In an effort to inspire my writing and connect with a younger crowd, I’ve been hanging out where they hang out. I’m the not-so-old-but-much-wiser lady eavesdropping in the corner, observing how they interact with each other, taking notes on words and phrases commonly used. I have to say, that after doing this, I am disappointed in what I’ve witnessed. Here are some things I think need improving. Dear, 20-somethings…
- Ladies, act like a lady. You do not have to wear revealing clothes to be sexy. Teasing is an art form. Less is more.
- Please stop calling each other bitches, whores, sluts, and the N word. Even when you do this in a seemingly affectionate manner, it is giving others permission to call you those things too.
- While we’re on speech, let’s start to widen our vocabulary. Dropping the F bomb three times in one sentence doesn’t make you sound tough or cute. It makes you sound like you don’t know enough words in the English language to piece together a simple thought.
- Don’t tear each other down to feel better about yourself. No one reflects the kind of person you are, but you. Be someone your grandmother would be proud of.
- Be respectful of people in the service industry. While that employee is there to serve you, they are certainly not worth less than you. Speak to them like an equal and thank them sincerely.
- Don’t be afraid to say what you stand for or believe in. It’s okay, even if you are the only one of your friends who feels that way. Don’t be sucked in by group think. If something feels wrong, speak up.
- Have compassion and be kind. Everyone you encounter has a life outside of what you see. You never know what demons they are fighting or what they have survived. Help and support people who may need it, encourage those who won’t ask for it.
- Put down your cell phones. There are humans in the room who want to see and talk to you. There are family and friends who only ever see the top of your head and the glow of the screen. Translate emoticons into actual feelings and expressions. Look up. Have conversations with people, without a keyboard. Watch this video if you don’t understand.
- Be a part of your community. Get to know your neighbors. Don’t litter. Volunteer. If you want something done, if you want change, be proactive. Don’t sit idly by and complain about how things are. Get out and do something about them. Bring awareness to those who need it. Educate yourself on issues you feel are important before getting into heated debates. Listen to others’ opinions, but always form your own. Don’t be a sheep blindly following the herd. Ask questions and always be open to learning.
- Listen to your elders. We know stuff you don’t. But, don’t call me an elder or I’ll beat you with my cane.
I’m not saying that an entire generation is guilty of one or all of these things. I’m not saying that I’m perfect and all-knowing. What I am saying, is that there needs to be a bigger effort at self-awareness amongst 20-somethings. You are at a point in your life where you are making education or career decisions and life-long friends. Do not take these things lightly or too seriously. Discover your true self and revel in it.