Let me begin by saying I think you guys got a shit deal. Like, really bad. And I think anyone who disagrees with this statement is obscenely out of touch with the current political and economic health of this country. But I’m also aware there’s plenty of them out there, heaping scorn on you, adding insult to injury.
We’re talking about a familiar syndrome of course, as old as time. Older people have always dumped on youth culture, but today it’s more septic because it mirrors the selfishness and greed prevalent in contemporary society. Their perceptions are as distorted as the reflections from funhouse mirrors, perceptions warped by their own experience coming of age in a much different America.
Whether younger generations benefit or suffer economically and socially is directly dependent on the actions of those who have preceded them. And even if we older Gen-Xers and Boomers fail to acknowledge or accept it, we let our kids and grandkids down in a big way. If you’re struggling to just to survive, that means we have failed you.
This is at the heart of the matter. No-one likes to admit when they are wrong. This is especially true of some Boomer seniors who feel its beneath them to take responsibility for the world they are leaving their progeny. Is it shame? Pride? Denial? Depends on the person of course, but the outcome is the same — more abuse heaped on our young people that are already dealing with situations that weren't even imaginable to most of us when we were young adults.
I’m 53. My former husband and I had three kids by the time we were in our late twenties. He had a good union job so I could stay home with the kids while they were babies and go to school at night, getting a nursing degree for roughly five grand. We went from paying $700 a month for a two-bedroom in Boston to our own house in the ‘burbs in our early thirties. We were pretty typical of the time.
My parents had it even better. My parents shelled out 90 bucks for the apartment I paid $700 for twenty years later. You didn’t even need two incomes to survive. In fact, the idea would have been outrageous. I remember being the oddball among my friends because both my mother and grandmother worked.
This is a Universe you Millennials can even begin to contemplate.
Wages have stagnated, but the cost of living has not. If you want a college education now, you’re facing debt for the rest of your life. Gentrification and the accompanying sky-high rental rates have decimated cities across the country and forced families from their homes, many who have lived in the same neighborhoods for generations. Most people cannot afford good quality healthcare and you, our kids, are suffering from -and dying from - unnecessary causes that could’ve been easily treated.
It’s awful and heartless and ignorant to blame you guys for the shit show you were handed and then dismissively tell you to make the best of it. It shows a disturbing lack of moral responsibility on the part of those who came before you.
Like that Applebees nonsense. You aren’t killing Applebees. How ludicrous. Applebees is dying because Applebees sucks. Millennials are dying because we suck.
When we’re gone, the Boomers and the X-ers, you guys will be left with a dying environment and a nation in tatters if something doesn’t change pronto. But change can and is happening. Young people are proving this every day with their ever-growing activism and involvement in politics.
You’ve got a real mess to contend with, but you’re smart, and you’re motivated, and you are legion. Strength in numbers. You have it. Use it.
And remember — there are plenty of us geezers who really do care what kind of a world we leave behind, and will continue to do everything in our power to help mop up this mess before you take the reins yourselves.
And you’ll do great.
Here’s looking at you, kids.