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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Default Why does my generation find it so hard to grow up?

    I can't think of any big introduction but I feel like a lot of people in my generation (late 20s, early 30s) are still big kids, they don't want to grow up. What is it about us as a generation and the time we life in that we find it so hard to commit, to settle down etc? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

  2. #2
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    Several angles to answering that question.

  3. #3
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I've settled down and committed already

    however, I lack other things I'm supposed to have as an adult... as in, I STILL don't have a clue what I want out of life there's just too many options!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  4. #4
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Probably because they all watched their parents fuck up their relationships as children and want to actually do it right for their potential offspring and their own well-being.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  5. #5
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Good question. Many have observed this.

    Our parents generation is said to have been the first to grow up in peace and unprecedented prosperity and defined itself through rebellion against the previous one. Ours grew up in an even more priviledged surrounding, but with more freedom and without as much to rebel against. With a culture catering to the young. We can afford to go to college, experiment to find ourselfs and make long term plans, etc without immediately being thrown into the sharks pool. That makes it very tempting to enjoy this freedom for a little longer. Why get a real job, start reading more of the newspaper than just the sports news and the comic strips and maybe start a family if you can continue to flip burgers, watch MTV and do some backpacking in India.

    Of course I'm exaggerating, but I do think that this is a generation that has so many choices it feels paralyzed. At the same time there is an enormous pressure to perform, to get everything right the first time. Why expose yourself to that if you can stay a teenager forever? That might be an avoidance strategy. Also, it might be related to the supposedly increasing number of singles and relationship instability: we often want the impossible and get disappointed sooner or later. A psychologist recently told me that commitment issues were so much higher with us than with the previous generation because we never learned how to make compromises in life.
    In many respects, we are pampered. Then again, look at the challenges that we will have to face in the next few decades, on a big picture level!
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  6. #6

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    I agree with this, its my experience of "my generation" too, its not even like its restricted a class of low rent impulsive individuals or family units like it may have been years ago either. I do think its a bad thing and I'd say its one of the most pressing social problems of the age if not the most pressing social problem.

    Why? I think there's a lot of reasons why, although principle I'd blame consumerism and its norms, they want people to remain children and prioritise easy choice rather than commitments, freedom not as autonomy or responsibility but as a lack of consequences, often the predictable consequences of your actions based on obvious experience.

    Its not that consumerism is unnatural or some djinn or genie, its just that the countervailing norms of religion, ideology, even more vague spirituality or philosophy have been steadily eroded and assailed by a variety of opposing forces, some sophisticated, some (and I suspect this is really widespread) a lot, lot less so. A lot of the protest which works in consumerism's favour is pretty much just serving as a cluster of rationalisations, so you get people who consider social sanctions, especially when those same sanctions turn up as their own conscience, a drag dressing their rejection of it as really the most valiant attempt to challenge illegitimate authority, oppression, hating, whatever.

    When I talk about consumerism I'm not just talking about capitalism or moneyed exchanges, although that has a lot to do with it, but much broader strokes, the tendency to objectify others, as objects to hate, exploit, control, coerce, compell, cajole and to reduce them to a means rather than an end and to treat everything, people, animals, shared space or resources, scarce resources, without much thought or consideration or reflection. That goes beyond monied social relations to a lot besides, from the casual cruelty of an internet/online troll to "recreational rioters" or gangs of kids who beat up strangers for fun.

    Its something which is older than and greater than capitalism itself, which I consider a mess of contradictions all by itself, but its really and truly exploded as a cultural cancer in every economy in the world which attempts to approximate as closely as possible the capitalist ideological precepts and expectations.

    Second only to that cultural dry rot I'd consider the endemic ambivalence about aging and the lack of consensus about age which it breeds, kids want to be older than they are, adults want to be younger, a lot of people want to remain in their teens forever, when if they took a step back they might realise it wasnt all it was cracked up to be.

    There is no consensus about age, hence you get people like Peter Thatchell, UK gay/sexual rights, campaigner who is bold enough to campaign against there being an age of conscent or the criminalisation of adolescents or those slightly older who behave in a predatory manner towards their younger peers. This to me is one of the worst developments and will probably leave the world in a worse state than it was in when there existed iron and oppressive precepts about age and aging (not that a return to those norms would be likely to be possible or even preferable, it'd probably reflect contemporaneous concerns or dreams about what they where rather than any objectivity about it).

  7. #7
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    Is tradition being confused with maturity here?

    Traditions sure have changed in the last 50-75 years..

    But as a 42 year old man.. I can tell you, I feel no different than when I was 22 .. One of my best friends is 52 and she is a delight to be around and very youthful. She acts no different than my 30 year old friend.

    What is growing UP? it's just some label that is put on growing old. Behave as you will.. No one said that because you turn 40 that you have to stop playing video games, start listening to Frank Sinatra instead of The Pixies, take up gardening and wait around to die.
    Pure nonsense.
    And anyone under a certain age has aboslutlety no right to tell someone who has reached that certain age , how they should be behaving.

