30 in America and what it means, where is my generation and younger heading and how is it effecting us? We work with the aging population that can’t afford to retire, more regulations, and laws. We are perpetually not being allowed to grow up in our respected social environments, weather it is at home, school, work, and our lives in general. I watch as the mistakes our parents would have made would have been judge by their overall character and punished per that determination, and how that no longer applies to us. Mess up today and get a fine, ticket, or even arrested. Twenty years ago it was consider a life lessons well realized by most because of the consequences of the actions that took place. Today, it is no longer that at all. The drinking age has been raise, the B.A.C. has been lowered, driving infractions more serious, and drug use is the ultimate to land you in jail with no chance. I have never used an illegal drug in my life growing up in the environment I did, but I realize how it is affecting people today if they chose to do so. I have friends that have used minor drugs before during our teens and some in college. These people now range from doctors, lawyers, to cahiers and none of which under current law would have even made it to those profession had they been caught. A drug widely used by the very people that try to increase the punishment for the same use now.
I reside in NC, where they have just passed a law this year that puts kids 16-18 in jail for speeding fifteen miles an hour over the limit. The same people that support this new law were in there teens in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Effectively supporting it because of how dangerous teen drivers are and adding more restrictions than ever to become a licensed driver. As teens our first sense of freedom and responsibility was after becoming a licensed driver. The crowd of the aging 60’s and 70’s population has retarded those responsibility and sense of freedom. Those supporters grew up in an era that muscle cars ruled the world; there was a competition to see how much horsepower you could shove under the hood of a car. Lacking shoulder restraining seat belts, seat belt laws, air bags, crumble zones they became an icon of American might in their own right. For these same individuals to say that they were somehow safer on the Friday night drag races having as many friends as they could shoved in the car at sixteen, to conclude that teen drivers are more dangerous or do more dangerous things to the point of passing a law to lock them up is ludicrous.
Teen drivers are smarter, safer, are more regulated than ever before. We have had a growing number of vehicles on the road and population growth. Had the auto makers been in a position today to make the exact same cars popular as the 60’s and 70’s the drivers today would still be safer than the teen of the 60’s behind a GTO judge, Firebird, Camaro, Mustang, Charger, 442, Daytona, and the list goes on. Had I had to follow the same rules now to get my license as the teens getting theirs today, I think I would have just opted out. Some of the rules consist of no friends in the vehicle at all, even to school events, more driving hours with an adult than there is time in the years before graduation, stricter curfew rules with driving and automatic lose of license on infractions anyone of us has made. That is just one example of the stunt development we have design with our attempt to make things 100% safe. Not only did the 60’s crowd that supported the law to lock a teen speeder up and fail to remember their youth. Some which were eighteen in the 60’s have seemed to of forgot that they not only had muscle cars and dragged raced them on the weekends but then went and bought alcohol at the local store legally.
Over the years I have not only seen tougher laws about things that were considered, “ a rite of passage” in our age, I see it as a way that keeps normal development and growth from happening. Part of the big picture is even at 31 I’m treated by most like I’m sixteen. I recall when I first came to the subdivision that I wanted my home to be built in, I walk into the realtor office representing the builder and watch a slew of gentleman walk out because it was getting close to time to close up for the evening. I had done my research of price per square inch, pre approval for a loan, research on the builder, the area in which the home would be located, the lot I wanted, and the model of home I wanted. I was well prepared. The realtor politely asked if she could help me as she got things prepared to close with her keys in hand to lock up. I asked her a few questioned that I needed clarified just to insure I was correct about my line of thinking before building the home. I then asked how much I would have to give her that day to get things started, laid the preapproval letter on the desk, told her the lot and home model I wanted, and got out my check book. She was shocked and made a call to the men that had just left. Little was I aware, that those men were in charge of getting the plans correct, approved, and materials for build in the division. It was later admitted to me that she thought I was checking on homes for my parents and she was taken back a bit by my knowledge of the company, homes, lots, and the fact that I was there for myself.
Why would this be so odd for a mid to late twenty year old at the time to be looking to have a home built? My parents and their brothers, sisters, and friend in their early to mid twenties were having kids and were working, “career” jobs. Having homes to living and by their 30’s were well respected for the work they did and were considered knowledgeable and looked at for promotions. Whether that position was to be a supervisor on the floor of a manufacturing job, to moving all the way to a senior VP of a well respected company in the medical equipment field, like my Aunt had done. My Aunt would not have the same job as she had in today’s corporate structure. She did not come from a family of college graduates, that had ties to the company, and she did not attend a top named school. She had a Liberal Arts Degree from the small university in my home town. She started at the bottom of the company and worked her way to the top over years of dedicated service. If she had to do it all over again today she would never had made it and I don’t see it happening in companies anymore. I know people within the company I work for that have tried to move up, work hard, and do an excellent job but the company will never promote them any higher then where they are. The company I work for actually hand picks people out of colleges for their own, “Leadership” program. Rarely leaving anyone to be promoted to high level corporate positions that actually have worked in the area they would be managing.
With the stiffer rules, the aging work force, the change to not promote for hard work, and failing to realize that my generation and the ones below us are growing. It seems that we have been stuck and not let go to do the great things people before us did. We are questioned, looked down upon, and not allowed to forge ahead within our respected careers. Still being told that we don’t have a clue what it was like back in the day, how things were and how they aren’t now. We need retirement to get back on track and we need our aging workers to move out of the way and let the new work force come in. The longer we are held back the less inspired we become and the less we will want to do. Not because we are lazy, not because we don’t know how to work hard, it is because we see that we will never get the chance to. It is time America allows us to grow up and not put every obstacle in the way that they never had and tells us how we aren’t working hard enough. I become frustrated with how hard I worked, strived to move “up” in the world and I still am told that I don’t understand that is the way it is done because that is the way they were doing it twenty years ago. The same individual will stay and work in their respective position until they are at minimum 62 and will hold back the growth and new ideas of the younger generations.
We have had an increasing work load since we were children. Summer vacations no longer exist due to year round schools, homework is assigned in groves, academics in high schools today are equaling college work when their parents were in school, pressures of college, more pressure to become financially successful which equals being a millionaire into today’s culture. I’m living in my 30’s where my value as an American is becoming more about my credit score and a mistake you made when you were 12, than about what you do for your community, state, or country. We are told to strive, work hard, take a risk to start a business but just don’t fail at it because that is what you will be remembered for. You stumble once and you become a person that in today’s America has no more value. What is there to prevent this stumble? It is the lack of an ability of a growing aging population being able to reflect on their own mistakes, their own path, and to be able to calculate the differences. To prevent us from stumbling or making a mistake they have chosen to over educate us but in a manner that is to not allowing us to grow up. Be well educate to do what exactly? To be told that I still don’t understand, that I will never grow to the point of being able to understand? If we make a society of people that don’t allow for mistakes then none of us will learn from them. An accident use to be just that an accident, a mistake, a mistake, now there has to be someone to blame, there has to be a disproportional punishment passed down to the point of not only correction but obliteration of one’s life. That is the lost American Dream.