This post is written by someone who hasn’t been a teen in a couple of years. When I originally called people to post I had said that even 20 or 21 would work, as they would have a recent reflection on the subject. I believe this is the first 21 year old we have had. If you are interested in writing your own teenage post, please check out the blog that started it all. “Calling All Teenage Bloggers”
“How do you think being a teenager in 2016 is different than it was 20 years ago?”
For those of you who do not know me, which I’m guessing is a lot of you since I very recently started my blog (check it out here if you would like! https://helpdtrh.wordpress.com/ ), I’m Alice Boyd. I just turned 21 and am a Junior in college, although it’s looking like I’m going to be there for an extra year due to my many major changes….haha. I grew up in the southern United States, and for the most part, have not left there. Although I do love my home state of Georgia, I would like to expand my horizons a little bit. Now back to the topic….
When I first started thinking about this question, after the lovely owner of this blog asked me to, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to speak for everyone else in my age group simply because I thought the answer was so dependent on the country or area you grew up in. After thinking more about it, though, I don’t really think that’s the case anymore, and maybe that’s one of the real differences between being a teenager now versus 20 years ago. You can very easily interact with people your age on the opposite side of the planet. Trends, information, and conversations can be passed from one country to another within a matter of seconds. Although there are some differences, my boyfriend (who grew up in India) and I had pretty similar teenage experiences.
In school, I heard a lot about how technology is making the world feel like a much smaller place, and I definitely believe it is. Just yesterday, I was watching one of my favorite Youtubers, Zoella, talk about a brand of makeup she loved that was not available in stores in the U.S., and instead of giving up and moving on to the next thing, I just hopped on Amazon and bought it. Dating apps and websites allow you to meet your soulmate without even leaving the house. Long distance relationships (even across countries!) are much more possible and common than I’m sure they were 20 years ago. As my boyfriend and I discussed a week or so ago, our relationship would not have been possible if we had been born in our parents’ generation.
Even though we still have a long way to go, individuality is also accepted, and even emphasized, a lot more now than it was when my parents were little. Teenagers can use YouTube and blogs like this one to have a place to express themselves, and find others who are just like them. We’re not limited to making friends just in our high schools or in our hometowns. I wish that I had reached out to the internet and blogs like the ones I follow now to find support when I was feeling so very alone in middle and high school. The beauty blogs probably would have helped as well….lol.
Honestly, I think that’s one of the reasons there can be so much tension between my generation and others, especially when it comes to my grandparents’ generation. They were raised in a time (especially in the South), when you did what was expected of you. Once you graduated high school, you got a job, got married, and had kids. Most people didn’t go to college, and for the most part, there was not the opportunity or the freedom to chase your dreams.
At least when it comes to my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, they don’t understand why I would become a teacher or counselor when I could become a doctor or lawyer. They don’t understand why I would choose not to get married for a while and focus on myself rather than starting a family, and they definitely don’t understand how I could fall in love with someone I met on the Internet.
Wow….this is getting really long. I’ll wrap it up.
Since there is such a difference between my generation and my parents’ generation, it is hard to make my parents see how important it is for me to follow my dreams and my heart, but in the end, I think that doing so is way too important not to. That goes for everyone else out there too. Yes, we may face opposition in being who we are, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Just when you do (and believe me, I’m speaking to myself here as well), try not to be so hard on your parents. They’re learning as they go just as much as we are, and after all, things were a lot different when they were teenagers.