than that turning on the radio nowadays makes my ears bleed.  I literally want to shoot the radio because everything on it sounds so BAD.  Almost every song I hear is inane, stupid, vapid, & redundant.  As in singers quite literally repeat the exact same words or phrases over & over & over.  Not to mention popular music (& even country music) is nothing more than an endless stream of partying/drinking songs.  There is a time & place for such music but it should NOT be the mainstay of our musical diet as it has sadly become.  I’ll be the first to admit that some of these songs are indeed catchy, but I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a musical snob (&, no, I’m not sorry for that) in that I believe music should be more than just a catchy tune that makes you feel good for a few minutes.  Perhaps even more revolting is the overuse of auto-tuning & other such musical Photoshop.  Eric Church said it best in his usual slightly crass but undeniably brilliant way: “It’s a little bit shallower than it was a few years ago — it’s ‘Let’s drink, forget our worries, beach, bonfire, lake.’ When something’s working, everybody falls into a pattern. One thing I miss is turning on the radio & just having a song punch me in the gut &, as a songwriter, knock me on my ass. And I think we could use more of that.”  Yes, Mr. Church, we certainly could.  And that’s just one reason I have an entire post on here dedicated to his talent (https://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2014/02/25/why-eric-church-might-be-the-musical-genius-of-the-21st-century/).  eric church outsiders quoteFurthermore, what happened to rock & roll being the anthem of young people?  There are still tons of great rock & metal bands, but many of them are seriously struggling to survive.  Rock radio is basically dead with most rock stations playing either classic rock (90’s & older) or this new-age hipster pop-rock that makes me want to puke (not necessarily because it’s all bad but because it’s replacing the REAL rock & roll that ought to be played on these stations).  At every rock concert I’ve attended I’ve been surprised at how many people are in their late 30’s & older.  While I find it admirable that these folks are still going to rock concerts, I can’t help but wonder where all the young folks are.  Oh wait, that’s right; they’re all listening to Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, & Pitbull.

 

  1. RELATIONSHIPS. Let me preface this part by saying that there are several things in regard to relationships of which I am actually very proud of my generation.  These include our ability to transcend gender roles & our acceptance of inter-racial or cross-cultural relationships.  I consider these to be huge milestones for our society & I’m proud to be part of a generation that is making these ideals come to life.  However, I am also frustrated at the state of far too many relationships in my generation.  Far too many of us are so afraid of commitment, or so afraid of being “tied down,” that we’re incapable of ever defining our relationships at all.  Then of course there are the inevitable “hook-ups” that everyone agrees always end badly & yet no one wants to be the “prude” who suggests that maybe sleeping with strangers (or near-strangers), particularly while drunk, really IS a bad idea. hook up culture I so often find myself wanting to scream at the masses: “Get yourselves together, people!”  It’s not that I think my generation is any more “slutty” (I hate that word but can’t think of anything better at present) than any other generation.  We probably aren’t.  But we could certainly stand to have a bit more honesty in our relationships.  If we want a casual “friends with benefits” relationship, then we should have the guts to say so.  And if we want a more serious relationship, we should have the guts to say that too.  We should also realize that there is really no such thing as uncomplicated sex.  All sex is complicated.  But probably the least complicated sex is that between two loving adults.  I’m not sure why that’s so hard to understand.  Additionally, both girls & guys of our generation need to have the self-respect to only accept a partner who truly respects us as a friend, a lover, & a human being.  We need to realize that putting up with anything less sends the message that such behavior is ok.  We also need to grow up & realize that real life isn’t a fairy tale & wanting to wake up beside someone is just as important as wanting to go to bed with them.  Basically I’m tired of hearing people complain about the lack of nice guys (& girls) when so much of the time these very same people are never honest about what they actually want out of a relationship & then are surprised when they don’t get it.

fairytale tequila

  1. DRINKING. I grew up in a family & a church who believed that all alcohol is bad all the time.  When I became an adult, I realized I didn’t agree with this view of the world because frankly I find it illogical.  But I also discovered that I really don’t like the feeling of being drunk.  Both physically & mentally, it is just not a pleasant feeling for me.  (A little tipsy is ok, just to be clear, but not actually drunk.)  Despite what the majority of the world experiences, alcohol really doesn’t help me relax.  (Trust me, sometimes I wish it did.)  Not to mention I still can’t understand why anyone would willingly sign up for a hangover.  To me this is just common sense.  party cultureTo be clear, I don’t judge those who truly enjoy getting drunk.  As long as you are responsible about it (don’t drive & have someone to watch over you to make sure you don’t do anything too stupid), I seriously don’t think less of people who enjoy getting a little more than tipsy once in a while.  But it really shouldn’t be the foundation of your lifestyle.  When I meet someone & all they can talk about is how much they can’t wait to get drunk this weekend, or how wasted they were last night, or if every story they tell involves being drunk, I can’t help but want to scream “Don’t you realize there’s more to life than getting wasted?!”  I know I must sound like a judgmental prick right now, but seriously I have to wonder if all of these people really enjoy getting drunk as much as they say they do, or if they just do it because it’s the cool thing to do.  Maybe I am just weird (ok, I am definitely weird), but I really can & often do have a great time with my friends without drinking anything at all or while drinking only in moderation (say one or two drinks).  I also much prefer drinking at home (or at a friend’s house) because it’s just way more comfortable.  If this makes me old & boring, I really don’t care because it also means I have a lot more money in my bank account because I’m not blowing it on overpriced drinks at bars every weekend.  End of story.

