I was reading an interesting article in the New York Times recently that talked about the generational differences between growing up now and growing up "back then". The gist of it all was that those before us grew up a lot faster. There’s probably a lot of merit to that but again, doesn’t it always seem that everything was better in the old days? Crime was less, people were nicer and everyone worked harder? I’m of that useless, unmotivated Gen X crowd and no doubt I’ll be boring my grandkids to death when I’m 75 about how much better we were then than they are now. Oh please, please don’t let me that kind of old lady!
But the article does have some valid points. Back in Gen X’s grandparents' day in America, unless they were working the family farm, people moved out after high school. They got married and set up house at the ages of 19 and 20. Many had completed their families by the time they were 25. They were grandparents by their late 40s and remained in the same job (if they could) until retirement. For many, there were no "careers" and no such thing as "job satisfaction". Satisfaction came from knowing the kids were fed and the mortgage was being paid. Disposable income went into war bonds and other savings and a sense of entitlement was rare. People worked due to need. Debts were paid off and no one filed bankruptcy because they bought a six bedroom home they couldn’t afford or insisted on a wardrobe fit for a (drama) queen.
Lest this all sounds like heaven on earth – it wasn’t. There’s no such thing. Women had few rights, could be fired for getting married or pregnant and the glass ceiling was also a glass front, back and sides. Kids were not spared the rod and life could be stifling, filled with societal rules that we giggle about now.
Fast forward to now – I’m not about to bash my own generation, nor the one after me. We work hard, we have created a world of technology one could only dream of 50 years ago and we know our rights (and the rights of others) and we’re not going to back down in order to get them! But I think we can admit that we also work for our wants, as well as our needs.