Perhaps it was not so different for older generations, but being youth now is just about the hardest thing one can be. Whether or not one decides to be focused or ignorant, they still end up laying in bed really frustrated about their lives. And the frustration is mostly because no ones seems to understand us. No one understands why we are like this; why we think the way we do, why we do what we do, say the things we say etc.
I am Gen Z, born of Gen X parents. I live in a time when the world is moving at such a great speed that sometimes it feels like we are not moving at all. Like we are in a plane that’s clocking 925 km/h but when we look outside the window, we seem to be moving at 80km/h. Of course, some people are being left behind, like our baby boomer uncles and our silent generation grandmothers. But even some of us 20-something year olds are having a hard time keeping up. Some of us are equipped to ran faster than the pace of the world, others ran with the pace of the world and others need a little bit of boost to keep up. Roller skates, or the shoes that Eluid Kipchoge rans with.
It doesn’t help that we are seen as rebels. Clueless rebels. To everyone else, we never seem to know what we are doing, despite doing it with high energy. I imagine that we are seen as headless chicken, running around spurting blood (read ‘nonsense’) before our eventual let up. Our ideas are usually too inexperienced to be considered. We are the people who are told “You’ll understand one day, you just wait” and “What do you know, you’re just… what…?21??” And it is true. We obviously do not have enough experience in many things because we were born later. But we don’t make the faces other generations make when they 1st hear about bitcoin. We also certainly work social media as if we had phones in our mother’s wombs and we take better selfies and we can feed ourselves by selling things to our friends. There are things we can do, and others we can improve on with personalised guidance.
Some people opine that we are emotionally unstable and immature. Like moody cats. That we purr and claw away at everyone and everything spontaneously. In our defence, I should like to point out that we were not born with this behaviour. We must have acquired it – and at this point, please help me wonder – from whom? When we are not displaying unhinged tendencies, then we are too mature for our ages, and this is dangerous because we might skip a phase. Skipping a phase causes people to say to you words not unlike “Act your age.”
We can all agree, Gen Z people are not known to be very patient. But what are we waiting for when the world is moving at 925km/h? A few days ago, one had to appear at job interviews physically, these days, one can have a job interview from whatever corner of the world that they happen to be in. 10 years ago, fully electric and driverless cars were a thing in the abstraction of fiction but now, now you can actually buy a Tesla Model S and update its systems as if it were a mobile phone. Yesterday we had Youtube, today we have Tiktok; we watched Citizen Tv, KTN and Cartoon Network, these days we Netflix and Chill. The only thing I have not seeing futurists talk about is the future of forks, but I am sure someone is working late to shock us. My point is, with all these changes – changes that are affecting us – how does one manage to be patient? Mustn’t one keep up?
Before you give an answer, let me dwell on patience a little bit. According to research done by Pew Research, majority of young people (Gen Zers and Millennials) think that same sex marriages are good for society. We tend to be more open-minded – a trait that causes people of certain generations to pace around not so much unlike how impatient people do.
Of course I will mention that we are the generation whose kids might not know the difference between a jungle and a forest. We are the generation that is going to really feel (and is already feeling) the effects of global warming and climate change. We are the ones who will forever be thankful to NatGeo and Discovery World for capturing footage of some animal and plant species that will not exist by the time we are 60. We will inherit oceans that miss having fish swimming in them. We, and the generations after us, are the ones who will be competing with machines serve people in restaurants.
We seem to live in a constant state of transition. Transitions have an element of chaos (if you don’t believe me, refer to when your Country held an election). So we live in a chaotic time. And perhaps it is why we, Gen Zers, love to escape it all. Perhaps it explains why we are plagued with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Maybe it is why drink as if we get paid for it and abuse drugs and have lots of unsafe sex and HIV and STIs and unplanned pregnancies and abortions that mess us up even more. And because all these things cost money and we are financially illiterate and there are no jobs and the government (just like everyone else) takes us for granted, we end up in crime. And because the wages of sin is death sometimes the wage is so high we end up paying it with our lives, and if not suicide then we are shot by cops and if we are lucky we end up in jail. So… it’s not easy being youth now.
It is not all gloom, though. I estimate that if God will not have sent His Son to pick His kids from school, then we might be the generation that takes vacation on mars and the moon, and perhaps AirBnB will have set up some cosy places for us to chill from. We will be the generation that travels in Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and Aeromobil’s flying cars. Our access to and experience of healthcare is already significantly better than the previous generations – and it is getting better. It is worth mentioning that we are more educated compared to our parents, and our experiences of leisure are better. I am not sure whether our governance systems will be better – seeing that majority of the people currently exercising their freedom of speech and freedom to assembly are mostly youth – but there is hope.
The point of all these words is: Gen Zers might be different, but we are worth paying attention to. Listen to what we are saying by way of words or by way of action. Consider that you have wrong perceptions of us and then observe. And for those who try put an argument to sleep by saying “I was once there…” or “Been there done that…” I challenge you to reflect on the differences of the times when you were there and now that we are here.
I also wrote this award-winning piece – If