As the gap grows….we sit and watch it rise

looking up


by Kenneth Justice

There are some things that will never change; I will always start my day with coffee, men will always pretend they didn’t notice the ‘hot chick’ as she walked by him and his wife, and there will always be a young Hollywood starlet who flashes her crotch while getting out of a limo……some things are constants in our society…..

but one thing that is changing is the gap between the young and the old; the chasm between the generations is growing exponentially.

Some people might argue the gap between the younger and older generations has been steadily widening since the 1960’s and I would suppose you are correct.

Yesterdays <post> gave me reason to reflect on the changes that have taken place in the past generation.

Millennial’s (those individuals born after 1977) have grown up in an entirely different society. We are all familiar with these differences, Internet porn, Facebook, cell phones, thongs, and school shootings to name just a few.

All of these thoughts confronted me yesterday as I had coffee with one of my coffeeย acquaintances; ‘Dave’ is 45 and had recently broken up with his 32 year old live-in girlfriend.

“Kenny, man, no more older women for me!” he said with gusto; as though the 32 year old girlfriend was somehow old?

“Nothing over 26, I just can’t stand all the relationship drama man, younger girls just want to have fun, and get it on” he said…..(I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what he really said, ‘get it on’ is my paraphrase)


So without getting lost in the obvious things that we are thinking with regard to my 45 year old ‘friend’ Dave…..there is something that came out of the conversation which I fully agree with Dave on;

Younger women (and men) are much more interested in having fun, in getting it on,ย than people a few years older.

Dating and relationships for younger people are more about a temporary experience as opposed to a long-term situation that ties them down for life to one person and only one way of life.

With depression booming in Western cultures (especially the U.S.), younger people look at the older generation who are popping Xanax like they are Junior Mints and ask themselves, ‘is that what I really want?”

Whether you are in Europe or North America, unemployment is high, and job satisfaction for the employed is really low……

old friends

With depression booming in Western cultures (especially the U.S.), younger people look at the older generation who are popping Xanax like they are Junior Mints and ask themselves, ‘is that what I really want?”

If you’re a teenager I suspect you spend more time out of your daily week on Facebook, Tumblr, and other forms of entertainment/social media than you probably do studying and working….am I right?

And even if your older…..I suspect you are spending more time than you care to admit out of your daily week on social media as well! Ten years ago you were sitting at coffee with people like me in face-to-face conversations, but now, gone are those days and they have been replaced by Tweets and Facebook updates.

Yet it was only a few years back that young adults had the Baby Boomer mentality of putting in a hard-day’s work and staying abreast of current events, the News, and other forms of intellectual pursuits……

Most concerning to me is not the changes that have taken place; change is inevitable. Rather, I am concerned with the near total lack of communication between the ages; young people and old people spend far less time connecting and communicating.

So where does this leave us?

Honestly……I really don’t know.

Change is inevitable….its going to occur…..and change is not always a bad thing.

But I wonder…..are the changes taking place in Western societies the kind of changes that we want; are they the kind of changes that are good for our society?

The aroma of coffee is in the air so its time for a new cup,




Categories: Culture & Society

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51 replies

  1. I recently read about a church that actually segregates services by generational groups. They’ve totally given up on the idea of nurturing intergenerational conversation and given in to the “distinctives” of each age cohort. I think you’re right about the gap widening.

    • Caregivingstinks,

      Here in Metro-Detroit we have a lot of churches like that….one in particular decided to create a separate church where only people age 33 and younger attend.

  2. I think you’re talking about Gen Y. Millenials are tweens and teens right now.

    I actually disagree with much of what you say. My experience with that age group is quite different. They’re more civic-minded and committed than you make them out to be. In fact, it sounds like it’s your 45-year-old friend who wants things temporary so he can ‘get it on…’

  3. This is something to think about. Nice post.

  4. We find it happening everywhere. As technology is creeping in our worlds, at one side it is giving us the option of connecting across worlds like i am doing here right now. Also at the other end its alienating people sitting next to each other. We see lots of people sitting next to each other and talking on their mobiles respectively..Ways of the World

  5. It’s going to get far worse before things improve.

  6. i mostly agree but i do think that there are pockets of younger people who are coming to certain realizations and are acting on them. there are some younger folks who still believe in hard work, etc., we just don’t usually see them much. this is one instance where i’ll agree with what you were saying before about our perceptions being manipulated by media – we think we see only young folks doing certain things because that’s what makes the “news” (in whatever media that may be), but there are younger folks who have some older values if you will. it’s funny, my editor is really pro-technology. he feels it will eventually bring everyone more together and that right now the disconnect is simply because we’re just learning about social media, cell phones, etc., but that will eventually fade; new social norms will be created and people will become “polite” again – eventually. how long this process will take, i haven’t a clue. that’s certainly plausible and i certainly hope if that’s the case that it really does happen because if this “new” society keeps as is, then im definitely much older than 31 lol. im more like 61 in terms of my values.

