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Dear Older Generations: Stop With the “You Have it so Easy” Spiel. Sincerely, Gen Z

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If you’ve grown up during the digital age, then the words “you have it so easy” are all too familiar. We’ve grown up tired of hearing “back in my day we couldn’t just google everything”, as if technology has made our lives a fairytale free of troubles. Despite what they may think, we know this is far from reality. 

What the older generations fail to realize are the numerous weights we took on by simply being born during the time we did. Obviously, we had zero say in this, yet we are constantly bombarded with the lecture of “back in my day we weren’t staring at a screen all day”. But have they taken a look outside? We are living in a world on fire, our lives are plagued with the realities of climate change, public discourse, intense polarization, racism, and a freaking pandemic. When we log onto our phones we can see every crisis and struggle across the globe. We see our planet dying along with its people. Our lives are far from easy, the older generations created a world of violence and fear for us to live in.

Getting away from the deep and dark, let’s talk about High School Musical. I’m assuming most of us grew up loving High School Musical. Watching them graduate was a moment in time my friends and I craved for as long as we could remember. Yet the reality was that we would have none of that. Many lost their entire senior year, which so many older people claim was the best time of their life. If it wasn’t their senior year, it was their college experience, and we all know how that has been going. Instead of getting that college adventure they love to talk so much about, many of us have been confined indoors to live our college lives through a virtual setting. For many, this was and continues to be an extremely difficult time, one completely unprecedented. But we have it easy, right? 

The so-called best years of our lives that the older generations love to reminisce about so much, are being stripped from our fingertips and replaced with artificial ones. Sure, we have phones, but does that make up for the years of our lives we have lost?

Older generations also fail to consider the dark side of social media. As more people turn to delete their accounts or go on a “cleanse”, the older generations remain oblivious to the toll social media takes on mental health. During their time, they saw people with flawless bodies maybe on TV (if they had one) or in magazines. Now, they’re everywhere. Our generation is having people with idolized figures shove down our throats to love ourselves while simultaneously telling us that no matter what, we will never be enough. We feel this insecurity arises through social media models but also in how social media overall makes us feel like our lives are mundane, boring, and worthless. If you’ve spent any time on any type of social media, you’ve probably seen at least one of the following videos: 

  • Self help
  • how to be “that girl”
  • your 2022 MUST HAVES
  • how to be successful
  • how to be the best version of yourself
  • travel vlogs to paris

With all this sugar-coating done by influencers with “perfect” lives and bodies being shoved in our faces, I’ve grown tired of older generations doing the same sugar-coating over our lives as if technology has made them seamless but instead has caused detrimental harm to millions of people’s self-image.

Now let’s talk about school, because I’m sure you’ve heard the whole “back in my day, we couldn’t just google anything”, “back in my day we had to actually go to the library and look stuff up in books”, “back in my day it was so much harder, you have it so easy” and so on. I would LOVE to see these people in our classrooms today. I bet they couldn’t keep up. No, seriously, let’s put money on it. Education’s curriculum has undeniably been increasing in difficulty, as students are being introduced to topics previously taught in later years. On top of this, older generations label us as lazy despite our generation falling under the pressures of increased expectations. GPA’s are not the only things considered when applying to top universities. We need to have multiple extracurricular activities and assets at younger ages. We need to be more accomplished, enrolling as full-time students, while also working jobs, volunteering, and/or doing internships. 

Despite what they may think, the older generations have no idea how difficult it is to be living through a pandemic, strenuously working on our education while being aware of all the other assets we must have to be considered valuable or of note. We spend our days inside stressing over school, social media, our jobs and/or internships, and the life experiences we were supposed to live, but now will never know.

We have been handed a world that demands perfection and exceptionality. A world with rising oceans, losing biodiversity, ecosystems, and opportunities to dream, to hope. 

We were handed a world with less. 

Our generation cannot complain about everything, but we can ask the older generation to stop telling us we “have it so easy” when the world they handed to us is anything but. If they could really take a look at the world they have forced us to live in, then maybe -just maybe- they would understand.  

Kristi is a second-year Sociology and History major with a minor in Feminist Studies at UCSB. She’s originally from Torrance, California, but finds SB to be a second home. She loves outdoor activities, reading, and music. Her favorite topics to cover include capitalism, mental health, and feminist subjects.
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