Anyone else under 30 understand what I’m saying here?  I know many of my friends do, & I am so incredibly thankful for y’all because you enrich my life in so many ways & remind me that I’m not totally insane.  Like I said earlier, I really hate to sound like an old grump but somebody has to do it, right?

Old at Heart


“You’re so mature.”  “You’re old at heart.”  “You’re only 18 [21, 23, insert current age]?!  You seem so much older.”  Between my mom, other family members, friends in college, & coworkers, these are all phrases I’ve heard quite consistently throughout my life.  The vast majority of the time they’ve been meant as compliments (I think), though as a teenager naturally I found such comments a bit upsetting because they seemed to highlight exactly how uncool I really was.  However, I also realized that the very things that made me uncool at the time were the exact things that would make me successful later in life.  (I suppose the ability to realize that really was a mark of maturity.)  Once I was in college such comments bothered me a bit less because once you’re out of high school being cool stops having so many rewards while being intelligent, well-read, & capable of carrying on conversations of actual depth become much more important characteristics, all of which I was (& am) proud to possess.

In any case, of late I’ve noticed a bevy of articles on Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, & other such websites about the reality of adulthood after college, your early 20’s vs your late 20’s, & signs you’re nearing 30, etc, etc.  A former coworker of mine posted such an article on her Facebook yesterday: http://viralpoop.com/30-signs-youre-almost-30/.  Reading this article made me recall all the times I’ve been called “old at heart” & the mixed feelings these types of comments always create.  As I read the list of “30 signs you’re almost 30” I realized once again how many of these things are true for me & more importantly how many of them have been true for me for YEARS now.  Perhaps some of it has to do with being an introvert who has always preferred casual nights at home with friends to wild nights at loud bars & crowded clubs.  Or perhaps I really am just “old at heart.”

youths

Whatever the reason for this, I’ve decided to embrace it.  Being old at heart might mean I get invited to fewer bars, clubs, & parties, but it also means I have a solid group of close friends whom I can truly count on in good times & bad.  Being old at heart might make me boring in some people’s eyes, but it also means I have a good career & am financially savvy.  I might be out of touch with popular music, but if you want to veer off the beaten path, I’ll be happy to introduce you to a long list of lesser-known but extremely talented musicians & bands.  I might own the world’s oldest I-pod (I refuse to upgrade until it breaks because I see no need to replace something that works just fine), but I also own dozens of actual CDs which I am always happy to lend to friends so they can discover awesome new music.  Being old at heart means I am ghostly pale in the winter & have tan-lines in the summer, but my risk for melanoma will be a lot lower than all of my cohorts who zap their skin in tanning beds or forego sunscreen on a regular basis (not to mention when I do hit 30 I’ll probably look a lot younger than they will).  I will never wear skinny jeans & cannot stand almost every major fashion trend of the past few years, but the clothes I do buy are classics that will stand the test of time & can be worn for years to come.  (And if boot-cut/flare jeans aren’t classics, then I truly do not give a damn.  I’m rocking them anyway.)

tanning bed

I’ve often heard it said in life that the things we criticize about ourselves the most or  the things we feel most self-conscious about are exactly the things that make us fascinating, unique, & beautiful.  For example a friend of mine once told me that he had always felt self-conscious about his nose.  The ironic thing was that I had always thought his nose was exactly what made him uniquely attractive.  As another example, I’ve always been self-conscious about the fact that I’m eternally clumsy, always tripping or dropping something.  However, my coworkers affectionately call me “Clumsylina” & tell me how endearing my clumsiness is.  I also feel self-conscious about my hair at times.  I hate styling it (or having anyone else style it) because sitting in front of a mirror fretting over my appearance has always struck me as an absurd waste of time.  Therefore I sometimes worry that my hair looks unkempt & fear that I give off an “I don’t care” vibe when really I just hate fooling with it.  However, the reality is that I get more compliments on my hair than on anything else appearance-related.  (Apparently having naturally wavy/curly-ish hair is a blessing that I’m only just starting to appreciate.)  If you want an example in the media, consider Jess on Fox’s New Girl.  One of the most common descriptors for her character is quirky, thanks in part to her unique outfits, her naiveté, & her propensity for turning anything & everything into a song, & at times she is quite self-conscious about these things.  Yet it is exactly these quirks that Nick can’t resist & that attract audiences across the world to watch the show.

beauty in faults

The point of all this is that it’s often our quirks, even our supposed “faults,” that define us, that make us unique & exciting, & that attract others to us.  Perhaps being old at heart is my greatest quirk & instead of being embarrassed by it, it’s time to embrace it & realize that being old at heart doesn’t have to mean I’m boring.  It’s just who I am, & I like myself this way.  Therefore I am going to embrace it, & the next time someone calls me “old at heart” I will smile & thank them for the compliment with no second thoughts.  And if I do have second thoughts, I’ll remember this blog post & why I wrote it.

How about you?  What quirks about yourself make you self-conscious but make others love you?  Has anyone ever called you old at heart?  If so, how did it make you feel?