Here’s an unpopular opinion: we’re too damn comfortable. Not all of us. Who’d want to be an Aboriginal in outback Australia? A single mum? And so on... But on the whole, as a nation? Bleh. It’s really going to fuck up our future.
This well-offness. This content.
Don’t get me wrong, in bitching and moaning, as a nation, we’re No.1! 1st World problems? We got ‘em by the truckload!
My download speed is shit.
The louts left a mess in the park!
My neighbour’s a Liberal.
My neighbour’s a Labour.
My God! How long does it take to get to work?
Spiders are icky!
There was a bush fire, who’s to blame, blame, blame?!
But we have a real problem. Kids are staying at home until their 27! This may seem like a giggle, and it sorta is. It may seem like a rant, and shit, I give them out like a clown does ham. But it may seem like bitterness and it isn’t.
It’s a passionate cry.
My dot town is full of 26 year old boys who have never had to grow up. They drink like 16 year olds trying too hard to be men, fight like it, talk like it, blow their money like it, then call their mums to pick them up because they’ve all lost their licence.
That’s the giggle part.
I’m blessed, between my bush and city trades, with a cross-mix of iGeneration friends. Oodles, from all walks. And ask them, time and again, politely, with genuine curiosity, why stay at home? My gen couldn’t wait to leave the nest, to prove themselves. Pride was worth a lot. Rebellion. “I am my own man!” we’d cry, storming out the door. Stupid kids. In hindsight, I’m surprised we could hear ourselves over the echo of our parents yelling the same thing 30 years before.
But, yes, we rebelled, we forged our own paths. And when we fell, often Mum and Dad were there. And, whether they were or not, we were tempered.
The iGen tell me, time and again:
By staying at home I can afford to go to Europe/Asia/India/America.
I can afford to study, then go to Europe/Asia/Idia/America.
It sets, I suspect, a bad pattern, such shallow goals. Of not questioning, of not rippling. Of adopting your parents years-tempered content with day-to-day routine. Of having their lack of desire or energy to rock the boat. Of need for change. I mean, you’re under the same roof as them, you have to get along.
That’s the shit part.
This comfort, it denies youth genuine stories. Travel is great entertainment, but it is shallow. Music festivals are a goddamn blast! I still love them! But most bigger ones are well choreographed, tightly organised events. They have as much adventure, spontaneity, originality as watching Rage on tv. Sorry.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
It’s true. Travel? So what? DO something! BUILD something! FIGHT for something! I just don’t care how wasted you got in India, or how cool the other backpackers in Europe were.
And Triple J, the voice of youth, is about as rebellious, original, subversive as warm chicken soup. Like the festivals, like the travel, it appeases.
Like all of these things, the structure is sound. The platform is there. But it’s all soft. All pre-programed. None of it is spontaneous, like being on your own at 18 is. None of it is adventurous. None of it involves real work, or challenging the way things are. Or the sweat, scary uncertainty of not knowing where your life might next lead. Long term, or short term, these things tip you on your head, and make you see the world in new ways. And help you re-evaluate your morals, if not check if they’re there. They help you be honest and real, rather than spout from safety zones. They make you individuals.
Every generation should challenge the way things are.
I know the irony is I sound like the previous generation by saying this. That the iGeneration’s rebellion was in staying home, was found in the comfort of status-quos. But a society that doesn’t change, doesn’t grow. It’s like a body with blood that won’t flow.
Quick, while they’re young! Youth should shake at pillars, try to reinvent worlds!
Make things better, if only by making them different. There’s no mass market for this generation’s rebellious authors, or movie makers, or musicians, or even politicians. Why rock the boat? We’re well fed until approaching our thirties. Well distracted, then we slip, easy, numbly, into our own home and not being young anymore.
The still air of it, the lack of rollercoaster, is denying us character, and spiritually dooming us to banality and the superficial social conscious of clicking ‘like’ on Facebook for our pet social causes.
Nothing will change. Spiritually, morally, creatively. Well, at least until the nation’s money runs dry.
Then we’ll hear whining like we never have before.