April 1, 2018

"Today, I rarely hear teens show any desire to have anything I’d consider a normal adult life."

"Yes, I know, even that word—normal—triggers teens these days.... I’ve overheard my oldest daughter and her friends discuss their post-college plans. They all say they want to get married, for a few years, get divorced, travel the world, be single in their 40s, date both guys and girls, just to try it out, even if they aren’t bi, and never, under any circumstances, do they want to have children. Ever. They actually show an open contempt for anything that connotes permanence or settling down. They want careers that will allow them to jump from company to company. They don’t want to own a normal house. That’s too much of a commitment. They want something temporary, like an apartment, or something small, like a tiny house on wheels.... When I was a teen, I wanted a permanent relationship. I wanted a life-long career with the same company. I wanted a house. I wanted kids. I wanted to be 'that guy' who retired from his place of employment with a nice farewell party after 35 years of service, and spent his retirement babysitting his multiple grandchildren in the same house where he raised their parents. And right now, half of the teens on Quora read that last paragraph and shuddered. It sounds like a nightmare for them."

From a Quora answer to "What’s the most frustrating thing about getting older?"

46 comments:

John Lynch said...

Hey, that guy looks familiar.

n.n said...

Dodo Dynasty

Achilles said...

I blame global warming.

wild chicken said...

I didn't want any of those things either when I was young.

Woe to those who figure it out too late.




Carol

Achilles said...

Will they delete Facebook like musk says he wants to do?

Achilles said...

People who understand what our public education system is doing to kids will understand my “joke” about global warming.

Jeff Roth said...

How is that any different from the 60’s mentality?

Which, of course, morphed into the most materialistic generation ever - YUPPIES.

Achilles said...

“They actually show an open contempt for anything that connotes permanence or settling down. “

I see these kids holding cardboard on street corners all the time.

It is a testament to capitalism 70~ million people working can support 320 million people.

Achilles said...

In Afghanistan The boys saying this would have been given to the service of a local mullah as a pocket boy and the girls would be sold for two goats.

They would have an idea of permanence.

rehajm said...

Their ideal life is the life of an uninhibited teenager and it's okay to want that when you're a teenager. It's gets weird to want those things in your thirties and forties.

Ann Althouse said...

"How is that any different from the 60’s mentality?"

I know. It sounds like me in college... other than the "date both guys and girls." We thought "dating" was a completely obsolescent thing that we'd never do. So square!

mikee said...

Yesterday my wife noted that it was a good thing that old age sneaks up on you over many years, because if it came upon us all at once we'd give up.

chuck said...

The future belongs to the Mormons.

chickelit said...

Achilles said...Will they delete Facebook like musk says he wants to do?

Teens don't really use Facebook (so square!). But inactive status is OK and costs them nothing.

buwaya said...

A large number of these "kids" will keep thinking this way until they are infertile or on the edge of it.
I have met many "professional" women like this, and over-age mothers at our schools.
Quite a few with adopted kids, and others whose kids had birth defects or were born premature, with long term consequences.

Ideas can kill, even exterminate.

chickelit said...

Individual kids widely differ from the average.

chickelit said...

Many kids look around and see overpopulation. The overpopulation looks around and says "we showed up."

Spiros Pappas said...

Millennials suck at relationships. They'll never have long, meaningful marriages, or even own property, like their parents. It sounds too amazing to be true, yet it is. Maybe Jordan Peterson can do a youtube lecture on this or something...

tcrosse said...

The future belongs to the Mormons.

So does the past.

Bay Area Guy said...

I can't solely blame modern teenage angst on Leftism - the ubiquitous use of the cell phone for all things is the prime cause. I blame Steve Jobs!

To combat this:

1. Read books - the old fashioned kind.
2. Play football
3. Ask girls out on dates.

For the gals:

1. Play volleyball
2. Use appropriate tasteful makeup to try to attract guys.
3. Avoid feminism and militant lesbianism.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Carry-on

Roger Sweeny said...

I'll bet he didn't get what he wanted, and the kids won't either.

