This Generation & That Generation

Came across an interesting ‘clichéd‘ conversation about “this generation” – the present 20’s and 30’s. It’s a usual sound when 2 people of “that generation” – the present 40’s and 50’s talk. They can go on and on digging what all is wrong with “this generation“. Having been listening to them for quiet a while,  I tried to reason the reasons behind all the rising decibels whenever this topic gets teased.

The usual complaint  talk is that “this generation” is lazy, procrastinating, couch potatoes, lethargic, irresponsible, not futuristic, not careful, immature, impatient, materialistic, disrespectful, spendthrifts………..The list is in every sense endless. Everything about “this generation” is not right. Habits. Manners. Thinking. Approach. Posture. Lifestyle. Priorities.

Well, not all the complaints perceptions are wrong. I agree that “this generation” is not as active as the earlier one which sits and analyses this one. They may not be as level footed and steady as the earlier one that sits and criticizes this one. “This generation” may not be so patient and futuristic as the previous one who can argue why this one is not right in this matter.

I think I can explain something about why “this generation” is like this. “This generation” grew up in a world which changed very fast. What is in hype today is utter obsolete tomorrow. The level at which “this generation” competes was unimaginable in “that generation’s” age. Not justifying, but one of the reasons why “this generation” appears lazy is because their minds are overworked. Yes, physical activity is important and they are now getting to know the importance of it thanks to the social network hype that is focusing on it, “this generation” doesn’t actually ‘need’ to be as physically robust as the older one. Mixer grinders and online shoppings have made lives a bit more comfortable and gives some room to be at ease. But after a nerve wrecking, never ending deadline chase, whats wrong in idling about watching tv, laptop, or just nothing? And remember, most of them have arm and leg moving hobbies like cycling, trekking, jogging and well, playing video games.

“This generation” seems to be not able to tolerate any kind of patience. Not their fault. Why? Because in this now-here-not-there times, patience is not as much a desired quality as it used to be. There is a basic level of impatience required to get results. Fast. Quick. Now. Because there is no time to delay or ponder over things which can be done in *snap* *snap*. Again, not denying the importance of patience, but “this generation” knows at some level where to use the limited patience they have been bestowed upon with. Executing a software code. Waiting for your turn at the interview. Sitting all throughout the 3hr exam. Waiting at traffic signals. Waiting till the next episode of sitcom is released. They have all the right to be in a hurry while shopping, or at the billing counter, or fidgeting with the cell phone  those 2 FULL minutes while the coffee is getting ready in the microwave.

They appear to be procrastinating. But watch carefully. They do things on time. Be it the last minute. They make it. This can be seen as delaying and careless and also as decent judgement and plan. They delay because they know that they will make it in the end, and in time. Not taking sides, but my observation says that “this generation” is far more efficient than “that generation”.  They have been so used to chasing deadlines, that unless there is that pressure, it is not considered urgent enough. And well, they also go by ‘their’ own adage of, ” If you postpone it, you might not have to do it altogether”. Why waste time doing something which might be outdated the minute you complete it?

Are they not futuristic? No, that’s not the case. Far from it. The needs and demands of “that age” were different from what the world demands from “this generation” now. Having a job, family, raising kids, being complacent was deemed enough then. Now, apart from all those, having a secure job, the fear of being kicked out anytime, being one step ahead of your colleagues, striving to be better each day and everywhere are must haves to survive. A fresh graduate will spend each penny s/he earns because they know that they have to watch their incoming-outgoing balance when they ‘have’ to settle down. And they also seem to know at some level that the penny pinching habit would not have a reasonable effort:benefit ratio. Why? The rate at which things are getting expensive and the plummeting value of money, doesn’t make it wise to save money today by sacrificing something that would  be 10 times more expensive and 20 times less attractive tomorrow. They can’t be branded wrong in trying to make quick bucks when the prices are rocketing with each blink. So what’s wrong in spending money today that gives immediate joy, instead of saving up that money that would not have much value tomorrow? Having said that, it should also be considered that, a basic level of savings is important, and over gratification is not good for health. There is a possibility of dry days (remember inconsiderate throat slashing competition and insecure jobs),  and when saved money would be respected and thanked for not having been spent on that 15th pair of pretty shoes or the latest video game console or another crazy never-to-be-talked about nightout.

