Why Millennials Don't Have The Good Things In Life
Start writing a post
Student Life

Why Millennials Don't Have The Good Things In Life

Youth's nostalgia for decades past is more than just a fashion statement

17
Why Millennials Don't Have The Good Things In Life
youtube

Have you ever wondered if you were born in the wrong generation? Does your music taste herald from a time when electronic synths didn’t dominate the mainstream market? Or do your polaroid littered walls hint at a past where memories were somehow more physical? It seems that the aforementioned are increasingly common sentiments, especially amongst millennials who have known little of a life without modern technology, but for some reason yearn for it.

Record players, polaroid cameras, rotary phones, and bell bottoms crowd the isles of popular stores, as antiquated technology and fashion has become the standard for hip. There is some overwhelming sense of wistful romanticism, for a past never experienced, that is permeating our youth culture. Why? Myself being no exception, it seems that there is a widely held desire to return to some other time, one that was maybe simpler, and assuredly slower. There’s an unsettling feeling of homesickness, not for a home, or even a personal past, but for some other way of life. And it’s a realization I only just came to.

To start at the beginning of this gradual realization would be impossible. But, in an attempt to contextualize my epiphany, its important to note that I have always idealized the past, the 60’s and 70’s, when things seemed to just be different. Thus, my reaction to a favorite band of mine’s latest music video was entirely normal. The video, partially shot using a 16 millimeter camera, had instantly transported me into a different world, one I’ve often experienced on account of the record collection lying next to my bed, the polaroid photos plastered to my wall, and hit T.V. shows like HBO’s Vinyl, but never quite captured. Its the world of a time long past, so cinematically displayed in the music video, that I inexplicably long for, but have never been able to attain. As I sat on my couch with my computer in my lap, my headphones in my ears, and my smart phone in my hand, watching the music video again and again and again, my attraction to the grainy frames seemed to, for once, make sense:

The technology that has eased contemporary life has not come without a price.

The world of the music video, of cassette players, of 8-tracks and film, was one in which people lived free from the bondage of the innumerable technological devices of today, and their promises of happiness and ease. As someone who rarely leaves the house without her smart phone, I am not condemning the wonders that modern technology has given us, but rather for the first time really noticing the cost they demand. The smart phones forever at our side allow us instantaneous connection with anyone in the world, through call, text, email or the internet. But with this, they hold us captive to anything that may beckon. Without regard to our location, schedule, or responsibilities, our phones incessantly interrupt our dealings and demand our attention. We halt the physical and present to answer the call of someone, somewhere else, as the constant barrage of notifications we receive seem impossible to ignore. So often, a table of friends is not truly a group of people conversing, but a distracted cluster of people preoccupied with the ever-accessible happenings of someone, somewhere else. In the chase for progress, people have determined that a screen is worthy of more eye contact than the people they are with.

The technological progress of today has long been criticized for making the young generations lazy, and there’s merit to that claim. The internet we often tuck in our pockets has stifled the need for creativity. The instant gratification of knowing anything at anytime has robbed us of our patience. The social media networks we create for ourselves disillusion us as to our friends and their well-beings. We are trapped by self-doubt and a pattern of comparing ourselves to others, unable to determine our own interests and self-worth outside of the standards our friends, society and media create. The leisure time technology promised never arrives, and life rushes by in an eternally busy haze.

The “progress” that changes our lives is not a new happening, but one as old as technology itself. The plight of the working man today mirrors that detailed in the 1969 novel, Henry and The Great Society. The book explores the life of a simple farmer named Henry. He lived with his loving wife and children, on the family-owned farm, in a town with no electricity, roads, or shopping centers. And they lived perfectly content. Technology though, soon came to Henry’s rewarding life and he was guaranteed ease, luxury, and happiness if he only bought the latest advancements; microwaves, freezers, automobiles and more. As Henry bought each new piece of technology, which undoubtedly eased some aspect of someone’s life, he lost something. He lost himself. The microwave that so hastened meal preparation enabled his wife free time to shop in a nearby town, though it left Henry alone with frozen dinners night after night. Days Henry used to spend blissfully working on his farm were now marked by constant phone calls that demanded action and tore him away from his responsibilities. Henry’s beloved overalls were deemed embarrassing, worn and dirty in light of the tailored suits worn by the new city men who paraded through town in their sports cars. Despite his efforts, Henry was unable to resist the “great society” of progress and advancement, and in the hunt for “the good things in life,” Henry lost the very things that had made his life good.

