We’re all familiar with the stories that start out with “when I was your age…” Usually this line is said by a grandparent or older relative who’s angry at the new generation, the millennials. There’s been a lot of harsh criticism against our generation. We’ve been told that we’re self-absorbed, tech-savvy, antisocial morons who can’t put down our phones for more than a few minutes. However, I disagree with the statement that we’re the worst generation ever.
Our generation has its flaws, just as any generation does. Sometimes I’m annoyed by the apathy for which my generation is so well-known. This spring break, I visited Boulder, Colorado for the first time. Boulder is a beautiful, young town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Walking around Boulder, which houses a campus for the University of Colorado, I noticed the town is mostly run by people closer to my age. Young professionals rule the city with new ideas and ways of thinking.
Because of the younger, fresher minds, Boulder is super eco-friendly. I rarely see a Tesla on the streets on the East Coast, but in Boulder I saw quite a few of them. Electric cars and bicycles are strongly encouraged out west. As a matter of fact, walking or riding a bike may be even more convenient than driving in Boulder. I also saw many homes and buildings with solar panels.
Along with healthier cars and homes, the people out west are also much healthier. Whole Foods is a common choice for a supermarket; there’s no such thing as a Walmart in Boulder. Small businesses owned by young professionals flourish out west. One business in particular that caught my eye was called HungryBuffs. This was a small business started by a group of college kids that will deliver essentially any food to you, including McDonald’s. You pay a small delivery fee of around $5 and can have any of your favorite foods that wouldn’t normally be delivered. This business was obviously popular in Boulder and had a strong presence in the community.
While in Boulder, I felt that I was surrounded by my peers. If you’ve ever lived in a small eastern town, you know that it’s easy to sense the importance of elders in small communities. I’m all for respecting elders, but when they refuse to make changes and let their community advance, it’s time to let fresher eyes see the problems and find solutions.
The biggest reason I’ll never believe that our generation has totally screwed our country is because of what generations in the past have done. There are older generations who have caused wars that we couldn’t afford (here’s looking at you, Baby Boomers) and committed horrible atrocities such as the enslavement of Africans or the slaughter of Indians. The Industrial Revolution started long before we were a sparkle in our ancestors’ eyes, and now we’re the ones living with the environmental impact.
The comfort I felt in Boulder is something I wish I could experience at home. In my small town, youths don’t have power in the community. Because of this, very few high school graduates stay in the area, and progress can be extremely slow. The altitude in Boulder and the absence of smog also make the sky an unreal shade of blue.
Our generation has its flaws. We’re antisocial, we love our cell phones, we think it’s cool to”not care,” even though we do care a lot. However, I’ve seen what fresh minds can do to mold a community — and I believe that if we were passed the torch, we could do great things in our communities.