The change in generations

14 Stories

How do you think your life will be different from your parents' lives?

Stories

Image for Backward in the days of development

Backward in the days of development

Every generation is expected to be better off than the previous generation.. Taking into consideration the scientific inventions, urban developments and technological advancements of the 21st century, it is sad to see the millennial population (15-24 years of age) in India be in such bad condition compared to their parents’ generation.

Resolution Foundation, a UK-based think-tank organisation, came out with studies that showed that within a decade, nine out of 10 Britons on modest incomes under the age of 35 will not be able to afford a home. Comparing that research to the situation of millennials in the urban cities in India, the facts are largely true for here, too.

Twenty percent of youngsters in India between age 15-24 are unemployed and 18 percent of the 25-29 age-group are jobless, according to the Census 2011.

During my parents’ days, there was less competition in the career arena. They did not have the know-all that Google provides. Despite being an ardent reader, I lack a good memory, unlike theirs, of which one of the factors is simply the existence of the Internet.

My life is different from my parents’ because I belong to a generation that is caught up between the old school values of the 90s and, simultaneously, modern trends. We are expected to perform better in studies, work, peer circles and extra-curricular activities, but society fails to realise that putting one under constant pressure will eventually hinder their progress. This sociological factor was absent during my mother and father’s days.

Small things brought great happiness to the older generations. We millennials crave more success. They had playgrounds and a lot of free time to spend outdoors, whereas we are today burdened with grades (I am a better person today if I score an A or B+) and we are judged according to our performance. On top of it, there are the stacks of textbooks which keep reminding us that if we master them, we master the skill.

Hence, I feel that my generation is not much better off than our parents.

Image for I dare to choose

I dare to choose

“I don’t want to become a doctor.”

“Why?”

“I just don’t want to.”

And I took my leap of faith- from Biology to English literature. While they (my parents and relatives) called it a leap, I called it ‘a slight change’ in my future plans.

The basic difference between me and my parents is not the years, technology, food or clothes; it is the ability to make one’s own decisions and choices. My mother was advised by her father to pursue a Bachelors of Education course as a teacher’s job wouldn’t interfere with her family life. Now, when I return home at 10:30 pm, she finds it hard to imagine the way my family life would work (or wouldn’t work).

Ask a five-year-old whether he/she wants cheese sauce or tomato sauce, I am sure you’ll get a quick and definitive reply. It is incomprehensible for our parents that even at such a young age, our generation has fixed sets of ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’. “And you haven’t been through even half of what we went through,” they say. They never got to choose anything for themselves. Most decisions in their lives were made by their parents. This explains their surprise when my brother and I, refused to continue this legacy.

My brother has a very good hand and is learning at a design coaching institute (he was expected become an automobile engineer). I am pursuing a diploma course in journalism. It took some time for my parents to come out of the ‘doctor-engineer-lawyer’ mind-set. But I am glad they did. Despite not being given a chance to decide for themselves, they respected my choices and let me pursue it.

Image for Changing stories of our lives

Changing stories of our lives

At the very outset, while establishing the different life-path I will follow, I want to say that my life will be more stable. And it will be so because of my parents.

My parents brought me up in a very stable environment where they ensured that I had unfailing emotional support. They ensured this irrespective of the hour of the day or the trouble they, themselves, were in at that point in time.

They ensured that my career aspirations weren’t muzzled because of my gender. Despite being born in a conservative household, my parents have nurtured a spirit of curiosity in me. In addition, they inspired me to courageously question unjustified actions even beyond my circle of comfort.

All these points together have made my life different from the life my parents had to lead.

Furthermore, the current availability of work opportunities and personal financing tools will help me plan for a more secure life. While the technological limitations of their time have troubled my parents as they settle in the digital world, it has given me a wider range of options and guidance that are aligned to my purpose. With digitisation, my life will become fast-paced, which is different from the days of my parents.

The changing climatic patterns will create problems that my parents haven’t faced so far. The must-haves will change from food, clothing and shelter to Internet, power bank and plastic money. This change in priority might further isolate us millennials from my parents’ generation who stayed together in closely knit communities.

Image for Story of two generations

Story of two generations

At the very outset, while establishing the different life-path I will follow, I want to say that my life will be more stable. And it will be so because of my parents.

My parents brought me up in a very stable environment where they ensured that I had unfailing emotional support. They ensured this irrespective of the hour of the day or the trouble they, themselves, were in at that point in time.

They ensured that my career aspirations weren’t muzzled because of my gender. Despite being born in a conservative household, my parents have nurtured a spirit of curiosity in me. In addition, they inspired me to courageously question unjustified actions even beyond my circle of comfort.