The fabled tale of Henry is tragic, mainly because it is a painful reality for many even today. Americans across the country find themselves in debt and drowning in the stress of second jobs and mortgages, all because they want to provide the “good things in life” for their loved ones. Families who generations ago sat around the fire trading stories, now do little more than sit around a television set together. The artists of yesterday who devoted themselves to their craft have been replaced with auto-focus cameras, photoshop, and heartless electronics. In a time where so few things require genuine work, the work never seems to end.

No matter how idyllic we may paint the past to be, the luxuries and conveniences of the present are often too alluring to abandon. The technology we can’t live without has become exactly that; fundamental extensions of our being and identity. Objects that enable the communication and knowledge that those before us lived happily without are impossible to resist, and supposedly the only ways to achieve success and joy. As was the case with our dear Henry, it seems that the dismal reality of life is that every bit of progress we embrace costs us a bit of ourselves. Perhaps that wistful longing, crippling nostalgia and eternal homesickness are just the prices we have chosen to pay. Maybe once in a while we can leave our phones behind, and if even for a moment, be one step closer to the life we lost.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Because self confidence is sexy

And as a woman, I want us all to love ourselves a little bit more today.

2046

Women have such high standards to live up to today. We’re expected to do and be so much. The great Tina Fey said “Every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes." This quote is not only hilarious, but also incredibly true! How many of you feel insecure every time you walk on campus, or every time you walk into a party? Even the girls you think are perfect are insecure. Everyone has flaws. Sure some flaws may be more exaggerated than others, but that doesn’t mean that the girl still feels bad about them. My point here is that it doesn’t matter how “perfect” you are, what matters most is how “perfect” you feel.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the dawn of social media comes an entirely new character: the Facebook politician. Usually, articles or posts about politics are fairly sporadic. That is until a major event happens. Suddenly, everyone knows everything about everything. Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion. Everyone is super knowledgeable, and what better vessel of information than they themselves? Which is pretty reasonable, given that people’s emotions run high when something major happens. And I don’t blame them, emotions are good!

Keep Reading... Show less
Sports

The Gift Of Basketball

The NBA playoffs remind me of my basketball journey through time

5379
Syracuse Basketball

I remember that when I was very little, my dad played in an adult basketball league, and I remember cheering him on with everything in me. I also remember going to Tuscola basketball games when the old floor was still there and the bleachers were still wooden. I remember always wanting to play basketball like my dad, and that's just what I did.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Plus Size Appreciation: How I Learned To Love My Body

Because it is okay to not be "skinny."

6202
www.hm.com

In America, we tend to stick up our noses at certain things that aren't the norm. For example, people who are overweight, or the politically correct term “obese." Men and women who are overweight get so much backlash because they are not skinny or "in shape," especially, African-American women, who are typically known for having wider hips and thicker thighs. Robert Darryl, an African-American filmmaker, explains the overall intention of the body mass index in his follow-up sequel, “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

It's More Than Just A Month

Mental Awareness reminds you that it's always darkest before the dawn.

6250
Wordpress
Odyssey recognizes that mental well-being is a huge component of physical wellness. Our mission this month is to bring about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community. Let's recognize the common symptoms and encourage the help needed without judgement or prejudice. Life's a tough journey, we are here for you and want to hear from you.

As the month of May begins, so does Mental Health Awareness Month. Anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder, eating disorders, and more affect millions of people in the United States alone every year. Out of those affected, only about one half seek some form of treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments