The difference a decade makes…

… it amazes me at what a difference a single decade can make; I am referring to age differences. There exists a dramatic discongruity from the 20-somethings of today compared to the 20-somethings of ten years ago. Historically, most 20-somethings aren’t known for their decision making skills and maturity but this generation of 20-somethings seems more profoundly stupid than the generations preceding them. They are a special kind of stupid that we’ve never encountered before.

Take appearance as one example; college-aged-me had a mohawk and played in an all girl punk band. College-aged-me was stupid, sure, yet still had facilities enough to realize that in the long run punk band was not going to pay my bills. Punk band was not a legitimate career. College-aged-punk-band-riot-grrl-me was also intelligent enough to realize tattoos are permanent and had the foresight to understand one day decorum would dictate having tattoos after a certain age looks trashy. So college-aged-me never got full sleeves or a tramp stamp.

I was never of that, seemingly now prevalent, mind set that what I did now would not later have direct affects on my future. I was also grounded in reality enough to known, despite what the feeling based education systems said, I can not grow up to be whatever I want to be. I suffered under no delusions that I was extraordinarily talented or special enough to be exempt from my adult responsibilities.

In as little as ten years, our society has managed to destroy a substantial number of the next generation of college-aged youth by valuing self esteem over hard work and education. So now the majority of 20-somethings of today feel they are more special than the rest of the world and too good for menial work and cube dwelling jobs. Many believe they are uniquely wonderful individuals and the world needs to realize this and treat them accordingly. No wonder they are squatting on Wall Street all pissed and disgruntled. The rest of the world is too busy taking care of their families and adult responsibilities to really give a crap.

So many 20-somethings today think they are owed a livelihood handed to them. They expect the same wages as their parents without the hassle of having to gain job experience or career ladder climbing. Sadly, this group of young people are suffering from a severe disconnect from reality.

Normally I wouldn’t be so concerned. In the past, youth eventually grow up and gain life experiences. Their passion is tamed with the wisdom gained over the course of adulthood. In essence, they grow up.

However, the 20-somethings of today are in a unique position not experienced by previous youths. Social vacuums. Children today have technology that caters to their specific preferences, reinforcing narcissism. They surround themselves with news, media, and like minded individuals that stunts maturity. They are not challenged by different views and exposed to contradictory thinking. They do not evolve.

You can see proof of this in the diminishing presence of adults. We grow old and reach adulthood as evident by the number of candles on our cake but there are fewer and fewer Adults. Grown men and women dress and behave like teenagers and still expect to be cared for by their parents.

20-something me, ten years ago, had friends getting married and starting families. All were working professionals. Many purchased their first homes… all social markers of adulthood. 20-somethings today sneer at the institution of marriage as repressive and having children as burdensome. They have hit no identifying social milestones to indicate they are even thinking about crossing the threshold into adulthood. They have zero ambition.

I don’t have a solution, other than to remark how drastically different young adults are today in comparison to a meager decade ago. I was just stunned how quickly things declined. Then again, it is highly possible I only now notice these generational differences because I was too self centered ten years ago to notice the rest of the world.

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  • Camille

    Funny, I thought I was part of the failure to launch generation – we just hid in grad school, and I’m 40. Oh, we all launched eventually as I’m sure this generation will. Yes, we are letting our children grow up later than we did – compare what you were allowed to do at your sons age… but other than to push against the status quo and let my sons do stuff I know not what to do.

  • 50+

    Maybe it’s the generation who launched them.

  • Sarah

    My friend’s daughter, a recent college graduate and a ~very~ intelligent young woman, turned down a job because she’s not about to be “some guy’s admin whore.” She wants the perfect job with a high salary that is commensurate with everything her wonderful self “deserves.”

  • In my somewhat longer view, there has been a gradual decline in maturity and decision-making skills since about my parents’ generation—40s and 50s—rather than just the 10 years you mention.

  • With such a fantastic confession, I really think it warrants posting pictures. They probably need to be made into prayer cards of some sort.

  • NBW

    Excellent post! I’d like to add I know some late 30’somethings and 40’somethings that act like the 20 year olds. They refuse to take responsibility and grow up.

  • Warren Jewell

    I more or less agree with K.H.Mueller, but go back to the generation that sought out the likes of FDR’s programs and how they raised ‘the greatest generation’.

    One way or another it’s going to happen, that these fools will end up in severe want. But, Saint Paul did say ‘work or starve’ (2Thessalonians 3)
    as a matter of policy.

  • Karen LH

    I’m in my 50s, part of the boomer generation. I’m afraid it started with us.

    • I am a child of a boomer and for the most part we do not feel the sense of entitlement that 20-somethings feel. Does liberalism skip a generation like other genetic disorders? 😉

  • As a college 20-something, I see instances of what you’ve described. However, I would disagree with you that every 20-something is exactly as you describe. You’re putting us all under the same blanket and frankly, I don’t think I fit your view of what “we” are all like.

