Don’t be a generation-ist

Emily LiskoBefore I graduated from high school, it was tradition that we would receive a little present from our past: eighth grade portfolios. These giant binders were filled with poetry, writing assignments, pictures, and other keepsakes that we felt, back in eighth grade, described us. Pretty much every one of us had that moment when we opened up the front cover.

Was I really this annoying? Why did I ever think that was cool? I would’ve kicked my own ass.  This is a pretty natural reaction, and part of me thinks it was the school’s way of taking us Big Bad Seniors down a peg before heading off to the “real world,” and I think it kind of worked.

I think the more time passes, the easier it is to romanticize things from our past, which can be a good or bad thing. I’m sure I’m not alone when I get excited about hearing a song that I haven’t heard in forever come on, or see that Third Rock from the Sun came on Netflix. It’s the reason I own We’re Back and Drumline on DVD. We crave the things that meant something to us from our childhood, even if they’re shitty.

The problem that I see coming from this is there is a huge generational divide. It seems like every generation thinks every younger generation is going downhill. The phrase “kids these days” is older than the oldest people using it.

None of this is new, but the thing people fail to realize is something that you think is meaningful from your childhood, isn’t inherently meaningful to everyone. Land Before Time movies, may be cool to you, but they may be super lame to kids that are watching How To Train Your Dragon, and that’s okay.  It’s fascinating to me that my fellow 20-somethings are caught saying things like “I feel so old!” because their younger sibling doesn’t know who Missy Elliot is.  My parents don’t understand why the President went on YouTube.  Their parents don’t understand rap, and their parents didn’t understand rock ‘n’ roll.  On and on it goes.

It seems to me that we could all stand to realize none of these mediocre movies, music artists, TV shows, etc. are inherently that great. They’re great to us because of the time in our lives that they affected us.

I guess my point is, I think all generations could benefit by being a little more open to things from outer generations.  Investigate some older music or movies.  Be open to new music.

Show respect to elders, but also don’t expect respect from those younger than you by not showing any in return.  And most of all, be understanding of the younger generation.  Go ahead and try to remember how you were when you were younger, and realize that the world isn’t doomed.

Don’t be a generation-ist.

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