Does The World Place Too Much Emphasis on ‘Youth’?

youth vs age

No matter what magazine/newspaper racks I scan through, the prominent focus is without a doubt, on the youth. I know we all fantasize about staying young forever, but at what point do we finally grow up and get on with life? There is so much pressure  (positive and negative) on the youth in the world;  look like a ’10’,  pocketbook of a billionaire, dress like a fashionista, drive the hottest car, etc. I’m worn out just trying to keep up with the thoughts alone. This all makes one wonder how  these young-ens will even have 1/2 a chance of having their heads screwed on correctly-kind of like the blind leading the blind.

It is a known fact that the media industry greatly influences and/or effects what we’re suppose to be and/or do etc This industry receives all the credit for the constant barraging of the current ‘whims of the moment.’ We also know that everything’s driven by the almighty dollar and because of that, do parents even have a chance of bringing up Susie and Johnnie to be somewhat normal (normal being relative.)? Let’s look at the other side of the pendulum–is there ever a chance of ramping up the enthusiasm or energy factors amongst the elders of the world? Targeting the youth is definitely obvious when considering the aforementioned question.

Let’s dissect what we classify to be the elder-lings. Per Wikipedia, “The boundary between middle age and old age cannot be defined exactly because it does not have the same meaning in all societies. People can be considered old because of certain changes in their activities or social roles. Examples: people may be considered old when they become grandparents, or when they begin to do less or different work— retirement. Most countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person.”

How many of us have witnessed the disregard/disrespect the younger generations hold towards the elderly populations? The sad component of this is that there is so much wisdom; spoken and unspoken, to be garnished from these generations who have ‘bought the tee-shirt, owned it and threw it away.’ There truly is a reason why the elderly as a whole are no longer high maintenance-a lot of their living expenses are  now centered around healthcare, family and no longer themselves. One must realize that most of the elderly populations have done pretty much everything they’ve wanted in life or don’t really care if they haven’t. Their focus is now on the younger generations; hoping and praying that they don’t make the same mistakes they had, as well as realizing how precious life really is. Life has given them a much broader perspective of the world.

Time to dissect the meaning of youth. Wikipedia provides us with their meaning as well as a quote of Robert Kennedy, which offers a nice summation: “Around the world, the English terms youth, adolescent, teenager, kid, and young person are interchanged, often meaning the same thing, but they are occasionally differentiated. Youth can refer to the entire time of life when one is young, including childhood, but often refers specifically to the time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood but rather somewhere in between.” “Youth also identifies a particular mindset of attitude, as in “He is very youthful.” The term youth is also related to being young. The term also refers to individuals between the ages of 16-24.”  “This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”-Robert Kennedy.

It is obvious that the youth possess the ‘zest’ for life, by encompassing each and every moment they possibly can. As to why this disappears in human nature as we age, there are many individual reasons. An article by the American Psychological Association on Aging and Depression states that “Old age is often portrayed as a time of rest, reflection and opportunities to do things that were put off while raising families and pursuing careers. Unfortunately, the aging process is not always so idyllic. Late-life events such as chronic and debilitating medical disorders, loss of friends and loved ones and the inability to take part in once-cherished activities can take a heavy toll on an aging person’s emotional well-being. An Older adult may also sense a loss of control over his or her life due to failing eyesight, hearing loss and other physical changes, as well as external pressures such as limited financial resources. These and other issues often given rise to negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness and lowered self-esteem, which in turn lead to social withdrawal and apathy.”

The reasons for emphasis on the youth is quite evident, yet, one can’t forget that the wisdom the youth need to attain in order to achieve quality of life, comes from the elderly. Don’t be so quick to push the elderly ‘under the bus,’ as they are needed. They have so much to offer, if just given the chance to do so. This is where man generally fails, in that he/she doesn’t give credence to history and all its lessons. If you look back over time, man creates the same mistakes over and over again. My words of advice to all the youth out there, is to encompass the elderly, love them and take time to listen–they’ve been there (time frame isn’t pertinent) and they have first hand knowledge/experiences; lessons that can help us all avoid a lot of heartache/issues during our own lifespans.






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