    I had never been so excited in my life as I was when I found out that I got my minimum-wage, data entry summer job that I luckily still have because there’s a need. I’ve also grown up poor, living off spaghetti-o’s and kool-aid. Several times my family has almost lost the house, and my mother is still suffering from complications related to her neck surgery from one year ago. These and other instances have all taught me the value of the dollar, so I don’t take anything for granted.

    My family and the majority of my friends all value the spirit of volunteerism and charity, and faith & a relationship with Christ are important to us. Especially me.

    Some of my peers do take things for granted and do act as if the world is theirs to own, so I see your frustration. I hope you can see mine.

    • I specifically avoided terms like, “all”, “every” etc so as not to appear to generalize every single 20-something year old on the face of the earth. Many 20 -somethings in Asia are probably preparing for a calculus exam as we speak.

      Of course I know not every 20 year old is hopeless. Good on you for not being part of the problem! Kudos.

  • justamouse

    I think we need pictorial evidence of this Punk Grrl you.

  • Actually I think this started back in the 50’s with the Rock and Roll generation. Steadily since then the whole culture has moved into an idolization of immature youth. Every one wants to be “cool” and you have seventy year old people wanting to be James Dean. Our dress shows the decline; look at pictures from before the sixties, every body dressed as an adult and the goal of youngsters was to “grow up” and dress like grownups. Look at pictures now and you have people in their middle age dressing like teenagers. How ridiculous is a person in well their senior years dressing in shorts, T-shirt and cap and singing “Am a teenager in love”? Think Cary Grant vs Owen Wilson.

  • jcd

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  • moderncomments

    I don’t know. My friends and I are in our late 20s (yikes!), and all of my closest friends from high school are married and all but two of these couples have children. All but two own a house (and we’re on the brink of buying our own). It’s very disappointing to see how hard we worked for what we have and realization there are people out there who think they’re entitled to it simply because they are.

  • tj.nelson

    Were you in that all girl band that was in Serial Mom?

    I’m sure old people everywhere would like to thank you for not blaming it all on the Boomers! Big shout out for losers here! Yayeeeeee!

  • Amdg92

    Actually, “liberal lunacy” at its finest and the beginning of most of our social problems can be traced back to the baby boomers.

    I’m 19 and have not one, but two stable jobs, one of which is in a very professional setting– a law firm. I am living on my own in a town far away ffrom any family, and pay all my own bills. And I’m not the exception to the rule. Most of my friends are working on degrees or working to support themselves. I have several 20-something friends who are married and have a kid or two.

    Just to use the Church as an example, make note of the fact that the demograph most loudly demanding conservatism from the clergy and the liturgy are millenials.

    Also make note of all the middle aged people like yourself who are part of the
    Occupy Wall Street and please, out of respect for the art of journalism, give a little thought to your writing before you make shot-from-the-hip, offensive, uninformed and sweeping generalizations

    • 36 is not middle aged. And please for the sake of wasting my time, read where I intentionally did not indicate the entire generation was lost [here and in the comments]. In the future, might I suggest you read things all the way through and with clear understanding before commenting. If you had a question about my meaning simply ask before making uniformed and sweeping generalizations yourself.

      • Amdg92

        Even so, you painted us far, far too broadly and with very little deep thinking, reflection, or anything insightful. Rather, you just made yourself sound nasty and unthoughtful.

        • Probably as nasty as you sound defensive.

          • Amdg92

            Why shouldn’t I be? I work hard and so do many of the people I know. It’s a bit of a slap for you to assume that we are somehow exceptional.

            But I wouldnt go calling the kettle black. You led your first commentary by addressing an offhanded remark about your age, as if that was the most glaring thing that I said. Yikes.

          • It is my strong opinion that a hard working 20-something is the exception and not the rule. You indignation is directed at the wrong source. Demand more of your generation and then the rest of us will not sink so little of them.

            And don’t flatter yourself, you’ve said nothing contrary or profound enough to be considered a glaring argument.

            I think we are done here, son.

  • Matt

    I do believe that our bourgeois, work-obsessed culture is a horrible, horrible thing. And cubicles are soul-destroyers – I wouldn’t wish a cubicle on the late Archbishop Bugnini.

    Let’s not forget the “insolence of office,” as Hamlet said – one is never far from some successful person or another who loves to force-feed one an excrement sandwich.

    I could keep going, but to keep it short, the protesters are right that the marketplace is an awful, shameful heap of pride and vanity. But because they aren’t Catholic in spirit, they don’t understand that all this doesn’t mean someone else owes them a living, or that they should act in unbecoming ways, or that they should deface their bodies.

    I for one can’t wait to escape the daily fresh hell of my modern American career. In the interim, I get a lot of souls out of Purgatory.

  • I think that the media reinforces the idea that 20-somethings are all just as you described above. I do know some 20-sometings, however, who are hard-working, goal oriented individuals. They are starting careers, planning weddings and purchasing homes. The media only shows us the ones who are at “OWS” and others of that ilk. Take heart, not all 20-somethings are that vapid.