At first thought, who isn’t terrified to grow old? Because that means the end of your life is nearing, and hopefully it’s been filled with wonderful memories and minimum regret. And if it’s not, there’s no second chance to redo anything, and that truly is terrifying. You cannot change a thing and you have to live out the rest of your days with the memories you have, whether you’re happy about the way you’ve spent them or not. But that’s not why I’m terrified for my generation to grow old.
I’m terrified for my generation to grow old because of the way we are and what our values have become. We are so fixated on social media and texting and what’s going on in everyone else’s lives. Is that really what it’s all about? Does the amount of Instagram likes we get make our lives more fulfilling? I wish that everyone in Generation Y could take a step back and realize the hole we are digging ourselves for our future.
Studies show that we are more likely than any other generation to develop anxiety over speaking face to face with someone, or waiting for a text back, or seeing something we don’t like on social media. I know that I’m guilty. But is that really how we want to live out the rest of our lives? Constantly with our phone in hand and our heads bent over looking at something on a screen? Something about someone else’s life and what they’re tweeting or all their “candid” pictures from that party they went to last night? Does that stuff really matter? Does that make our lives better somehow? Because I have come to believe it doesn’t. We’re so preoccupied with what everyone else is up to and what everyone else thinks of the things we post on social media that we forget to live in the moment and enjoy things or even feel them as they happen to us.
When something amazing or horrible or ridiculous happens to us, our first thought isn’t to process what’s happening, it’s, “How can I post this on social media so everyone knows that it’s happening to me?” I know that I am 100% guilty of this and when I actually think about it, it’s appalling. Are we going to be like this the rest of our lives? Not actually living in the moment? That’s one of the most important things we can learn to do and we will never completely learn it! These are our most vulnerable years and if this is what’s getting instilled in our brain so young, what’s it going to be like when we get older?
Think about our grandparents. Most of them are still married and they all have an adorable story about how they met, fell in love, started a family, and grew old together. And of course this is still possible for our generation, even with the divorce rate so high. But the way that our love stories will happen will never be able to compare to previous generations and the values on which our marriages are built will never juxtapose. When our kids ask how their parents met, our stories likely won’t be about how we were introduced by friends and kept in contact by writing letters to each other and then waited years maybe even through a war just to see each other again. We will tell our kids things like, “Oh we met on Tinder,” or “We met at a party in college,” which will really mean, we hooked up drunk at a college party once and then it became how long we would have sex before we actually started dating. Because that’s what we are; the hook up culture. And it may seem okay for us because that’s all we’ve ever known, but how detrimental is that going to be when we do grow old? Of course, not every marriage will start like this; there are some lucky ones. But are we going to have “side chicks” and “main chicks” when we’re in our 50s? Will we always play these games and think its okay?
As this problem expedites, what will happen to our kids when we grow old? How will they be? Our generation was lucky in the fact that we still had innocent years when we were younger; we had the opportunity to be young and know the joy of playing outside and the simplicity of playing games like house or school during our play dates. The corruption didn’t come until we grew a little older. But our kids, they will have to be raised by us and our obsession with social media and things that will never really matter when we’re old. How will our kids turn out? Should we want them to turn out like us?
Thinking about Generation Y growing old would normally not faze someone. But if you really take a step back and look at what we are becoming, the thoughts become a snowball process of wonder and even fear. What generations before us have will be forever lost because we will be unable to preserve that simplicity. Throughout the history of the human race, nothing has impacted society as much as technology has, and something this amazing should have beneficial effects. But for us, we overuse and abuse it. The first and last thing we do everyday is check our phones; it’s hard for us to stay off of them for longer than an hour. These small habits remain unnoticed by those that exhibit them, but they will impact our lives in the long run in unforeseen ways. And the fact that most of Generation Y will never realize this is why I’m terrified for my generation to grow old.