As a general rule, I try not to talk about politics with anyone. I avoid getting into political debates online, as well. I used to actively seek that out. I’ve since learned there are less frustrating ways to waste my time.
A significant part of that frustration comes from talking politics with people who are significantly older or significantly younger than me. I’m in my thirties now. I still remember my teen years, but I also can’t deny that I’m different now than I was back then. I’m still the same person. Time and perspective just have a cumulative effect.
I think most people experience the same thing, regardless of their age. I’ve talked about issues regarding generation gaps before. I imagine they’ll become even more prominent as Generation Z comes of age. It’ll only get more divisive as the Baby Boomers start to retire.
I know this because I’ve gotten into more than a few debates with older relatives and family members. Every time politics comes up, they’ll share stories with me about how things used to be, how they see things now, and how they think things are going to pan out in the future. I’m not going to lie. It has led to more than a few “Okay Boomer” moments.
Those moments shouldn’t define the discourse, nor should it be an intractable barrier. I’ve faced similar barriers in talking politics with people far younger than me. It’s hard to explain the complexities of the world to teenagers when their experiences are so limited.
With that in mind, I’d like to take a moment to offer a brief perspective on generation gaps and discussing controversial issues. Whether it’s politics, society, or life in general, I feel it might help to take a step back and try to see the forest from the trees. To that end, here’s a quick insight that I hope people from every generation can appreciate.
Your attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions are not the same as they were 10 years ago.
Your attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions will not be the same as they are 10 years from now.
However, at your core, you are still the same person.
The attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions of every functioning adult you’ll encounter are not the same as they were 10 years ago.
The attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions of every functioning adult you’ll encounter will not be the same 10 years from now.
However, at their core, they’re still the same people.
You and the people around you may change, but change is never anyone’s first inclination. It only takes hold when it feels right, necessary, or convenient.
Whether you’re young, old, or middle aged, I hope this helps make sense of things. I don’t claim to be smarter or more insightful than anyone else with an internet connection. I just believe that making sense of this chaotic world and the many people within it starts with a balanced perspective.
You won’t be able to understand every idea from every generation, but it’ll remind you that people have more alike than they are different. We don’t have to identify with all those differences. It’s just easier to get along when we remember just how similar we are.