The things the youth of today are missing out on?
A truthful view of today's society in Britain. It may amaze you?
The things the youth of today are missing out on?
I was born in the mid 1960’s so it follows my memories of childhood through to adulthood took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The world was similar in many ways to today in 2011. However I feel the youth of today although more privileged in many ways are losing out in the enjoyment of a simpler and less regulated time?
We now in the UK do not have summers? I’m writing this article looking out of my window at the rain it is 61 F and its July! It has been raining on and off for a month. August has just appeared on the long range Met office forecasts and it rain, rain and more rain. I remember the summers or 1976/77 I was 12 years old and at school. The long summer holidays were sun drenched! I remember after a week of blistering temperatures the tarmac began to melt on roads in London!
I remember worried news men broadcasting from empty reservoirs! I’m not saying it was great having a hose pipe ban and being asked to share bath water but we survived. What a brilliant experience it was waking up at 6.00am and opening the curtains to sunshine. I used to ride my bike for miles with friends to a lake or river and go swimming or just paddling in the cool water. When did the UK last have a nice summer or more than two consecutive days of sunshine? It must be at least 20 years ago.
I don’t know if this is bad luck or climate change due to our pollution of the atmosphere. The roads were not as busy in the UK in the 1970’s; it has always been a risk riding bikes especially in London where I grew up, however you would not get me on a push bike for love nor money on today’s roads! the roads are just too congested. I spent whole days in parks in London playing cricket or just reading a book in the sun. I always had friends and we didn’t feel threatened by being alone in parks.
Today’s society is very violent in comparison to the 1970’s. Children and teenagers are mugged for their designer training shoes. The youth of today have mobile phones that are worth hundreds of pounds. Stabbings were an absolute rarity in my youth and would make the national news. Today stabbings are just reported in such a casual manner as a statistic? Stabbings are expected in every town in the UK why? What has happened I didn’t and don’t carry a knife.
Progressing into the teenage years things were taken at a far slower pace than today. For example I didn’t try drinking alcohol until I was 16 years old; admittedly the minimum age to consume alcohol in the UK is 18 years old so in effect I broke the law and so did the people who sold me the alcohol. I tried drinking and was not impressed with hangovers! I didn’t drink again until I was 18 years old. I was watching a daytime reality show and their was a youth of 17 who was a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser? The youth had been drinking alcohol since the age of 12 and an addict at 14!
I have also seen a youth of 14 who was a father! The legal age to have consensual sex in the UK is 16. The youth of today want to be an adult straight away they are in effect making their youth redundant! I am happy to admit I didn’t have a steady girlfriend until I was 19 years old that was the norm in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I don’t feel cheated by not having a girlfriend until my late teens, I was too interested in my job and driving; girls came into my life as a natural process I had no peer pressure to lose my virginity or have a girlfriend.
Driving is a pleasure that today’s teenagers can enjoy but is it the same as in the 1980’s? the answer to that one has to be no. I passed my driving test at 17 which is the earliest in the UK that one can drive. I can still remember passing my driving test in March 1982. I had a MK1 Ford Escort I had bought the car with my own money I had earned from my job. The car cost me £600 in 1981the road risk insurance cost me approx £160 roughly ¼ of the car’s value.
My nephew paid roughly the same for his first car; however he paid £2,500 for his road risk insurance! Over 4 times the value of his car! And he is limited to the mileage he can cover in one year. Driving is now a very expensive hobby indeed! I can remember filling my car up and it was more of an inconvenience than a major expense. It cost £22 to fill my car up in 1982 now in fact yesterday it cost me £80!
I doubt very much the youth of today can afford to jump in their car and drive 40 miles to a certain restaurant just because they liked the food? Motoring is reverting back to where it started which was a hobby for the very rich. I had my first holiday abroad in 1983 I went with a friend to Spain for two weeks. It was the holiday you would expect for two 19 year olds, lots of drinking and night clubbing. We could however afford the holiday which included half board in a nice hotel. We could also afford the arranged trips out and to hire motorbikes.
My friend and I were Motor Mechanics and just coming through our final year of our Apprenticeships. We began work at 16 years old; how may teenagers start work at 16 now? The standard of qualifications needed for ordinary jobs has soared hugely. The law is changing and children will be required to stay on at school until 17 years old to encourage them to earn more academic qualifications. If it were possible to go back in time I would not have chosen to be a Motor Mechanic as a career for health reasons. However earning my own money at 16 opened doors for me that many of today’s youth can’t open.
I became engaged to be married at 20 years old; people settled down a lot earlier than they do today. One of the reasons for this was housing although expensive was affordable, people of 20 could get a mortgage. The youth of today really struggle to get onto the property market until they are in their 30’s in many cases! Unfortunately my engagement didn’t work out and we split up. My half of our savings for a mortgage down payment was £2,700.
I took this £2,700 and bought a Ford Capri 3.0s this car was a true 130 mph head turner in 1986. I was 21 years old when I bought it, my road risk insurance cost £350 only for what was then classified as a group 7** insurance rated vehicle! I spent a great summer of 1986 screaming around the UK roads at ridiculous speeds in retrospect but it is still a great memory for me.
I am not a parent myself so maybe my views are a little off centre? But I do have 3 nieces and a nephew. It does appear to me that although our youth is growing up faster they are not necessarily enjoying life as much as my generation did. My generation didn’t have mobile phones and it didn’t have computers or I-Pods. However I did have a Capri 3.0s at 21! I wouldn’t have had time to spend hours on a PC or playing games on a play station, my generation was more into socialising and building for the future as in marriage and owning a house.
In conclusion these are of course my views and are open to debate. I do feel our youth’s are becoming a lost generation? They are growing up too quickly. By the age of 16 there is no wonderment to find out no thrill of making love for the first time or being able to have a drink legally. The youth of today have done many of the adult experiences far too young and are missing out on driving and holidaying and much, more due to the way our society is formatted.