7 Things Generation Y Will Regret


I’ve been thinking about Gen Y a lot this week, and how we could be a really great generation. But apart from the stuff beyond our control that we’ve had to face, I think we get in our own way. I think we’re distracted by all the things we think we have to live with, in these times. And we’re going to have a ton of regrets unless we change a little, and maybe change some things back a little. So this is more an attempt to get us to think about our choices and chances, rather than to predict future regrets.

1. Spending so much damn time online.

Because life wasn’t meant to be lived behind a computer screen. And as much as I love technology and the things that come with it, nothing replaces having someone in front of you; someone that you can touch and talk to, right in front of you. And nothing ever will.

2. The social media lives that we’ve created.

Does it really matter what a 1000+ people think about your latest, greatest, news? I don’t know, I don’t think it does. I think social media is a great thing but we’ve turned into a wasteland of narcissism and TMI, that’s not even always a reflection of reality. And to be honest, the less I’m on it, the less I generally feel the need to pay attention to people’s lives, people I would, and should otherwise have forgotten.

3. Losing our friends so easily.

It seems to me that previous generations despite having less modes of communication, knew how to communicate more authentically. We relegate a lot of our human interactions to texting, emailing, social media communications, and like it or not, that can erode friendships, especially for people whose proximity isn’t a barrier. We don’t make enough effort anymore, and between that and our general apathy towards building relationships with people around us, we’re going to wish we were better friends to people. We’re going to wish we deserved better friends.

4. Not learning life skills any more.

The other day, I patched up a sweater really quickly for a friend. And as happy as I was to do it, I was kind of surprised that the minor tear would have otherwise been taken to a tailor. Now I’m no Stepford Wife, but I can sew, I can knit (at least I think I can still knit), I can cook a few awesome meals, I know how to get stains out, and those are just general life skills that I think every PERSON should acquire. It saves money, sometimes even time, and it’s something you teach your children to do, so they can they can fend for themselves in the little ways when they’re adults.

5. Not spending time with the elderly.

I abhor the way elderly people are treated in this part of the world and I’ve always felt like the best lessons, especially the best history and life lessons can be learned from speaking to people who came before us. But even more than that, elderly people often remind us of the most important things in life. Because they remind us that our time is limited. And when you’re young, you don’t think it is; you waste time far too much. What’s that saying? Youth is wasted on the young.

6. Whatever the hell kind of dating/romance dynamic we’re in.

It seems to me that when it’s all said and done, many people have no idea what romance and dating, and dare I say even love, looks like. On the one hand, everyone seems so keen to get so physical so quickly. But dating someone you could potentially like, has all but been relegated to few and far between. I don’t know what the hell people think they’re achieving with all this but I refuse to participate in the bullshit.

And then of course there’s the whole, “not wanting to be seen as needy/being the one who who cares less” versus “let’s cling to each like glue.” See, there’s a middle ground and it’s somewhere between “I want you to know I like/love you” and “Let’s be interdependent, and not codependent.” It all just seems a little strange to me and mostly I have nostalgia for a past that I didn’t even live in. Because from where I’m standing and observing, people are mostly just using each other for short-term pleasure. And in the end, it sounds like a preface for long-term confusion.

7. Not going after what we want.

Ryan O’Connell wrote one of my favorite articles about this: “You Need To Go After The Things You Want.” And I guess I expect more from us Gen Y. Especially because of what we’re going through economically, internationally, etc. I’ve been re-watching a series, American Dreams, which aired in the early 2000s but is set in the 1960s. And it led me to freshen up my history on that time period. And it reads like a time of intensity and change – people were alive, they were living, and not just existing. They were in the streets, they were angry, they were demanding, they were willing to put themselves at the front line and really go after what they wanted. Now, maybe it’s not just societal changes but whether it’s a person or a job or a trip or a life that we want, or simply saying what we mean when we talk, we’re going to regret not doing it.

Chanel said, “Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” It’s time we act on our instincts, it’s time to be be another great generation. Because the price of regret is too heavy to pay.