Back in the 50’s when I was growing up as a kid I was surrounded by family who looked out for and cared about one another. We slept over at one another’s houses, played together, explored nature together, protected those younger than ourselves and looked up to our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and siblings.
Today, everyone in the household has a busy life, mom and dad work to pay a huge mortgage and new cars, keeping junior and sis in the right schools and little Johnnie in daycare at $200 a week. The grandparents see the kids a few times a year since the family moved away to help the son’s career aspirations. Siblings Tweet, FaceBook, text, Skype, Pintrest, send selfies and emails but never once pick up the phone to have a conversation. Vacations are no longer treks to visit family but jaunts to skiing, on adventures or staying at home to fix up the mortgage monster to keep up with the neighbors.
I grew out of the childhood years into my teens discovering the opposite sex, getting my driver’s license, having my first date, experimenting with sex or I should say dreaming about it as every pimple faced kid did, looked forward to summer vacation when I could work saving money for my first car and staying home by myself when my parents went on vacation – life was cool, my friends were geeky and my technology was an AM/FM portable radio I bought at Western Auto for $10 of which I had to work all week at my after school job to afford. I got my butt drafted and went into the Army, shipped overseas and had people I never met or had a grudge against shooting at me.
Today, every kid has a cell phone and texts every thought they have from sitting on the can in the morning to whom is doing what to whomever. There is no interfacing intimate talk only gossip about what actor or actress is doing, wearing or saying, like, OMG…
When I hit my 20’s I was finally out of high school, had my own wheels a 1960 Ford Galaxy 500, a hot girlfriend, my face had long ago cleared up and I was dressing in the latest fashions because I was not only a college man but had a real job making my own way at $4.00 an hour 20-hours a week after classes. I lived in a fraternity house away from home with no parents watching my every move and I had my first beer now I was old enough to drink.
I met this most excellent girl who my heart raced when I was around her and we got married and soon along came junior and responsibility. College was over, the carefree life was over and I worked to support the family but then again so did my wife. My son grew fast, went to school, got his new teeth growing in and my marriage like many of that age went west and you know how that ends up.
Today, kids in their 20’s are still discovering themselves, their parents indulge and protect those wide eyed dreamers who drop out of college in search of chasing their hearts desires to live at home at 26 – 30, sleep all day, get high, raid the refrigerator and generally be a nagging pain-in-the-ass who sprawls on the sofa watching sports or porn till 3am. Whatever happened to the American work ethic?
In my 30’s I worked as a professional, proud of my life, enjoying myself as a single adult, traveling when time allowed, driving a nice sports car, furnishing my apartment with cool furniture, a great sound system and a color television. I worked hard, played hard and dated but never one person for long. I appreciated my family more and looked forward to seeing them when I could. I was involved in my community through civic organizations and attended church.
Today, folks in their 30’s are fiercely independent, self thinkers or stinkers. They strive to have the very best of everything often living beyond their means with credit card debt up to their eyeballs and when things go to financial hell they waltz down to the attorney’s and declare bankruptcy and get the chance to start totally fresh. Most have been divorced once, sometimes twice before they hit 40, with child support or alimony payments forcing them to live in a cracker box studio in a not so great section of town driving a car held together by hurricane tape, bailing wire riding on bald tires because that is all they can afford.
In my 40’s I started to do really well for myself, I had savings, drove a nice car that was paid for, vacationed with my then girlfriend anywhere we wanted to go, lived in a nice section of town, attended and gave parties, had an interesting and diverse set of friends and acquaintances, acquired tastes for fine wines, cooking parties and social events where I hob-knobbed with the city’s elite and socialites. I grew aware being alone in life as a single adult wasn’t very rewarding and started looking for a mate to settle down with.
Today, those in their 40’s are doing about the same they are single, divorced or have families, own a home, do things in the community and live decent lives kind of the same way their parents did. They have technology to make life more interesting and entertaining and all the conveniences they can afford; for many lives are good and others who haven’t achieved their life goals it’s not.
In my 50’s I found that mate and remarried, got a ready-made family of teenagers in the package, bought a big house, new cars, got really involved in social events, expanded and intertwined her and my friends and family in our lives, had good jobs and living life was a joy until one of the kids went awry and things began to unravel because of it. Divorced again for a second time, house went into foreclosure, debt up to my eyeballs and living alone once again.
Today, that same scenario is playing out for many, divorce, separation and occasionally those who are stepping out because they feel they are under appreciated. Life is harder, more debt, less savings in the bank and less financial stability and jobs harder to get if you lose one to being laid off you find people are hesitant to hire you in your 50’s. You live life on the precipice while seeing many of your old friends who you thought did everything right, who scrimped and saved, paid everything on time to keep their credit 100% spotless begin to twist in the winds of changing times too.
In my 60’s I find life to be living day to day, I have social security after working a lifetime which on its own won’t even cover my rent. I don’t own a home as keeping it up and paying a mortgage and a house full of stuff just doesn’t seem important any longer. I have a vehicle that’s paid for, a motorcycle that’s my toy and spend more leisure time than any other time of life. Working is at my leisure and the amount of hours usually only 16-24 per week. My personal time is more important that attaining goals and financial rewards. I like where I am at, at this point in time.
My point here is that comparing my life over the last 6 decades while in the first 4 were much different than people of the same ages today that in the latter years it all balanced out that we live about the same as other of a like age.