    Like a 20 year old telling me I'm too old to be on the Internet..

  8. #8
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    And then there are some people who have always been old people at heart...
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    Is tradition being confused with maturity here?

    Traditions sure have changed in the last 50-75 years..

    But as a 42 year old man.. I can tell you, I feel no different than when I was 22 .. One of my best friends is 52 and she is a delight to be around and very youthful. She acts no different than my 30 year old friend.

    What is growing UP? it's just some label that is put on growing old. Behave as you will.. No one said that because you turn 40 that you have to stop playing video games, start listening to Frank Sinatra instead of The Pixies, take up gardening and wait around to die.
    Pure nonsense.
    And anyone under a certain age has aboslutlety no right to tell someone who has reached that certain age , how they should be behaving.

    Like a 20 year old telling me I'm too old to be on the Internet..
    You may feel no different but I'd hope and suspect that there is a great deal of difference, cognitive processes, experience contingent insight formation and reflection or consequential thinking I'd wager should be streets ahead of were they were and, while its a pretty individual thing how it develops and what it keeps apace with I'd hope that reason would be trumphing affect more often in their decision making.

    Its not tradition, tradition is just the vehicle by which one generation tries to communicate its learning to another Jr. generation, although it appears to be badly in need of repair that's a different issue, there's a lot of factors militating against individual psychological maturation.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ScorpioINTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Good question. Many have observed this.

    Our parents generation is said to have been the first to grow up in peace and unprecedented prosperity and defined itself through rebellion against the previous one. Ours grew up in an even more priviledged surrounding, but with more freedom and without as much to rebel against. With a culture catering to the young. We can afford to go to college, experiment to find ourselfs and make long term plans, etc without immediately being thrown into the sharks pool. That makes it very tempting to enjoy this freedom for a little longer. Why get a real job, start reading more of the newspaper than just the sports news and the comic strips and maybe start a family if you can continue to flip burgers, watch MTV and do some backpacking in India.

    Of course I'm exaggerating, but I do think that this is a generation that has so many choices it feels paralyzed. At the same time there is an enormous pressure to perform, to get everything right the first time. Why expose yourself to that if you can stay a teenager forever? That might be an avoidance strategy. Also, it might be related to the supposedly increasing number of singles and relationship instability: we often want the impossible and get disappointed sooner or later. A psychologist recently told me that commitment issues were so much higher with us than with the previous generation because we never learned how to make compromises in life.
    In many respects, we are pampered. Then again, look at the challenges that we will have to face in the next few decades, on a big picture level!
    It's so true all you said. I also think there are too many choices in general (for me personally..it can be overwhelming). Just imagine how bad the next generation might be. Kids are so overly protected and spoiled more with each new generation. I had it easy enough as a kid really, but nothing compared to these days. I was well provided for but not spoiled rotten. Now everyone wants their kids in private schools, helmets on bikes, fire teachers for disciplining their kids, make schools responsible for what their kids eat, don't make them exercise, give them cell phones at 4 yrs old and their own ipad/imac/pc. It's getting insane. God forbid they are on a little league team and don't get to play because they suck or they have to lose at some competition or get grades, instead of pass/fail. They will never grow up if they can't ever fend for themselves or fall on their butts. Heck, even adults can't take responsibility for falling face first into a fountain.

    They called the boomers the "me generation", but they got nothing on this one. I see the way kids dress (they stupid baggy pants falling off their butt) and think its time schools go back to uniforms. I'm all for individuality and freedom of expression, but there are plenty of ways to have that and still have some order and decency in group dynamics. I'm not saying it should be like some N. Korean military zombie order, but too much of either extreme is not good.
    I would imagine with all the technology and constant connectivity, it would be weird for us to step back and do grade school/high school with all this change we have in the past decade.

    And you have to also consider that because women are more empowered, educated and compensated than ever, the whole traditional relationship dynamic has completely changed since our parents generation (I'm a Gen Xer though). Men are slowly becoming obsolete (at least in terms of their traditional role in relationships). People live longer too and wait longer to have kids. Almost everyone (a majority anyway) goes to college and/or grad school. I've seen that they have discovered ways to reverse aging in mice now. Just imagine the implications if that ever is applied to humans.

    Divorce is so commonplace and costly, who the hell wants to deal with it? I think having kids makes you really grow up. I don't have any, but I know it would make a major difference on your outlook in life and relationships and makes you much less selfish (in most cases anyway).

    I posted something in another thread along these lines too...people always want to trade up for the latest and greatest....we are bombarded with images and expectations on TV, movies and other media and its all more available than ever. We are very caught up in vanity, consumption and materialism on the whole too as a result. Marriage and relationships are marginalized and disposable like most products we use.

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