The “always on” generation
What’s the rush I get out of making sure I have enough shampoo in the morning? Eh. Not worth it. I’d rather just go a couple of days without conditioner rather than switch up my evening schedule to swing by a Duane Reade, then cart around a heavy bag with me all night long.
Is this lazy? Is this selfish? Is it living in the clouds?
Maybe. But here’s the thing: In addition to being a byproduct of the “always on” generation, we’re also dead-set on the, “isn’t there an app for that?” philosophy. In the midst of my short 31 years, I’ve seen dozens of examples where things that *used* to be a pain now have automated, seamless solutions.
- How you get groceries (I used to have to go to the store)
- How you get phone calls (I used to have to wait at home for the phone to ring)
- How you get information (I used to have to use a dictionary or encyclopedia)
- How you get food delivered (I used to have to keep takeout menus and call)
- How you watch movies at home (I used to have to go to Blockbuster)
- How you watch TV (I used to have to remember what time a show was on TV)
- How you keep in touch with friends (I used to have penpals and send physical letters)
This list goes on and on and on. And yes, while my parents also experienced all of these same changes, they weren’t taking place during their formative years of growing up. I’m no psychologist or behavioralist, but I have to imagine something important happens when a Google search engine interface first appears in your late middle school years and suddenly makes the way you do all of your coursework in college that much easier.
Our parents matured in a time before cell phones and personal computers.
Kids born today are born not knowing anything else.
But my generated matured with the Internet.
And you wonder why all expect “transformation” and “disruption” out of all of the other services and stale processes we see around us. It makes perfect sense to me; we’ve seen it happen dozens of times before. We know it’s only a matter of time for everything to be optimized, automated, done at scale. My “reward” for completing any of the tasks on my first list is so much smaller compared to the “reward” I get on my second list. So I’ll prioritize list #2 every time.
Here’s something I actually thought recently:
“Wow, all of my friends are having babies. It just feels like…so much work to put into raising one human. At the very least, if I’m going to have a baby, I’d at least want to have twins so I can get a two-for-one out of the amount of effort I put into it.”
You know your cultural and generational mindset has overstepped when you start questioning the value or impact of doing the one thing all humans are designed to do: reproduce.
I’m not saying it’s healthy. I’m not saying it’s good. All I’m saying is — it’s not burnout. We’re just children of the Internet age. Bring on the dopamine.