'I fear for the youth' - Conversation overheard at the London Underground

Waiting for the Bakerloo Line at Baker Street Station around 11.30 in the night, I witnessed an interaction that left me in a mix of fear and excitement. A man, perhaps in his 40s who seemed a bit agitated and breathing as if he ran all the way there, started talking out loud, and directed the conversation at an older man of about 60 sitting next to me. I will refer to them as X (40s) and Y (60s) for clarity. There were also two young girls a little farther away, and were taking pictures of their outfits as they were ready for a night out. Y, at first, excused himself, and said 'I didn't hear you mate'. To which X replied that football is finished and everyone would be coming down now. It didn't seem to make much sense. The conversation peaked my interest when X said 'I fear for the youth' and blatantly pointed at the two girls. Y agreed, and muttered something I couldn't catch. They got into a conversation and the snippets I heard are as below:


X: 'What's with taking pictures all the time?' and mimes it.

Y: 'It's a passing phase. They'll grow out of it.'

X: 'I hope it's going to pass'.

Y: 'They don't know how to grow a vegetable anymore. They can't fix a pipe. They have no common sense'.

X: 'Hope they get out of it'


Once we were all aboard the train, X points at the two girls who were taking selfies, and says

'Would you look at that? PUT THAT AWAY'.


I looked at the people around me. Estimating their ages and paying attention to their energy. I noticed that of all the people who were in my coach, the younger ones looked the most...happier. The older they look, they have a certain intense look on their face as if they're tired. I thought about how bitter older generations are about the youth having fun. There are certain phrases I've heard my entire life such as 'You don't understand what it's like to work all day', 'Once you come to my age you will understand', or 'Kids today don't have any responsibilities'. Most kids don't have responsibilities as big as the older generations. They don't have mortgages to pay, bills to worry over, or families to raise. Instead they get to live for the day, they get to still have a dream of what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and they get to take as many pictures as they want with their youthful good looks.


So, do having responsibilities makes a person bitter? Do people hate seeing happiness as they get further and further away from their dreams? Is the constant reminder of responsibilities feels like an obligation they can't seem to shake off?

To what extend does this impact on how they see the youth? Where is the origin of the thought that 'young people have it easy' and therefore they should be reminded of it every possible opportunity? What would happen if we let 'kids be kids' and truly enjoy their youth with the right amount of boundaries just to keep them safe?


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