  7. I’ve seen both. Some of the younger want just the temporary. Some are sick of that junk and really want to improve things.

    Then I know some “friends” who are much old enough to know better, who don’t want to grow up, and only want to ‘get it on’ as your ‘friend’ said. Go figure. Some never mature.

    Has nothing to do with age or growing up.

    Connections are becoming rare these times we are in, though. It takes work to keep a real relationship alive. Sometimes people, of all ages, just do not want to expend the effort.

    Well, time for me to get busy and outdoors.

    Be blessed, Kenneth.

  8. I don’t think you are giving enough credit to younger people. They were born into this world of technology, fast-paced everything, and obsession with consumption. They didn’t have a choice. Who raised them? It’s easy to stand back and say, hey you’re doing it wrong, but it’s a little different when you were born into this world thinking this is how it’s always been. The little kid tapping on an iPad isn’t thinking, “Wow, my mom must have had it hard before this thing came around.” The kid is thinking this is and always has been part of this world. Even when they learn later that this technology didn’t always exist, it’s not necessarily going to resonate. They can’t imagine it.

    Not all young people want a temporary relationship. Not all laze around and don’t search for intellectual pursuits. College attendance is on the rise. Everyone I know doesn’t sit around on FB and IMs each other. Everyone is constantly working on an assignment or trying to complete the many internships companies expect you to have before even graduating. They can’t wait for the weekend to see friends. Maybe many younger people don’t get in a committed relationship, but that might have to do with the fact that technology has opened so many doors and we are constantly told to be successful, be hard working, and be innovative. Always be doing something. That leaves little time to work on a relationship.

    I can see the gap and I can see where most of your points come from. But to say it’s young people that aren’t trying is wrong. It’s hard growing up in today’s world. They’re still trying to figure it out, because hey, the world is changing. There’s no guide for how to deal with it.

    Sorry for the long comment. Your posts make me think! Thanks.

  9. The comment that your friend “dave” made about now only dating women under 26 is the exact reason why I am doomed to never getting married….

    I actually have alot more that comes to mind to say but I don’t want to bring my angst to your blog…so I will leave it at that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. what an insightful piece!! well wrote and articulated. I agree, the face to face thing is still not ever replaceable no matter what device is invented. Its hard to find balance between the new and the old paradigms right now. It truly is like Led Zeppelin album IV represents. An ancient man meets modern day just over the hill. Thanks for the great post. Enjoy the days!

  11. just found you and it is great to read your blog here in Scotland and get a more rounded view of what is happening over the pond than the British Media Spin. Looking forward to more posts.

  12. very interesting site you have here with lots of interesting sections and views keep up the good work and thanks for looking at my poetry glad you enjoyed it i have another blog aswell called myheartsingpoetry this is also on wordpress some of it has been known to help people iam told some of my early poetr has cheered people up iam just going through bad spell at moment but i will come back with more poetry its just slowly starting again.

  13. “Younger women (and men) are much more interested in having fun, in getting it on, than people a few years older” , hey, hey, speak for yourself! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding! As always, a thoughtful article about the realities from da monk!

  14. I happen to be one of those long-term relationship, more-work-than-facebook teenagers and I know many people like myself, but I also know many who are that communication-disadvantaged generation and they, frankly, annoy me beyond belief. I understand the allure of facebook, of flings, and why they appeal to certain people, but it isn’t what *I* want for myself. Perhaps I’m in the minority- actually, I probably am- but I don’t look at my parents and think “What can I do to be nothing like them?”, I often think the opposite. Granted, I think that speaks for my upbringing and who my parents are rather than the general norm.
    Just a thought.

    And I love talking with friends over coffee. Though that may just be the coffee addict in me.

  15. well said. I like talking with my friends over coffee and watching the world go by. I love my coffee especially first thing in the morning.

  16. I totally agree with you, the lack of communication, especially positive & loving face to face communication is becoming a rarity these days. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Time to make a change a invite someone out on a coffee “date”!

  17. But aren’t younger people *always* more interested in temporary experiences (and relationships) than older people? Isn’t that just what it’s like to be younger? I’m nearer your friend’s age than his (hoped-for) girlfriends, and I’m old and boring now – but hey, I had a lot of fun, did a lot of daft things, and didn’t do a lot of planning when I was younger! I don’t see what difference technology makes really – I mean there must have been a lot of older people saying the same things when younger people started using phones and cars in the forties and fifties to start meeting people outside their immediate communities.

