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July 12, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Generation Y[ise] Beyond Their Years

By Anne Christen More Blogs by This Author

Wisdom Is Wasted on the... Young?

When I reflect on my youth, I realize how small my world was. It consisted of good grades, sports, and family. My parents never traveled and didn’t encourage my sister and me to do so, which meant I didn’t have interest in anything beyond my backyard. We were sheltered, so I wasn’t familiar with the cruel natures some people have. And I am naturally unsophisticated, meaning I didn’t have enough sense to broaden my horizons until I was much older.

The only knowledge I have of youth has come from my past. Neither my sister nor I have children, and I’ve not spent much time with younger people to learn their attitudes and habits. But I have had the privilege to meet some young people recently and am pleasantly surprised by their behavior.

I was pretty naive as a kid, which may or may not have been the norm for my generation. Kids today are incredibly wise, not in the way that age brings, but in the way they understand people and the world. They don’t have much life experience, but they know almost instinctively that humans are never completely good or completely bad. “That guy is a jerk,” my friend’s son says, “but I hate giving him that label because he’s helpful. He isn’t pleasant to be around because he has such a negative view of the world. But he’s always the first to help somebody move or to loan his truck for someone to use.”

A Healthy Perspective

Also, young people today are far more health conscious than I was. My boyfriend’s sons and their circle of friends watch what they eat on a daily basis. “Just cottage cheese for me,” one of them will say. “I ate a hamburger yesterday and need to be more conscientious today.” They never drink pop and avoid fast food restaurants at all costs. It’s a miracle some of them eat hamburgers at all, because many are self-proclaimed vegetarians. To match their healthy eating habits, these individuals exercise regularly and consider it a natural part of life rather than a chore. Some have even completed full marathons because, as they put it, their health is all they have.

Today’s twenty-somethings are also more socially responsible. They care about the welfare of animals and regularly advocate on their behalf by writing letters to PETA and various animal shelters. Homelessness is another issue with which they are concerned. Several of them volunteer at fundraisers to increase awareness. They speak vehemently against those who don’t share their concerns and do not easily suffer fools who claim to be ignorant of those less fortunate in this world.

Youthful Exuberance

What this generation doesn’t seem to care about is financial or material wealth. They drive old cars and scoff at name brand clothing. Many still live with their parents and seem quite content to continue doing so. They are not driven by ambition to excel in their careers, but instead seem more interested in making the world a better place.

The young people of today are compassionate and forward thinking, but singularly innocent as well. They follow politics but don’t have personal checking accounts. Their grasp of technology is second-to-none, yet they have no idea how to handle minor car repairs. They want to travel but don’t care about maintaining a home. They are as different as could be from my generation, and as I continue to meet people in their late teens and early 20s, I realize they are far more interesting. This group might even be able to teach older generations a thing or two.

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