All these points together have made my life different from the life my parents had to lead.

Furthermore, the current availability of work opportunities and personal financing tools will help me plan for a more secure life. While the technological limitations of their time have troubled my parents as they settle in the digital world, it has given me a wider range of options and guidance that are aligned to my purpose. With digitisation, my life will become fast-paced, which is different from the days of my parents.

The changing climatic patterns will create problems that my parents haven’t faced so far. The must-haves will change from food, clothing and shelter to Internet, power bank and plastic money. This change in priority might further isolate us millennials from my parents’ generation who stayed together in closely knit communities.

Image for To Grow Up or Not – Aneesh's Story

To Grow Up or Not – Aneesh's Story

A lot has changed over the years in terms of lifestyle, education system and the general cost of living in the country. Our parents were hard workers, no doubt, but they had an easy time when it came to making a name for themselves or succeeding in accomplishing their goals.

I say this as the amount of competition in the country has increased greatly. Everyone wants to do everything and be successful. Well, who doesn’t? But this has led to a shortage of jobs and an increase in the number of people looking to get a job. Everything has changed in the past 20 years or so.

The population has increased, leading to greater number of people living in smaller houses. There is a food shortage resulting from a decline in the amount of food available per capita. Inflation has increased as the circulation of money in the economy has not increased proportionate to the increase in population.

Our parents used to eat out at restaurants for as cheap as Rs. 15 (about 22-cents USD). Now, one cigarette costs just as much. They used to lead their lives like there was no tomorrow. Nowadays, we need to think about things like sustainable use of resources. The health hazards that we face is another aspect completely. Pollution levels in cities across the world is so much that you could contract lung cancer without smoking.

To summarise, I would say that our generation has a lot to look forward to. But, at the same time, we also need to understand the hardships that we will face due to an incessant use of resources.

Life is not going to be easy for us. All is not lost though as we can still change the course of how things are shaping up. It is in our hands to make or break our future and change the way we lead our lives.

Waiting outside the lines

Life can only be understood looking backward. It must be lived forward. At my age (22), my father worked in Calcutta’s markets, selling unbranded t-shirts to locals on the streets to earn a living for his family. My grandfather looked like Marlon Brando, and much like Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” he was a brute, a drunk and a womanizer.

My father’s mother was uneducated and pregnant with her sixth child when he failed high school for the second time. He grew up in poverty and his only way out was his skill with the football. He couldn’t pursue it not only because his parents didn’t have the money, but there was no future for football in India at the time. He often told me that he would study in the bathroom while his father brought the house down.

I feel very humbled at the lifestyle I lead today. I am completing my masters! I’ve already gone farther than anybody else in my family. I honestly feel that without the determination of our parents and the generation before us, I wouldn’t know which page to turn to. We have access to a bounty of opportunities these days and I’m sure we will have plenty more in the future. We can further our education, explore career options. We have moved on and with rapid pace. Earlier we lived on farms and in cities and now we live on the Internet! I don’t know the future, but the way we are evolving, I may be on Mars 50 years from now.

Our environment and lives have become more receptive. Barriers and stereotypes shall soon become transparent. Sherwin, my brother is a homosexual who is treasured at home. My youngest brother Stuart is encouraged to study abroad. My parents know that it is better that I play a doctor on stage rather than force me to be one in real life and put people’s lives in danger.

I can be comfortable bringing a girlfriend home.

Times will change and we must have courage to adapt. It is like linking dots, when we see how far we have come by looking at our past. I feel determined to do better by connecting the dots of the future.

Image for The times they are a changin- and for good

The times they are a changin- and for good

Last Sunday, my father called to ask what PayTM is, waking me up from deep slumber. Before I could ask if I could call back later, he cursed the digital age saying he never had to even use a debit card until the time I was born. After apologising on behalf of my generation and the advance of technology in general, I explained how PayTM is a mobile application that allows for cashless transactions after you sync it with your bank account.

The fact that my father and his generation were limited to strictly cash-based transactions is in itself in sharp contrast with what we see today in a majority of payments made everyday. This gives us a fair picture of the direction we're slowly moving in. Inclusion of technology in our lives is only going to increase. In the next couple of decades, the world will be more connected than it ever has been, more transparent in its practices and less dependent on humans- all because of technology.

Along with the change in lifestyle that the advance of technology is likely to force, priorities of a growing population will also change owing to rapid depletion of natural resources. Most of the kinds of animals our parents grew up with or knowing about will feature in lists of extinct animals, as our current habits are making forests disappear faster than ever. We already see real estate advertisements claiming superiority by allowing space for a lawn or a verandah outside the house, effectively selling air to people, a natural resource that one would think is their right to own.

