I think your 20s is a sophomoric period where you should be having fun, being very experimental. Unfortunately now, because of the economy, people in their 20s have become very focused on finding a job and being very pragmatic. So it’s almost like they’ve grown up very young and they deal with these financial pressures and some grim uncertainty about the future at a very young age, which for a while there I thought "Oh God, they’re just being pathetic, they need to relax and sparkle and have fun." That’s what you’re supposed to do in your 20s.
Then I realized there aren’t that many jobs and this is a real situation where young people emerging from college are actually having a very difficult time, so I became more sympathetic to that situation.
But I think you can be organized and pursue the goal of getting a job, not even a good job, just a job. But then in your spare time, make sure that the rest of your time isn’t spent in the fetal position worrying about your future, that you’re actually out carousing and being silly and having fun and rebelling a little bit. I think rebellion is sort of a bit of a lost art really because kids don’t have so much to rebel against.
They have fantastic relationships with their parents, there isn’t that weird schism. I mean when my sister and I—she’s also gay—when we left and went to college like there was such a chasm between us and our parents. My mom was like a 1940s drag queen who’d wear a long-line girdle and nylons and never left the bedroom without hair all done and full makeup, and my sister was a full-on counterculture right-on sister. So they couldn’t have been more different, whereas now they’re very similar. They wear the same clothes, mothers and daughters, and which I thought is a drag because they can’t rebel.
But on the other hand, they seem to have great relationships with their parents and that can only be a good thing, right?
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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