Daniel Jackson said...

Seriously, how representative is this attitude? I'd like to see something a bit more solid. It sounds very class biased.

holdfast said...

As a high schooler, I certainly wasn't thinking much about marriage, a house and kids. I wanted to travel, sleep with some cute girls, and have adventures. I figured I probably would settle down at some point, and but wanted to do that fun stuff first.

So that part makes sense. And it was nice knowing that I could pack all my possessions into one carload.

But I knew that could not go on forever - that's why I wanted to do it in my twenties. I certainly didn't desire to have a failed marriage. And I knew I would want kids one day.

David-2 said...

"They all say they want to get married, for a few years, get divorced, ..."

This makes perfect economic sense for young women in the modern legal environment, created by feminists and other leftists.

And they wonder why men now avoid marriage, and disparage men for their lack of maturity and/or lack of ability to make a commitment.

Actually, the men who don't understand this and go ahead and look for marriage anyway are suckers.

Breezy said...

Yes - humanhood will tolerate surviving with these folks... sure...

madAsHell said...

never, under any circumstances, do they want to have children. Ever. They actually show an open contempt for anything that connotes permanence or settling down.

I'm seeing this, and it's serious. My daughter can't find a guy that wants kids, and my son has found a woman that doesn't want kids. The discussion continues.

Big Mike said...

They all say they want to get married, for a few years, get divorced ...

Then why bother to get married at all? Why con some poor guy who loves them into thinking that they return his affection? I guess they're hoping to get the money for their travel plans by ripping off his future earnings?

DanTheMan said...

>>I guess they're hoping to get the money for their travel plans by ripping off his future earnings?

Exactly. They see divorce as a permanent paycheck without the downside of having to do anything for it. Sort of like early retirement: 100% vested, no contribution required. The ultimate pension plan.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Our three children (ages 28-31) all chose the "standard" family route; all three wives (two daughters and one DIL) work. But that may be a different generation

Rae said...

Oddly enough, I see a lot of younger people going the traditional settle down and raise a family route, even ones that claimed they'd never do that, and a few that I had pegged to forever wander.

I guess it depends on where you live. There are a lot of smaller families now, though - so many single child families.

Michael K said...

Thank God those kids are not going to reproduce.

I know enough of the other kind to think we are not doomed

They obviously have no concern about earning a living. Too privileged but it isn't "White Privilege." That I define as "Homework."

Those kids had helicopter parents.

Michael K said...

"My daughter can't find a guy that wants kids, "

Could this have something to do with it ?

“How in one generation have men gone from guys like Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford to . . .?” She gestures despairingly at the four men in front of her, archetypes of my generation in their hoodies, craft beer in one hand, iPhone in the other, with their untrimmed beards and general lack of ambition. I see what Hathaway means: Why put up with Tinder when there’s a whole generation of men out there who wouldn’t dream of using it?

Michael said...

My daughter has had her first child and is looking flrowad to the next and the next when she and her husband will pause. My oldest son is about to be married and is looking forward to fatherhood. My youngest son, in college, frequently talks about having a family. So much of what we read is horseshit. I expect my ancetdotes are as good as theirs and as conclusive for the future of mankind.

MadisonMan said...

My sibling's two kids both have married and have two kids. We'll see what happens with my two kids.

Dude1394 said...

I have two children. One went to college in Texas, the other San Francisco. Guess which one's genetic material will be removed from the gene pool???

PackerBronco said...

Little kids want to remain little kids all of their lives.

They're missing the biggest adventure one can ever have.

ceowens said...

Thank goodness illegal immigrants fuck like crazy. Also thank God I am 70.

The Godfather said...

I don't see it. My granddaughters are 10, 12, and 14, and the grand-nieces and -nephews and cousins-twice-removed, etc., are mostly in that same age range, and none of them sound like what the article describes. Some of them quite the opposite. Sure, when they get to be teen-agers, some/most of them are or will be obnoxious for awhile, but that's nothing new. I also don't think that the kids I knew when I was in college in the '60's were anything like this, notwithstanding what Althouse recalls (she's a bit younger than I, but I don't think that's the difference). But I do think we knew how to say things that would shock our parents and parent-figures, and maybe that's what's going on here.