The worst is tagging them disrespectful. “This generation” does respect the earlier ones. Absolutely. But having been taught freedom of expression, liberal thinking, logical analysis, and the curiosity to question and reason makes them question the age old ways which were religiously followed without an utter by the older generation. The audacity to inquire into everything that they come across makes them look disrespectful. They don’t want to be tied down by the do’s and don’ts. They are just curious creatures. If Columbus had not ventured out, the america today might have been uncontacted amazon tribe. They believe in figuring out their own rules, customs, superstitions and lucky charms. Also, they do not have the time to practice in detail all the must do’s of prehistoric times. They will question it and show their nonacceptance but when needed (absolutely needed) they do all that is required with all the patience which is questioned every time they sit and every time they stand. They do all the time consuming, irritating, illogical rituals when needed (absolutely needed) without a flinch or cringe. Why? Because they respect “that generation’s” ways and do not want to upset “that generation”. They will fake it till they make it. Why? It makes more sense to just to that rather than reason with “that generation” who are outright stubborn and inflexible (in perception). Expecting them to believe what you believe in, in “that generation’s” absence? Haha! Dream on. Like I said, they will fake it till they make it.

Their habits too are too bizarre for “that generation” to understand. Sleeping till noon, skipping breakfast, eating junk, not socializing, getting irritated or excited about things and situations beyond their comprehension. Well, they had their brains churning all throughout the night when “the older generation” was snoring away in the cool breeze of mellow nights.  They prefer working through the night in the same mellow sedating calm, away from the unavoidable rantings and disturbance that interferes every time they breathe. They can sleep in broad daylight when they want, and can also work with equally enthused minds in the wee hours when needed. I think its time “that generation” appreciates the flexibility with which “this generation” is able to work. Alright. There are arguments of regular sleep wake cycle, getting sunlight, being active, good habits, sleeping in the night, health and the synonyms. There have been studies and researches about all these issues and yes, I would agree to all of those and think there should be a balance between sleeping during the day and in the night(dark). But again, the competition is such that there is no time to think about all this. One deadline after the other makes “this generation” the way it is today.

Socializing. “That generation” can’t stop complaining about “this generation’s” indifference towards socializing. This generation doesn’t interact, doesn’t listen, doesn’t socialize = doesn’t respect others. Well! One, when the only topic of discussion is how bad “this generation” is, or when every discussion ends up there, there is not much inclination towards sitting and talking to “that generation” when classical conditioning has taught them that this is where the discussion would lead to sooner or later.  So aversion is but natural. Two, they want to be in constant touch with like minded people, because they can do that now. The constant comparison about “we were not like this” doesn’t hold much ground because there was no option to do so. “This generation” minds its own business when in trains or buses or flights because they have been taught to be careful and not to talk to strangers, and to be careful, and not to divulge personal information to people you don’t know. Friendly chats in public transport with random strangers was popular back then because there was no other option to kill time during travel, and not so popular now because it’s not a compulsion. “This generation” would talk when they find the company interesting, else they are fine on their own. They are no more obliged to tolerate boring stories of painful co-passengers. Phew! A book, headphones, or mobile. They can keep themselves entertained, the way they like. Comes out rude, but hello, who gives a damn!

So I guess instead of amusing themselves with how wonderfully, maturely, calmly, and respectfully “that generation” dealt with situations and people, they should see the world the way it is today, and understand the infinite distance the demands have been separated by. And “this generation” instead of getting pissed and irritated at the nonstop shower of criticism should understand what “that generation” is talking about, and why. There comes a rebellious point after the constant, incessant, buzzing sounds of suggestions of the critics, where anything and everything uttered is put in the ‘ignore’ list, despite knowing that there might be some sense in paying heed to it, and some good will come.  So instead of all this you-this-you-that analysis, it would be in everyones benefit to understand the other side.

Why doesn’t “that generation” sit and discuss among themselves what problems this generation faces, and how they can help “this generation” manage its time better? How about “this generation” get “that generations” perception on issues they need help and wisdom with?  And how about “that generation” approach the problems afresh without starting off their mythological tales of how heroically they dealt with stuff? Why not there be less of judgement about people and more of judgement about the changing dynamics of complicated demands? And “this generation” don’t forget that there is another one coming right behind you which is going to be even more impatient, unorganized, immature, lazy, and lethargic.

Every generation thinks that it is more intelligent that the previous one, and wiser than the next one.

Do we want to put the intelligence in making the next one wise, and the wisdom in making the previous one intelligent? Or do we want to just rant off the same intelligence and wisdom? Choice is ours!!


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