So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Neverland Generation

this morning as i walked down market street to the office, passing hoards of old men and women in suits, i found myself wondering if there will come a day when i'm that old man.

will i wake up some morning and suddenly be a balding, old lawyer, with a 38-inch waistline and an affinity for scotch? is it only a matter of time before i become a part of the older generation, or is the generation gap so wide that i will never cross it? --rather, that WE will never cross it?

i posit that there's something different about our generation. whether it's a flaw, a blessing, or a neutral cultural phenomenon, our generation refuses to grow up.

you know, i'm not far from 30. that was difficult to type... i need a second to stare at that...

okay, i'm good. i'm almost 30. as i near the big 3-0, my life is nothing like the life our parents led when they were 30. at that age, my mother had 2 children, multiple jobs, an overwhelming mortgage, and a big lawn that needed to be mowed on weekends. and here am i: still renting, still in school, with no mortgage or car payment. my biggest monthly expense is my cell phone bill, which my mom pays (OK, i know, that's kinda pathetic. i just... never changed the billing address :-). don't even get me started on children! though i have come a long way by keeping my catticus alive for almost 2 years now.

and it's not just me! i know plenty of "adults" who lead lives that are strikingly similar to mine. professionals, attorneys, people in their mid- to late 30's who still spend their weekends playing Guitar Hero and going for long bike rides and getting way too drunk at happy hours and professional networking functions.

as i sat at my desk at work, being productive as usual, i found myself pondering this phenomenon. so i started discussing the topic with my buddy patrick. actually, he brought it up by mentioning the fact that we're almost 30. when i told him my theory on our Neverland Generation, he concurred in part.

"i don't know what age i am," patrick shared. "teenagers look like little kids to me, but at work I still feel inferior to the adults... and my little bro looks at us like we're ancient, and my parents look at me like I'm 12..."

whereas patrick thinks this phenomenon is exacerbated by urban living, i think it's a cultural shift. on one hand, he's right that city-dwellers who are chasing financial success have a different focus, a different way of viewing the world. but all across the country there are 30-somethings wasting their evenings playing video games (case in point: my older brother) and partying like they're still 21.

we're the generation that will contribute $300 to a pair of jeans before we'll contribute it to our 401K. we're the yuppies who work hard and play hard, rather than just working hard and resting, like our forefathers dreamed of. at the end of the day, i think we're innately different from those fat, old lawyers we see on the street.

we didn't get to discuss the generational gap for very long, because the conversation quickly turned back to Guitar Hero, which is how patrick is spending his economic stimulus act money. i think i'll spend mine on jeans...

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I also think that some of our generation's actions are a direct result of our parent's work ethics, habits and happiness. My mom had me when she was 23, which sounds CRAZY to me now. It almost makes me want to postpone all of the adult things as long as I can, because once it's over it's OVER.

Our parents worked really hard so that we didn't have to and now a lot of us DON'T have to because our parents took care of us.
For instance, I have zero school debt, because my parents saved up enough to pay for all of it for me. The only debt I have is what I rack up on my credit card on leisure activities (ie- Miami vacations and a Wii)