I’m surrounded by lots and lots of twenty-something people all the time and most of the time I keep my mouth shut. However, the other day I was in line at the local grocery store and I couldn’t help but listen in on the very loud conversation going on behind me.
We were experiencing one of the crowded weekends and this group of twenty-something young, adults appeared to have come up from somewhere in southern California for a weekend of snowboarding or skiing. One of the humans, the girl-human who was wearing a very pink headband and donning very pink, long nails took a call from her mother. I didn’t hear the mother’s end of the conversation but I sure heard the conversation from the end of the twenty-something girl.
Apparently she wasn’t too pleased with the words her mother was saying to her because when she hung up she rolled her eyes and said to her other twenty-something friends, “My mom can be such a downer. She just doesn’t get it. I think she’s been on this planet way too long already. All I asked for was some extra money for this trip so I wouldn’t have to eat noodles for a week.” Her friends giggled. I did not. Her friends agreed that their parents sometimes don’t “get it” either. They giggled some more. I bit my tongue.
Now, under normal circumstances I’m really, really good at being in my own head and ignoring the ignorant. I’ll grab a National Enquirer or a People Magazine and browse them while I wait my turn in line. This time I couldn’t ignore the ignorant.
Granted, I did not know the mother of this twenty-something and I did not know what she said from her end of the conversation but I’ve been around enough hard-working, caring mothers and fathers of twenty-something’s to know that it’s not the parents who, “…don’t get it.” What is it, exactly, that we “don’t get?”
Could it be we “don’t get” that some twenty-something’s think they have a free ride when they return home from college after taking more than five years to graduate and using over one hundred thousand dollars to get a degree that might land you a job – if you were looking for a job – as a waitress?
Maybe we “don’t get” that you run out of money very fast because tattoos and nails and hair color and the most expensive phones are what you have to have to make it on this planet. Maybe we “don’t get” that it’s really not the responsibility of the parents to pay for your cigarettes or the alcohol which was in your grocery basket in the store located in the ski town which you were visiting. By the way, who is paying for your lift tickets and lodging?
Oh and did you bother to tell your mother that you are going to have vodka with those noodles?
For all you responsible twenty-something’s out there who appreciate your parents and have an inkling of what it means to be accountable for your life, you have my undivided appreciation. For the rest of you, remember this: Your parents have already been your age. You have NOT been their age. Pay attention to what they have to say, be respectful and considerate, and if your mom or dad does not have the extra twenty dollars to give you to pay for your iPhone or gas for your car or that bottle of alcohol to go with your noodles…get a job.
Then after that, about 25 years from now when you have a twenty-something living under your roof, you will hopefully, finally “get it.”