Climate change, which has also already shown its destructive potential and something our parents did not have to worry much about, will lead to massive migrations of people across continents and result in a shift in policy-making to accommodate for greener practices. Most of all, unlike our parents, we will have a responsibility to ensure the planet sees another generation of humans.

Image for My generation is light years ahead

My generation is light years ahead

In India where growth has been faster in the last 20 years than it's entire history of being a nation, the generation gap between me and my parents is really wide.

My parents were raised in a very conservative society and still believe in values like arranged marriage, something that would baffle most people living in more developed places.

Being a millennial, I grew up exposed to a widely 'western world' . My favorite TV show as a middle school kid was friends. The concept of the show and what went down into the lives of twenty-somethings in New York would prompt a hospital visit for my mother for uncontrollable dizziness and fainting.

I taught my father how to double click when he was forty years old. By that time, I was listening to Carlin, air-guitaring to Greenday and looking to get the longest killstreak in Call of Duty with my friends. All these things were considered 'evil' and I was closely monitored and had to lead two separate lives, just for their comfort.

I feel like a wildly different person from my conservative parents who actually are considered pretty modern people. My parents are extremely religious but I am an atheist. I have to be a secret atheist because atheism is not accepted in my house. It starts from there and my influences go on to affect every aspect of my life putting me on the far end of the spectrum from my parents.

My life would be very different from what they have led. I feel I'm more open and ready to experience new things. I accept new ideas and have a much broader perspective which because of globalization open up a variety of opportunities for me professionally and personally.

Image for Tangled in the Web

Tangled in the Web

Out of the many different factors shaping society and people's lives over time, I feel the most influential has been technology. Technological progress has been transforming societies in unprecedented ways. What my parents thought was science fiction in their childhood, has probably been the most natural thing in mine, especially in the last three decades, when technological progress has seen its highest rate of growth.

Now we have access to information our parents could never think of. We have careers that didn't exist until recently. We have the option of visiting the remotest places at increasingly cheaper costs. These, and much more, are making our lives simpler, spoilt for choice and fast. We have better healthcare facilities, better and faster ways of communication at near-zero cost and it seems like the world has indeed become a smaller place. This is shaping our lives differently, every passing year. Our generation is living the most rapid transformation of society since the Industrial Revolution. Only this time, it's happening simultaneously across the globe.

My parents could not have imagined spending 5 lakhs (about $7,368 USD) for a professional education course that might or might not fetch a job. I have the luxury of studying if I want, but my parents had to start earning for themselves at a very young age, look after their parents and think about starting a family. I can study, work, roam around the world and do whatever I please. I am not bound by the shackles of the limited ideas of the world that they had during their times. Even though life was intense for them, it was simpler then than it is now. With increasing connectivity making the world tinier, professional competition now has reached unprecedented heights. One cannot be mediocre because the world will be there pointing fingers and laughing. This need to be the best drives us millennials to places we sometimes regret!

Our lives will definitely be different from our parents'. The calculated steps that they took, we don't. Although we are bound by a routine, we have many more options to explore. As Mikey McCleary said ,"The world is our playground ... and we're changing every day."

The shackles of the decay

Go to school, graduate, go to university, graduate, get a job, be successful, find someone to love, get married, raise your children, age, and peacefully die in the end of all this with the intense sensation of the prideful satisfaction. This basic outline of one’s good life dictated by the modern set of morals has been remaining unchanged for almost hundred years. My grandparents went through this, my parents went through this, and I am going through this right now. Unless the major breakthrough in norms of appropriate social behavior happens, my children and my grandchildren will strive to achieve the same goals I’m trying to achieve. But there is no chance our results will be the same. As human beings, we are changing the world with just the simple fact of our presence, and the end result is determining conditions in which population of the specific region and the humanity itself will be trying to achieve set in stone values. The world has changed since my parents were my age, and those changes had the positive effect. However, even if the world has changed to the best, nothing can change the past and the immense influence it has on one’s personality. I am no exception. I never had to fight for my on life as my parents, living in collapsed USSR, had to, I never lived in poverty, and I never had to bleed defying the rules of the society I’m living in. But I do know what it feels like because I grew up watching my parents doing this time and time again. I have a better foundation in my life, my starting point is higher and I can go further than my parents ever could, my life will be different from theirs in billions of minor aspects I can’t even imagine. But my memories from long ago like shackles will alway force me to look back to the decaying reality of Russian nineties, so I won't forget where I’m coming from and truths I learned back then will stay with me forever. This will never change, nor for me, nor for my parents, and it will always force us do behave the exact same way even if the world around is different.

NGgreen Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States of America

No stories with location.

Please sign in to start recommending

Sign in

Close