At 81 I would not trade places with the youth of today. Mostly, I just liked when I grew up better than today's world. Read on to see why....
As we age, how often do we hear the words: "Oh, to be young again". A variation on that statement is G. B. Shaw's famous remark: what a pity that: "Youth is wasted on the young."
Well, let me disagree with Shaw. I will come straight to the point. I am thrilled that (at age 81) I grew up in the period and years that I did. Moreover, I personally would not relish being young at this time in the history. Not only are the challenges of the future daunting, but the personality and milieu of our planet has changed. And, (to me) not for the better.
Technology is mostly to blame, and while it has brought us incredibly valuable tools and conveniences, it has also depersonalized society in a way that is not comfortable or congenial.. Additionally, today's technology has speeded up life to an uncomfortable level.
But two even greater threats to the future -- and today's young -- are global warming and diminishing resources. Sure, folks in most of our country this past miserable winter would probably answer to global warming -- bring it on! But that is not the point, Forgetting the cause, global warming is clearly changing our planet in ways that may be dangerous...even disastrous. It is a serious challenge today's youth will have to deal with.
Even more ominous is the threat of diminishing resources, particularly energy and food. Regarding energy, despite the fact that we now seem to be awash in oil and gas, the fact is both are finite resources. With a 50 year or even 100 year supply at our current level of consumption, the last barrel of oil to leave the ground will be so expensive, it will likely be displayed in the Smithsonian. The question then is, will people be able to get there to see it?
As regards food, with 7+ Billion people on earth today -- and growing by the second with another Billion added in the next 10 years -- food in many places is already scarce. Exacerbating that is the reduction of arable land, water considerations, and yet unforeseen crop issues.
Meanwhile, let me explain why I (and others of my age) were so lucky growing up when we did. My ode to the old. To start with, I was born in the Depression, and the birth rates were exceptionally low. Consequently as my generation moved through the educational process, classes were small and we got extra attention.
Food was plentiful; and there was no such thing as "organic." Everything grown was organic. And it all seemed to taste better too. Pollution? While notably many cities have cleaned up their air, worldwide pollution is far greater than anything I knew.
When we wanted to communicate with folks, there was no such thing as "texting". We actually CALLED , or more often, went to their house to TALK. It was slower, but perhaps nicer. In the same way, families seemed stronger, more bonded, and closer both geographically and emotionally. Ease of travel and career mobility have their advantages, but at a cost.
And speaking of careers, loyalty between employer, employee, and customers was much stronger (and secure) than now. I was in the advertising business for 45 years; with my best clients remaining with me for decades. Nowadays, in similar businesses, that kind of longevity is unheard or at least rare.
Ah, but then there is love. Here I must invoke my favorite singer: Frank Sinatra. Sinatra sang of both young love and old love. He extolled young love with "Hello, young lovers"; but later came to realize "Love is lovelier the second time around." So it often is!
There are two other significant advantages to being elderly rather than young. First, you get senior discounts on virtually everything nowadays. More importantly, folks think you are smart -- well at least sage and wise. That can last for quite a while. Then of course the old Abe Lincoln quote kicks in: "you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
Now you know why I pity the young...and relish the era in which I was privileged to live in. Given that, I have no desire to be young again. Well... maybe just a few years!