How younger people are different than older people

When I was younger I hung out mostly with people older than me. Now the tables have turned, and I hang out mostly with people my own age. I am in the sweet spot where I actually like people my own age. It rules because people my age are starting do things, and so a lot of what’s big right now is geared toward our nostalgia.

When that’s over, maybe I will start trying to hang out with younger people.

What’s funny is that people my age and people even ten years older than me are fairly different. I guess everyone knows that. I didn’t. Mostly this is because of the internet, which is both the truest and most boring explanation for everything in the world.

As always, I can only describe the view from Planet Me. But if you are ten years older than I am–that is to say, if you are thirty-five–here are some things about people ten years younger than you.

We don’t know what you mean by “privacy.” Do you mean like when you go to the bathroom or undress before bed? That’s what privacy means to me, so I don’t worry about Facebook interfering with it. But older people have a much more expansive definition of privacy and they are freaked out by the idea of strangers knowing about their lives. Younger people don’t really understand that fear. We grew up having cybersex and keeping Livejournals.

We can have careers and also be terrible at life. My university friends and I worried like hell about what we were going to do immediately after graduation. (We also took a million years to graduate because we were so afraid of what would happen to us afterward.) When we graduated, many of us moved back in with our parents and tried to find jobs.

My older friends prioritized not living with their parents over finding jobs. They figured they’d find jobs after they got better at life. So they did things like move to Europe to find themselves, which is another term people my age don’t really understand.

Irony isn’t mean and nasty. In the ’80s, it was probably hard to like both Crass and Steely Dan. If you were into Crass and you sang a Steely Dan song, you would be doing it ironically, but in a nasty way. Now it’s totally fine to like both. Of course, you can like Steely Dan and still think they’re corny for all the reasons a Crass fan in the ’80s would. So you kind of like them and disavow what they stand for at the same time, perhaps by making a little joke out of the fact that you like them. That’s what irony is to us. A way to like everything.

We don’t really talk about the music we like. At least not in a meaningful way. More in a jokey way. Everyone likes all music, so it means much less to like one kind in particular.

But, at the end of the day, we like the same music as you. Young-person culture is kind of conservative, when you get right down to it. We grew up on Sonic Youth and Pavement and Bikini Kill and Danzig and Nick Cave, plus a few other bands that didn’t exist when you were growing up. We are especially psyched about those bands because they are only ours.

Some of them are pretty silly, but that’s where irony is useful. Right now me and some friends have a great thing going about At the Drive-In.


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