As I get ever closer to adulthood, I find myself asking questions about not only my own life but also the lives of others still in their teens. None of us can see into the future but we want to know what it holds; but it is only by asking some of the questions that we can find an answer, or at the very least, try to have some influence over how our lives will unfold.
For example, is the teenage mind a mystery to parents and other adults? Do people forget what it’s like to be young when they grow older? I have the occasional disagreement with my parents, like everybody but yes, I do think the teenage mind becomes a mystery to parents and other adults, as the perception of teenagers changes as people get older. I actually posed a similar question in an earlier article (Overloaded Snowflakes or Overstressed School Students? - 12 December 2018).
The things that some of the young might be thinking about are college, marriage, jobs, the events that will come along in the foreseeable future. Some of us may have also have got a crush on somebody at college and so starts thinking about asking them out - but may feel nervous. We don’t want the answer to be no. Maybe that’s not so different from our parents but there are factors today that parents didn’t not have, especially social media, which sometimes doesn’t help.
People do forget what’s its like to be young - even Theresa May, despite talking about running through a field full of wheat. Politicians are always on about young people but many of those same politicians have become so wrapped up in their own world that they don’t see fun in life anymore – they don’t see how miserable the world can be because of the challenges now faced by the young.
That leads me to another question: Are today’s adults making a complete mess of things, leaving people of my age to clear it up? Undoubtedly, yes.
I’m sure previous generations will have made the same accusation but has it ever been so significant? Today’s adults have made a complete disaster of things - and it will be young people who have to pick up the broken pieces of glass. Yet who is asking us, actually listening and then keeping in mind that it is today’s young who will be around years from now? The rapidly disappearing countryside is one example. Successive governments, both Conservatives and Labour have continually made a mess of so much.
Even so, there have been examples of politicians who did show some foresight. One who was against the UK joining what was, at the time, the common market, later to become the European Union, was the controversial Enoch Powell. Some say he was right regarding what the EU has become and since then, even some socialists politicians have argued that immigration has been too high.
One of my passions (some would say an obsession) is the countryside. Isn’t it strange however, that those who want more houses built cry from their own rooftops when new homes are built in front of them. The young are accused of being snowflakes but who is it that becomes so easily offended when the young judge those who have gone before?
Some – not all, just some - older people are making a mess of things and it’s me and those like me who will have to pick up the reins. Including the countryside.
Another of those questions is what things are going to cost as younger people get older and have to start paying for them. Take an obvious example, that of clothes. What we wear can determine what others think of us (regardless of age).
Over the last few years, a lot of young people have taken to wearing tracksuits, made by Adidas, Nike and other big names. Tracksuits have been around for a long time though, and have been worn as leisurewear even by our parents when they were young, so that particular aspect hasn’t changed much. What has changed is the example set by some parents however, in what they wear now.
It’s not necessarily good to go out wearing pyjamas, for example. For one thing it doesn’t look very professional - you wouldn’t expect to turn up at work or college in pyjamas so don’t go out in them otherwise. If you are out with family and friends you will embarrass them (including your kids!). Yet we see mothers going shopping wearing them, as if they are their usual day-to-day clothing. Perhaps it is - but it is also lazy.
At a push, maybe if one needs to nip quickly down to the corner shop or pharmacy to get some medicine, there may be a case for it, so there could be an argument for both sides. Personally however, I believe people are better wearing proper clothes as they are setting a reputation for themselves.
Coming back to cost, it’s ridiculous that ordinary people even think about buying designers. For example Gucci (who make big profits) will cost way over the odds and yet people fall for the line that the price means quality. No it doesn’t! Gucci will never put their prices down as then the brand will be put down – ‘top-end’ brands are about reputation and they stand out to mostly wealthy shoppers, who are then happy to spend much more than ordinary shoppers. Sportswear brands like Adidas are not Gucci however and aim their sales at a market that covers more than only the rich.
We see market penetration happening when brands are trying to break into a new area and launch a new segmentation - they need to think about customer’s expectations and their disposable income. So, in Cheltenham, when John Lewis (who like to think of themselves as a more upmarket chain yet still accessible to everybody), opened a new store, they needed to determine whether the local area had the disposable income to make the new store profitable. Cheltenham does have something of a reputation for wealth but it still has ordinary people on ordinary incomes as well. Including the young.
Young people also like to wear fashionable stuff that has been endorsed by the famous, like David Beckham - when he did his advert for Calvin Klein, it boosted popularity of the brand (the point of the ad after all) and even though the price tends to be higher, more people wanted the product.
We still need the money however.
So I still ask myself what the world that I will inherit is going to be like in ten years time and what I am going to have to put up with as the cost of everything goes up; will I earn enough to have a home of my own? Will I be able to afford to eat healthy food, instead of having to buy the cheapest? Come to that, will I be able to afford decent underwear?
What is being done today will affect me and those of my generation more than it will affect those doing it now.
© Lee Sibley 2019.
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