My side of the story

Published On: March 22, 2019 08:30 AM NPT By: Anweiti Upadhyay

I have quite often heard many of my elder relatives complain about my generation and talk about how spoilt we are. Apparently, we have everything we could possibly need but we still don’t how to value it or be grateful of the fact that life has been so easy for us. I wish people would understand that times have changed and that just because youngsters today seem to have better or easier lives than our parents did doesn’t mean we are an ungrateful lot. 

Just because we didn’t have to walk an hour to reach our schools or the bus stop or that we can find and buy the books or the clothes we need without having to wait for them doesn’t make us ‘privileged’. Young people today work really hard too. Various research and studies have proven that children these days get double the amount of homework their parents got during their school days. Besides their regular schoolwork, children are also involved in other activities like musical classes, sports, etc.

And because there’s so much competition and unhealthy expectations, not only do we have to work hard in everything that we take up we actually have to strive to excel in all those things too. Otherwise, we are labeled as failures and bullied in various covert and overt ways by our own peers. 

Talking about hardships and problems, I feel like our generation might actually be facing them more than the previous generation did because of how competitive the world has become in the past few years. From what I’ve gathered through various complaints I’ve heard from elders about them having to work harder, they are mostly complaining about physical work they had to put in to do everyday tasks that don’t take more than a minute for us to complete these days. And I agree they did have it worse than us in this particular regard as our lives have gotten exponentially simpler and easier because of all the technological advancement in the past few decades. That doesn’t mean we have become complacent and take things for granted. 

On the contrary, I have seen so many young people put their heart and soul into whatever it is that they are pursuing as their careers. In the past year, I’ve talked to a lot of young entrepreneurs and people who are achieving amazing things in their professional lives and the one thing all of these people have in common is that they are always ready to take on more work, sometimes even when it doesn’t pay them directly, if it means they can move forward in their careers. 

Most – if not all – of these people are working overtime and some don’t even take any form of breaks or holidays because they are afraid it will hamper their careers. We aren’t sitting in an office being miserable and complaining about everything from our bosses to the people we have to meet for work related appointments because we’re stuck in a job we have zero interest in. Instead, we follow our dreams. If there aren’t sufficient or high paying jobs in the fields we are interested in, we create them. And there are a lot of young people who stand testimony to that fact.

 Another issue that usually comes up when people complain about the younger lot is the lack of humility and respect for culture. Apparently, many youngsters are so brainwashed by the western media that we don’t think before adopting an alien culture and giving up our own in the process.

When I call people out for being misogynistic, racist, xenophobic or homophobic, the response I get is mostly, “This isn’t the West. It’s Nepal and that’s how things are done and accepted here.” A lot of older people I’ve come across in my life all take these issues (like misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc.) very lightly and just accept these things without thinking about the effect it has on people who are victimized by it. If talking about racism, sexism and the other various forms of -isms out there makes us ‘influenced by western media’ then so be it. 

In this regard, I’m actually proud of the young generation for making an effort to treat everyone as their equals and actively advocating against issues that discriminate and demoralize people on the basic class, gender, race etc. I wish people would understand that treating everyone as your equal and accepting people the way they are without demeaning them for things like their gender, sexuality, and caste isn’t a western thing. It’s a humane thing. I have tried and failed to convey this message because when people have grown up believing in certain things all their lives, there’s little that can be done to convince them otherwise. 

What infuriates me is when older people try to change you and influence your views based on their concept of what’s right and wrong. And if you argue against it, they use that as an excuse to humiliate you and call you frivolous and disrespectful. Just because our way of doing things doesn’t match yours and we perceive the world from a completely different viewpoint don’t mean we have given up on our values and culture. We could call it generation gap, I suppose, but how long are we really going to use that as an excuse to not change with time?

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