I have a friend who blogs. I know, everybody does, right? But this is a response to a blog she put up here

Sometimes I think it is really difficult to be a teenager, but probably not for the reasons one might think. Teens seem to believe that at some later date, they are going to be adults and in total charge of their lives. I am not really sure why they believe this since their parents are probably just like every other parent I’ve ever met. They are harried, working in jobs so they can get a paycheck to pay for the teenagers’ many wants and needs.

And don’t even start to talk about the worry of having a teenager. No teens ever seem to think about this. As a former mother of teens and now looking forward to those teens being fathers of teens, I can tell you that worry is not just the prerogative of teens.

Boring, stultified parents of teens worry about their own lost youth and all the missed opportunities. They also worry about their own teens not missing some of those opportunities. They worry about aging and being in the sandwich generation, caring for angst-filled teens and failing need-driven parents. They are crushed by the worries of earning a living in uncertain economic times and having pressure coming at them from all sides.

We old people are not in charge of our lives any more than we were when we were young and filled with dreams for a splendid future. We are judged on a daily basis and put up with the same society that exists in the halls of high schools. Only we are pushed around by bosses who not only can make our lives miserable for the time being, but can actually make our lives worse if we don’t want to put up with the inanities of the halls of capitalism.

Even in the workplace, there are the popular ones, the geeks, the nerds, the annoyances, the whiners, and fitness aficionados preaching diets and workouts. We strive for perfection, not because we feel we can achieve it, or even feel that it is important. We really just want to keep our jobs. Well, that’s not quite true. We really just want to keep our paychecks.

We need to worry constantly about keeping up in a world that is fast outpacing our moldy, decrepit, moribund lives. We still have teenagers who need to be put through college and then married off and then they might need help with a down payment on a house in the suburbs. Perhaps they need us for other things, as well. Things like bailing them out of their own bad choices which somehow makes parents feel like they should do something.

All this worry and we are faced with the prospect of jobs disappearing or newly minted (lower paid) college graduates taking those crap jobs we really didn’t want but are all we are qualified for. Perhaps our jobs will disappear the way a cooper’s or blacksmith’s job did a century ago. Times are outpacing those of us who move slower.

I’m sure it is tough to be a teenager in today’s world. It was tough to be a teenager half a century ago. But what often breaks my heart is that these children who believe they are well on their way to adulthood and freedom are going to be so disappointed when they find out that adults aren’t any more free than they are.

We may get to make the rules for them, but there are others out there who make the rules for us. We are not the masters of our fate any more than they are. And when they get to this point in their lives, they may look back on these years and think to themselves, “Hey, I really didn’t quite understand back then.”

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