  18. Thank you for your observations and thoughts. I am 27 years old, and it’s funny to me to read about how “young people” are more interested in having fun, in getting it on….which yeah, it’s true. But, like anything, that only works in a generalized sense; your friend Dave obviously has generalized women, lol. I happen to be divorced; my husband was my only boyfriend I had. Since him, I’ve only been involved with one other man. I am interested in marriage, in the kind of committed, permanent relationship that brings….deep breath…stability, and I’m the type of person that keeps a job for years, though yes, at this moment I’m unemployed. I hate social media, because I feel it has become a way to supplement real human interactions with people, is a cause of a lot of people’s increasing feelings of loneliness, and is a way to create your own “reality tv” personality. I really enjoyed reading your post; I just stared following your blog, can’t wait to see what you come up with next ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. i guess one comment you made sums it up for me….
    if depression is booming in the westernized world then it would make me think something has to change and that the way things are going isn’t helpful to people

    • Dagmara,

      Because of my background in psychology…depression is something I’ve had to think about academically and in working with clients at various levels….depression is wreaking havoc on the western world…but for some reason…there is not a large scale effort by society to say as you did, “something has to change and that the way things are going isn’t helpful to people”.

  20. sorry… one more thing ๐Ÿ™‚
    it goes back to the forbes article on happiest countries… you have said poignantly what my point was in my blog “the happiness quotient”
    have a beautiful day

  21. Reblogged this on But By Grace and commented:
    Joe McGee, a pastor friend of mine once stated that there are 3 times the amount of people in the world since only a few years ago, but fewer and fewer are getting married. The Culture Monk is exactly right that most of my generation is only interested in “getting it on” rather than making a deeper commitment. Facebook and Twitter hold the same tools: you can “connect” with someone without having to sit down with them and make a REAL connection.

  22. It’s very interesting what you wrote about. I like to see the major differences in the generations when it comes to gay marriage, too. It’s wonderful you stopped by my blog and liked my poem :). Please keep coming back, and have a great day!

  23. Great write ! I actually wrote a similar post about a personal relationship I have that reflected on how big the gap between our generations is. The post was entitled “Distant Generations” and touched some of the same questions.

  24. Love the article. Great style of writing. Thank you.

  25. Until kids become financially independent, it is the parent that chooses what they buy the child. We have created our own generation gap. What child under age 12 needs a cell phone or an I-pad or any of it? They grow up too fast and we don’t know the impact of too much information and disconnection on this fragile age group. But we do know that nurture and real relationships are integral to psychological development. So what the heck are we doing as parents using our next generation as guinny pigs?

  26. Your 45yr old friend Dave, was dating a 32yr old woman, 13yrs his junior, and he thought SHE was OLD? Did he forget his own age in this equation?

    Dave’s idea of “getting it on” is indeed as you describe, a self liberating ideology of ensuring that he doesn’t commit to someone, because the “younger” he can get them, the more it reinforces his idea about “getting it on,” which we all know cannot go on indefinitely. I think It would be a far better use of his time if he would consider looking at someone that he can share his life with in the long term. After all he isn’t getting any younger, and when he reaches a prime old age, what young woman in her right mind would want to be with a man that is potentially 40yrs older than her. Yuk!

    The thing with Dave’s ideology right now (and he will change as he ages) is that he acts like a man set free from the “restraints” of a previous marriage or other relationship, and if he has had this kind of experience in his life, then his view of the world isn’t very healthy.

    To me, he doesn’t sound like a happy man and he will burn out soon enough.

    After all, he is a middle-aged man walking around sporting a “trophy dolly” hanging by his side, and he thinks he is a great catch. Wrong! Big turn off really. We all know why the “young” girl is in it, and she will use him until his pockets run dry. (Sorry young girls, but for some of you, this is true.)

    I’m glad that you pose your supposition by using (the US) as an example of how younger people perceive the aged by implying that the aged are “popping Xanax.” Perhaps this may be true in the US, and perhaps this may be true of some of the aged, or it may just be your point of view here? I certainly hope that it is your point of view. If this is true in the US, then what a sad state of affairs the US is in if “all” of the aged in the US are “popping Xanax.” This is very sad, to be honest.

    The gap between the young and old, in the context of how they use their spare time, via the use of social media, may be true for some. However, I do believe that there are more people engaging each other over a coffee, over a meal than there are by living it behind a screen. I also see here that the young and the aged are sharing times together. This is my view and my experience as I see it.

    Thanks for sharing “your” views about it on here.

    • Zina,

      I think you win the award of the week for best description of the male anatomy; “he is a middle-aged man walking around sporting a โ€œtrophy dollyโ€ hanging by his side”

      ha ha…I cracked up at that….very good!

  27. Given your observation that change in inevitable, I’m torn between thinking that it’s a little academic and wondering whether the observation and active control of these trends is socially important. The former feels apathetic, but the latter risks futility (wrestling water so to speak). Interesting to read that despite strong reactions, there seems to be a sense among the readers that the solution is obscured. Luckily, there is literature and dialog so that we can compare our feelings with historical content, but the next step has got to involve involve transitioning dissatisfaction into creativity. DIY signs anyone?

  28. Reblogged this on Le Little Fox.

  29. We have known for a while to look out for motorized dumpsters painted soil-green,
    for the seedier among us

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