Smells Like Teen Spirit

Devin Conway

Born In The Wrong Generation

One of the most common sentiments that millenials express about the time in which they live is that it simply isn’t suited for their disposition, their cultural preferences or their artistic tastes.

I’d like to specifically address the artistic taste that I mentioned, because that seems to be an underlying theme among those who express a desire to return to whichever Golden Age they may prefer.

A common misconception that many of us hold today is that quality music is long gone, literature is dead and movies have become nothing more than mind-numbing cheap thrills for the masses.

While I do agree that there is probably more mass-produced, formulaic garbage out there than at any other time period in history, I know that there still is art out there and that we simply have to go and find it.

The Good Old Days

Something tells me that the youth of any given society, in any given time period, share a common desire for a return to the “good old days”.

This nostalgic longing, if it’s possible to have nostalgia for something you never had the opportunity to experience, is oftentimes nothing more than a form of escapism; a series of mental gymnastics utilized by people who are so uncomfortable with themselves that they become convinced that the society in which they live is at fault for their own shortcomings. 

However, I do believe that there are genuine cases in which individuals truly would have fit in much better at a different place and time.

Some People Feel the Rain, Others Just Get Wet

I think that the true difference between those genuine cases and those who are just lying to themselves is that the former aren’t overwhelmed by their generation and their disdain for contemporary culture, but rather are capable of bringing bits and pieces of the past into the present to make things more enjoyable for themselves and the people around them. 

On the other hand, those who engage in the kind of escapism that I mentioned previously seem to believe, whether they actually realize it or not, that the enviable aspects of prior generations completely eradicate the hardships that those people had to face. 

At no point in human history has there ever been a society that came even remotely close to the perfection that many of these people see when they look back upon the course of events that have unfolded in the past. 

Never Trust the Man, Man

The 1960’s is probably the most common era that is alluded to when people say that they were “born in the wrong generation”. 

As enticing as it sounds to be a Deadhead with no place to call home and no source of income on a never-ending road trip across the country with 15 others that haven’t showered in weeks, the hippie crowd did actually have to deal with some unpleasant experiences.

These free spirits who dedicated their lives as a testament to communal living, good vibes and world peace were paralleled by a ruthlessly authoritarian and war-mongering conservative political establishment that handled domestic protests with brute force and attempted to carpet bomb foreign countries until they finally gave into the warm embrace of capitalism. 

There are aspects of every time period that have been absolutely terrible, and any attempt to revise history with wishful thinking about a formerly utopian society is an exercise in futility.