I do worry that when the youngsters are older, in their 20's, they won't choose to have enough children. Separating sex and procreation may turn out to be a poor business plan for the human race. Ask Japan.

Matthew Bates said...

Hey! This is my post from Quora! Thanks for sharing it. :)

jaydub said...

Personally, I'm cool with anything they want to do as long as it doesn't involve Bob Dylan.

Scott M said...

When I was a teen, I wanted a permanent relationship. I wanted a life-long career with the same company. I wanted a house. I wanted kids. I wanted to be 'that guy' who retired from his place of employment with a nice farewell party after 35 years of service, and spent his retirement babysitting his multiple grandchildren in the same house where he raised their parents.

I was a teen in the 80's and I didn't want ANY of these things. I knew that I wanted to fall in love and get married, but the thought of kids was nebulous...there, but intangible. I was also self-aware enough to know that I didn't know shit about the rest of the quoted list. I knew they were out there, but as a teen, I had other more immediate priorities.

Yancey Ward said...

Your future usually chooses you, not the other way around.

walter said...

Culture and tech allows delay of reckoning with finality.
But..I don't know nothing about now.
Just came back from an Easter gathering with my fundamentalist Christian brother's clan who mentioned in passing that the step daughter who usually shows up with her boyfriend has become "Yes, a couple" with the woman/roommate shaking hands at the gathering.
Her Mom happened to not mention that to me in a barrage of recent updates.

Bruce Hayden said...

For those of you who didn't click through, Dr K's link was to an article titled "Why Millennial Women Want to Date Older Men". The Tinder generation of young women isn't faring that well in terms of permanent mating. They won their War on the Patriarchy, and many are not liking the victory spoils one bit. More women than men are getting college degrees, but they also desperately want to marry up, not down. Unfortunately, the numbers won't allow that for many of them. Just not enough quality guys up to their standards, and of the ones who are out there, the numbers let them set the terms of their interactions, which more and more means late night hookups, and any sex they have is meaningless. Which is what a lot of guys want at that age. But not, deep down, a lot of the girls. Which is why, despite the problems, a lot of them are finding that they prefer dating older guys, who are more willing to put in the time to make them feel special, instead of merely being the purveyor of a hole that the guys make use of late nights, esp after partying.

I should add that I have been notably older than the two women I settled down with. I am 9 years older than my ex, and 7 years older than my partner. Used to feel guilty about it. But both their fathers were older than their mothers, and my partner's two previous formal relationships were with guys my age. From my point of view, what is there not to love? - you get the status of the younger, and in my partner's case, extremely hot, girl. And someone who will, presumably, be able to take care of you when you get older. Of course, I did have a great uncle who died at maybe 97, after having buried his 65 year old girlfriend the year before. So, it doesn't always work out.

stlcdr said...

Are we still going down the path of the younger generation deciding national policy, or has that changed?

Unknown said...

When you are 20 you think you will live forever and if a girl you think you can start a family someday when you feel like it. Sadly, reality does not agree. If you play it smart and work hard you may overcome the adversities life throws at you (big recessions, getting laid off) and reach an age where it is hard to keep working (say mid 60s) and actually have enough to retire. But if you play around like these kids are talking about (and like I know 30 year olds who take a simple job at a tropical resort or teach English in Thailand for a while) you will suddenly find yourself 55 yrs old with no retirement and a low level job. That is really scary. I see guys in their 70s driving a cab or a greeter at walmart or working at the hardware store--does that sound fun and carefree?
And it is easy to say you don't want kids when you are 20--I never thought that--but by the time many girls figure out they DO want kids they are 34 and still single and then they can't get pregnant. Life goes rolling on and your time gets used up and then it is too late.
I have known old people who ran out of luck who had nothing and then lived with their kids--but what if you have no kids?