For centuries, it has been a stereotype that teenagers are foolish, naive, and have essentially nothing figured out. While this may or may not be true, in recent years, teenagers have started to embrace this negative stereotype rather than try to fight it as past generations have. It seems that we have lost all ability to fight and have accepted this preconceived notion that we are all lost souls.
Anyone with a somewhat regular presence on social media can attest to this. On all social platforms, it has become a fad of sorts to be “a mess.” From Twitter bios to Tumblr posts promoting this, our generation has glorified the idea of being confused, lost, and having nothing figured out. It is easy to fall into this trap, as it seems that all TV shows center around twenty-something characters who are constantly making foolish and “cool” mistakes, brushing them off with the excuse “I’m a mess,” or “I don’t have anything figured out, I’m just 20.”
While nobody quite expects young adults to have everything figured out, by promoting this behavior, we are all enabling a generation of under-motivated soon-to-be-adults who watch several seasons of Netflix in a day rather than try to solve their problems, and brag about it, feeling a sense of satisfaction as though it is an achievement. And it may all be fun and games now, while we can still live off of our parents’ money, and our failures mean nothing except a bad grade or the loss of a paycheck.
This trend is not only limited to Netflix viewing habits, but also applies to financial stability, and the lack of development of a life plan to guide us through the crucial age which we are entering. By accepting this state of passivity, we are setting ourselves up for years of adjustment to come, when it finally dawns on us that we do in fact, need a real job, a life plan, and to take responsibility that extends beyond purchasing overpriced Starbucks seasonal drinks (another fault of which I am more than guilty.)
While our lives seem like a bizarre joke now, and it may remain one in the foreseeable future, there will be a day, believe it or not, when working minimum wage jobs, sleeping until 4 in the afternoon, and living in our parents basements will not be enough. And that is exactly where we are headed by accepting that we are “a mess,” and having nothing figured out, while actively doing nothing to change this.
A large reason for this trend having emerged is the example teenagers are given by the media: from celebrities living their lives with little to no sense of the real world, giving us all false expectations as to what reality will be like, to Twitter pages that encourage this sort of behavior. By making it seem trendy and “cool” we are allowing our generation to become unmotivated and content with living in a never-ending state of childhood. Rather than idolizing celebrities who are making immature decisions and not facing responsibility, we should following the examples of those who take adulthood and all the comes along with it, such as Emma Watson. Despite only being 24 years old, she has transformed from Hermione to an intelligent and mature adult, actively working to improve society with her “He for She” campaign. Seeing someone so close to my age making so many strides to better the world, is both a wake up call, and an inspiration like no other.
Being a senior and dealing with all the stress that comes along with it, avoiding responsibility is very tempting and sometimes irresistible. Applying to colleges and being asked what you would like to do for the rest of your life is more than enough to send anyone into an ice cream and Netflix coma. The difficulty isn’t having to choose something necessarily, seeing as it can always be changed. The part that is frightening is having to consider questions that before were only a whisper in our minds and letting go of the “mess culture” we have cultivated in our years of teenagehood.
Our generation is the future. As cliche as that may sound, it is a fact. We are the future, and as of right now, the majority of our generation are content being bad adults, and in fact, take pleasure in it. Of course I see the appeal and am guilty of this myself. After all, who really wants to be an adult? It is a one-way ticket to bills, full-time jobs, and more responsibility than we have ever had in our lives. However, as graduation approaches, and the real word along with it, we seniors must all face the harsh realities of the real world and stop hiding from the facts. It is our duty to break the previous stereotypes and be the generation that takes pride in being adults.