Generation is, in general, defined as a group of people constituting the same age.A generation averages about 20 to 25 years which includes the birth of parents to the birth of the child. So obviously there is every chance that there could be differences in opinion about values, customs ,opinions etc between the generations which is termed as ”Generation Gap”. Things get worse when there are more than two generations, with people in three different age groups having an opinion of their own.
Mindset of people across generations
As years passed by, there is a common mindset that the previous generations lived a healthy and more meaningful life than the present generation. While previous generations totally agree to it, the present generations have a different opinion that the life they live is more luxurious and comfortable than that of the previous generations.
Retrospective of how and what had changed over the years!
Some major differences as to how things are done differently today by the present generation as compared to previous generations are :
In the earlier days television was considered a luxury but slowly it became an essential in every household. Depending on their statuses, in those days people had either black and white or color television. Whereas in the present world Smart television has become a household name in most of the houses. Earlier people had to wait for an entire week to know the climax of their favourite serial but the present generation watches an entire web series overnight. They have so many options like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
Just imagine a decade ago would anyone have wondered if at the click of the mobile phone anything and everything would be ordered at their doorstep .Be it groceries, clothes, electronic goods, anything for that matter. Yet the previous generations feel visiting shops in person and hand picking objects to review the quality gives value for money rather than online purchases.
Investments and asset creation
The previous generations slogged day and night and tried to create assets. They went to any extent be it pledging their existing property, taking a loan from bank or money lenders and so on to fulfill their dream of buying a flat, vehicle or anything even if it meant they had to struggle for repayment of it during their earlier days. Perhaps that’s the reason many of today’s generation proudly call themselves house owners. Many youngsters are able to fulfill their dream of pursuing higher education by pledging some of these properties. Thanks to the previous generations for creating such assets!
Having said that, the present generations totally differ in their view of saving and investing for the future. They believe in spending and enjoying that moment rather than saving to enjoy life later. They like to explore life as it comes rather than worry about the future.
Media – Music player
In the 80 and early 90s,people had piled up a number of cassettes to be played in tape recorders consisting of their favourite songs. Slowly it was taken over by VCD followed by DVD. Cassettes, VCDs and DVDs were taken over by MP3 players which were later overtaken by smartphones. Now everything is available online. All you need to have is a good internet connection to listen to your favourite songs anytime, anywhere.
The memory game
People were in awe when the telephone was first invented, as communication was made easier. Though the landline connection was not available in every household, there were many public telephone booths which were used to not only make local calls but STD and ISD as well. Previous generations were an expert in remembering the 6 digit (which was later changed to 8 digit) telephone numbers. Perhaps they had good memory power. Of course with the advent of technology video calling wherein face to face live interaction was made possible through Skype, Whatsapp video call and so on. But how many from this generation know their parents number without having to look into their mobile phones!
It’s undeniable that technology has made people too dependent on it!
How technological advancement has taken control of present lifestyle
“Technology” has played a vital role making life easier and simpler for our daily chores, as opposed to how our grandparents and parents managed during their time. Maybe this is one of the reasons for the generation gap that exists between generations.
A few technological inventions that reduced manpower tremendously in the recent years :
- Our ancestors not only ate nutritious food but they also had several physical activities. Unlike present generations, they didn’t have to go to the gym to do that. Either private vehicles were unknown to them or they couldn’t afford to buy one that they relied on their own “legs” while some of them used cycles for movement from one place to another both of which were very good exercise for them.
- Lack of electrical equipment like mixer, grinder etc in those days meant they had to use age old machines for grinding masala powder or rice flour for dosa and so on. It was a very good exercise for their hands.
- In olden days people washed vessels using their hands and didn’t rely on vessel washing machines like dishwashers.
- Thank goodness! They didn’t have washing machines in those days. Dipping clothes in water, washing and drying clothes were very good exercises for their hips, hands and legs.
- They didn’t have refrigerators or microwave ovens to keep stored food or reheat foods. All they did was they cooked fresh food and consumed it on the same day.
- They had no distractions like television, electronic gadgets and social media sites. The only entertainment for children in those days was to play outdoor games which strengthened their muscles.
The change in lifestyle above has directly or indirectly started impacting health of present generation
How are health and lifestyle related?
Though how much ever a person earns and how luxurious his life is, a person is said to be rich if he is able to have three meals a day peacefully and have a good night’s sleep. In the present world most of us while trying to reach our goals have forgotten the basic need to lead a happy life. The lives lived by our ancestors were far way healthier and they led a happier life than the present generation. But we, on the other hand, try to cheat ourselves justifying our lifestyle.
