When you’re shopping, it’s hard not to naturally eavesdrop in peoples conversations. Your ears seem to prick up like a deer in headlights; it’s not being nosey – it’s just an instinct you get when you may hear something that either interests you or perhaps offends you. Unfortunately on a recent charity shop trip, it was the latter for me.
I was minding my own business around a month or so ago when I suddenly overheard a conversation between a shopkeeper and an elder customer. They were discussing their loathsome for the younger generation, with labels spitting off their tongues in the most cruel tone.
Lazy, ignorant, not willing to work hard…
What was interesting to me was that they had seen I was present in the shop, yet happily continued to unfairly badmouth my generation. I was truly shocked, so much so that I left straight away. Admittedly, this event stayed in my mind for weeks after that, swirling around continuously in my head. What an utterly unfair generalisation, I thought. But then as I thought some more, I began to doubt myself and take it personally.
Am I lazy? Am I not doing enough? Does everyone think this… my parents, my grandparents?
As the weeks went on, I found this topic being present in a few conversations between elder folk I came across. I began to realise that this perspective of millennials was not a rare one… but why?
I find that a lot of these perspectives stem from the revolution of technology. Obviously, young people are known for their enthusiasm for smartphones and social media, and I won’t dismiss the fact that attitudes and times have changed… things are now quicker and we are adapting to this, sooner or later we as a society may expect things to be instant – but does that mean we aren’t willing to work hard for it? Absolutely not. What really baffles me is the assumption that we asked for the invention of all of this amazing technology…
“Oh, back in my day we didn’t have mobile phones…”
No. You didn’t… but is that to mean you wouldn’t have taken advantage of the opportunity to have one, had there been? We are all simply adapting to life as it changes around us. There is no guidebook to life, no matter how much we wish there was one…
Plus, it isn’t as simple as they think. Don’t get me wrong, social media is completely and astonishingly revolutionary – I am grateful to experience it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to indulge in my passion through blogging without it, I wouldn’t have made some friends without it, met my boyfriend… the list goes on. It deserves credit where it’s due, without a doubt. But there is a subconscious pressure that underlies within it. I’m referencing to common phrases such as “life goals”. Someone attractive may post an aesthetically pleasing photo and the viewers will strive to be like it… but no one is to know the real story behind the photo. You could be having the most dreadful day, yet be all smiles for one mere photograph, and those who see it get the impression that you’re having the time of your life. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite here – I am all for visuals, as you can tell through my Instagram and blog, but I fully realise that in life, you can’t put always put a pretty filter on things.
The reality of it is, young people are trying so hard. Believe me. If you’re not keen on the idea of University, you’re instantly dictated as lazy, end of story. If you do attend, but you’re not receiving Firsts or absolute praise, you’re lazy, end of story. If you’re simply working a mundane job to get you by while you figure out where your true passion lies and where you want it to take you, you’re lazy, end of story.
These are certainly not the attitudes to have, and it shocks me the lack of empathy people seem to have for one another these days. We need positivity – yet people are so reluctant to provide it. Through these attitudes, we run the risk of self fulfilling prophecy; those who are labelled and deemed as lazy may become just that, due to all of their efforts being diminished.
It’s an incredibly vicious cycle, one that leads to astonishingly high rates of anxiety, depression, and many other debilitating mental illnesses. We as a whole all have one thing in common – fear. Fear of the future. Fear that we may be homeless at one point due to the forever increasing housing market, fear that we will never achieve our dreams… In our grandparents’ day and age, there were more jobs than people. As a result, an unemployed person could most likely walk out of their house and gain employment in any field of their choice… if only it was that simple these days. My grandparents told me that they bought their first house for £825 (haggled down from £850) – I realise that this was a lot of money back then, but it sure puts things into perspective. I for one am terrified for when I will afford to move out properly and comfortably…
Long story short, while I’m unsure as to why what two strangers said affected me so personally, my message is today that we don’t need to seek validation from anybody. If what you’re doing is enough for you, then that’s all that matters.
I realise this was a slightly different post to my previous ones, and I do intend for this blog to be primarily for fashion, but this was a never ending chain of thoughts in my head that I felt the desperate urge to document. I may have gone off on a few tangents, but my point here is be nice, be respectful, and praise those who are trying, no matter what age they are. You never know what someone may be going through.
Thanks for reading | Lucy Violet x