My parents generation is the worst.
I am referring to those in the approximate age bracket of 50-65, born around 1953-68-ish… The later period of baby boomers.
This generation is a huge cause for the extreme epidemic of low self-esteem, low confidence and obesity in today’s world.
But it is not their fault.
These guys started growing up in a very significant period in our history.
- A decade post WWII
- Mass marketing boom (ie. the original social ‘influencers’) and massive advances in technology, which lead to… Consumerism boom… which lead to… Speeding up working world -> increasing business competition -> increased work hours
- Colour TV
- Birth of fast food
- Conflicting pre war and post war family/religious/equality/human rights beliefs, traditions and values
You think millennials grew up in a confusing time. These guys trump us EASILY.
The new world these guys were born into significantly shaped the world we live in today (and theirs before them). All the great, beautiful and amazing things we take for granted is thanks to them. We are easily the luckiest, most gifted generation with the most opportunities to choose to be whatever we want to be.
But, these guys also brought an absolute shit show along with it.
And it is not their fault.
In a world where everything we desire is at the touch of a button, we have the highest rates of depression and suicide.
In a world where there is more knowledge and understanding of what it takes to live as healthy as possible and it is more accessible than ever, chronic disease has become the number one killer.
In a world where there is a greater acceptance and focus on our mental state as one extremely valuable requirement for quality of life, anxiety and self-esteem rates are off the charts.
Why is the baby boomer generation such a cause?
Let me ask today’s millennials…
Put your hand up if your parents told you to eat EVERYTHING off your plate, but would then tell you you’re getting a bit fat.
Put your hand up if sex and emotions were a bit taboo at home, but everything you saw on tv and in magazines was the complete opposite.
Put your hand up if you were taught to love and care for each other, but so many families around you were falling apart in ugly fashion, because they were proud like their hardened parents before them, too proud to share their troubles.
Put your hand up if your family was hanging on to old traditions, but an increasing exposure to the world was causing to you question the point and value of these traditions.
Put your hand up if you were told you were lazy in comparison to the generations before you, but your mum couldn’t help but do EVERYTHING for you that you probably should have been learning to do yourself.
Put your hand up if you were told you could ‘be anybody you want to be, and do anything you want to do’, but were then ridiculed for taking a gap year overseas instead of saving for a house at the age of 18.
These examples are the most common causes of anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, obesity, low self-esteem and independence issues in the millennials I have worked with over the past 10 years as a pt.
It’s not me and my millennials fault, it’s not our baby boomer parents fault, it’s not our war living grandparents fault either. It the result of an absolute (in what I think has to be the most appropriate word for it) clusterfuck of changes that happened during that period of the 50’s and 60’s.
Stay with me…
Our grandparents were brought up through one of the toughest times of modern history.
- Rationed food
- Family members shipped off overseas, many to never return
- Tough laborious work on low resources
Our grandparents were built bloody tough.
They were brought up valuing the small things and eating all of their supper (a fraction of the portion size we have today and usually comprised of things like offal).
When WWII ended and the world begun to flourish again, do you think they were content? Or do you think they were pretty hellbent on never allowing their children to have to experience the same lifestyle they did?
Enter mass marketing, consumerism, colour tv, magazines (the original Instagram) and fast food.
Yep! Shiny things, people telling us what is cool and what isn’t, and all the amazing food we could only dream of, was now starting to become somewhat accessible.
But what happens when you combine pre-war ending values with all these new goodies?
Conflict and confusion.
Our parents were made to eat all of their supper and were told if they were looking a bit fat. But they still didn’t have the access to the abundance of food we have today (my mum still ate cow tongue) or have 6 billion people’s opinions to read on what is acceptable. The memories of WWII were still close enough in minds to be a topic to be reminded of and those privileges they received as post war babies were still highly valued and that value understood.
Our parents were taught to bottle up their emotions, because their problems paled in comparison to what their parents experienced.
Our parents were taught to work as hard as theirs did, save their money, buy a house, be secure. Because if another war like that happened, you’d want to be set up.
Our parents were the first generation exposed to being told what made you look cool and what made you more attractive. Though mass marketing was largely dominated by cigarette companies and instant satisfaction food companies (coke, chocolate, sweets).
Jump ahead to the 90’s and 00’s.
Everything in abundance, the world connecting more and more and the knowledge of WWII only taught in scarcity in schools. The realistic understanding of what our grandparents experienced faded, but many of those values still hanging on.
It is the combination of all of these changes over time that has left today’s generation to be so damn fat, anxious and low on self esteem.
If your mum told you that you were tubby while you were a child, but made you sit at the table until the (now larger) plate was licked clean, in which your tubbyness was then validated by tv, magazine and social media to be unattractive, and by that same media was encouraging you to consume fast food, which also provided you the information that bulimia was a thing, to then later to grow up and be told that you are a lazy generation that took everything for granted, even though you had very differing opinions on the values the generations before you held (and differing opinions on what the definition of hard work means due to development in technology and evolving careers), because since war things like women’s equality, multiculturalism and gender equality have happened, the labelling of your generation as lesser than those previous leading to distrust between generations, but even when generations disagree no child seeks approval from anybody more than their own parent…
OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO BE AN ABSOLUTE MESS OF CONFUSION AND SELF DOUBT.
Okay, so what does this all mean and what is the point of all my ranting?
Too often I work with people (not just millennials), who are completely emotionally and psychologically broken as a result of the above. Every day.
What does that mean and how do we change this?
Seek your own information, question everything, be you no matter what anyone’s opinion is.
Just because it was posted in the media, doesn’t make it true.
Just because your dad or mum said it, doesn’t make it valid.
Just because the information you are absorbing could potentially make you look at yourself in a negative light, doesn’t mean you should agree with it.
You have the right and the resources to seek as much information and make as much of a bold and informed decision about everything as you like, without adding in any negative self debilitating sabotage.
Someone tells you that you’re fat based off what the ‘world’ considers to be attractive (even though you are one sexy curvy healthy queen) with only the intent to make unnecessary comment or to pump up their own tires. Tell them to get fucked.
Because when you get down about it and take the hit of negativity, you’re only validating the bullshit further.
You be you. You do you. The rest is irrelevant.
PS – No my parents generation doesn’t suck. The epic clash of situations and changes to the western world that occurred during their childhood and adolescence sucks. But the fault of today’s issues does not matter if we don’t do anything to help improve it. The blame is unimportant and irrelevant, but the responsibility is ours.
*This in an opinion piece based off quite a bit of research as well as personal experience as a millennial and a health and fitness trainer. As per the overall message of the article, don’t take my controversial opinions in a negative light. Instead enjoy the inner workings of my brain and take the message as you will to do better for yourself or others around you.