The topic is nature vs nurture, with a bit of ageism thrown in for good measure. One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how I relate to 20 year olds. Since I’m working in a restaurant, I’m around many 18-22 year olds and I find myself constantly amazed by their immaturity, bad decisions and apparent lack of upbringing.
So, the question is this: Are 20 year olds stupid by nature, or are 20 year olds these days more disconnected and aimless than we were (nurture)?
I’ve thought about the way I behaved when I was 20-ish and yes, I ran around, worked in restaurants, partied like a dawg and had a great time. What I did not do was become a junkie, get DUIs, get knocked up, be in porn, get arrested, lie, cheat, steal, and let men beat me. I mean, DAMN, the shit that 20 year olds get into now makes the ’80s look like the fucking ’50s!! Am I just old, or are the kids really fucked up now?
For instance, even at my wildest, I would have never, ever called into my job and told them I was in an auto accident just to get a couple of days off. I would, um, ask off in advance or work it out. At my most codependent, I would have NEVER let a man beat me. At my peak druggie phase I would have never become a junkie – oh, and most certainly not because I dated one! At my most crazed, I always had a plan. They may not have panned out as well as I liked, if at all, but I always valued myself and kept on trying things out to see where I belonged.
It seems to me that the 20 year olds I meet are far more beaten down, worldly and cynical than I was. They have already done all the drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll that is available by age 15 and it wasn’t enough, so they just float from job to job, class to class, drug to heavier drug. It’s like the line from Traffic: “Drugs are much easier to get than alcohol”. I’ll say. Hell, we were livin’ large if we had a 6 of Busch beer and a joint when I was 18 or 20! I hear about kids doing coke, meth, heroin and ecstasy all at once! YIKES!
Is it lack of parental control? Has political correctness and all that crap made parents afraid to parent? I think my parents sucked at raising me, but at least they tried. They bitched at me, they tried to instill some sort of morals, they went ballistic when they found a roach on a clip in the car. My mother would spank us when we were little (all of about 3 times, but still) and I have to say that I don’t feel traumatized in the least. As a matter of fact, my brother and I behaved nicely because we knew that our mother would beat us if we acted like little heathens the way little kids do now. I ended up rejecting about 97% of everything they ever taught me, but at least they taught me something to reject! If you have no input to start with, then how can you begin to compare different lifestyles, religions, etc.?
I see 20 year old ex-junkies, 20 year olds with 4 kids, 20 year olds with 3 DUIs, 20 year olds who live like pack animals in their own filth… I mean DAMN, man, what the hell is going on? Jesus, if I’d been around peers like that, I guess I’d have ended up fucked up, too! How the fuck can you have 2 exes and be a recovering junkie at 20??
Bad judgment, no sense, immaturity, yes these things are to be expected from a 20 year old. Constant drama from the bad decisions, etc., can also be expected. But the rest of the bullshit that I see can NOT be attributed to simple stupidity. These kids appear to have had absolutely no input about life issues at all. How can you be 20 and have no idea how to pick up after yourself, take a bath or wash your clothes? How can you be so wrung out that you have to do 5 different drugs at the same time just to feel something? You’ve not even lived yet!
Was I the exception to the normal behaviour of 20 year olds when I was that age? If so, then why did I not know one single junkie? Or porno star? Or smelly, nasty person who never washed themselves or their clothes? If it is nature, then how can it be so different now?
Was I just lucky to have been born with very good instincts and a lot of common sense? I think that’s part of it, sure, but I think I was taught some basic skills from my parents. My mother would have beaten me into next week if I’d have attempted to be a nasty, smelly, drug addled HO. It just wasn’t an option. I could smoke and drink, but even that was frowned upon and discouraged for the most part. Sex was most definitely frowned upon, but only for me, the female, not my little brother who could fuck as much as he wanted. At home. In his room. Asshole! Oops, another Rant fer sure…
So, is it just the nature of 20 year olds to be seriously fucked up or is it the way the 20 year olds today were nurtured by their namby pamby, wussy ’80s parents?
I think it’s nurture. What do you think?