While there have been a lot of technological advancement over the years, health and lifestyle have indeed taken a relapse.
Some factors which lead to unhealthy lifestyle
Malnutrition, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, usage of drugs are some main factors which result in an unhealthy lifestyle.
The routine followed by our ancestors were far way more healthier than the present generation, the reason why they were able to lead a healthy life.
A sneak peek into the lives of our grandparents and their ancestors:
- Early risers
They believed in the phrase “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. They followed this custom of sleeping early at night and getting up early. It’s been scientifically proven that early risers are more productive throughout the day and their brain gets activated faster. Most of the present generation sleeps only at sunrise and wake up in the afternoon which leads to hormonal imbalance.
They never skipped breakfast. As the name suggests “Breakfast”, they ensured to break the fasting of their empty stomach due to previous night’s sleep almost everyday around the same time. They never skipped it for any reason.
- Nutritious and balanced foods
They ensured to eat nutritious and balanced foods. They without even knowing what vitamins, proteins, minerals etc, meant they consumed it as required for the smooth functioning of their body. They preferred only natural food products like herbs, fruits and vegetables.
- No concept of stored food
Cooking and eating was an everyday activity for people in those days. They never knew the concept of storing food. Though there is so much awareness among the present generation that bacteria easily spreads in stored food yet due to the present lifestyle cooking everyday seems to be not a priority.
- Valued relationships
They valued the concept of joint family where in, a minimum of three generations in a family stayed under the same roof. Even though there were differences of opinions they were tolerant and tried to be united. It inculcated rich values among youngsters in those days.
Some of the present day generations are slowly trying to forget what humanity means which is one of the reasons for the increased number of old age homes and orphanages in recent years.
Previous generations played with real friends unlike today’s generations who play with unknown friends on the internet. ”Trust” was something which evolved with relationships. Youngsters nowadays trust everyone, even those whom they meet virtually which sometimes lead them to trouble.
- Hygienic environment
They had a very hygienic environment where the food they ate was uncontaminated. They didn’t drink bottled water, they shared and ate food with others yet they remained healthy.
- Felt contented
Though their parents were not rich enough to give them everything they desired yet they were able to spend quality time with them in which they found happiness. They were able to find colorful memories in the black and white photos they took. They felt contented with they had and they were happy
Does this mean, the life of present generations is becoming miserable compared to earlier generations and will it be worse for generations to come? Definitely not!
Things to learn from the present generations
- They know how to use technology to the fullest advantage though some unethical people use it for adverse action.
- Enhancement in the quality of education. There are several options for them to choose their profession unlike previous generations who stereotypically chose medicine or engineering.
- They are mature enough to understand things happening around them .They aren’t ignorant of the surroundings .
- They started realizing that they work to live and not vice versa. They want to take life as it comes and enjoy that moment.
- Slowly but steadily there has been an awareness among the youth on the need to save the environment and to again make the earth a greener planet thereby making it a better place to live
Bridging the gap between generations
The present day has made accessibility easier and communication faster. But understanding the present generation is still a challenge. As a result a psychological gap exists between the younger generation and previous generation. Instead of telling “Your generation will not understand this”, having heart to heart conversations between generations will try to bridge the gap to some extent. These are some of the suggestions on what could be done to bridge this gap :
- The previous generations should understand that priorities change from generation to generation and they should try to get accustomed to the present technological world.
- Present generations instead of questioning the elders on the validity of the customs they follow they can try to understand the significance behind it and try to follow it.
- Parents of present generation children should try to spend more time with their children. True that for most of the children both their parents are working nowadays. While parents need to understand how much ever they earn, ultimately children will feel happy by their presence and not by their presents, the present generation children should also understand that their parents slog day and night to give them a better life.
- When compared to earlier days, present generation children face a lot of pressure and are exposed to stress. While they themselves have set goals for them to excel in, parents want them to excel in their areas of interest as well. They need to talk among themselves and try to sort out their differences.
The current pandemic situation has taught everyone the most precious value of what “life” is. The mere existence of life in this pandemic situation is considered to be fortunate. Only those who have lost their kith and kin to this deadly virus can feel the pain of losing their beloved ones all of a sudden.
We should try to use the advantage of technology without compromising on the rich and cultural traditions that were followed by our ancestors. Perhaps this pandemic is an eye opener on how to lead a happy and healthy life for the present generation as well as for the generations to come!
By Jayashree Sriram
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