We're Too Young to Be So Sad
The marked, negative changes in society and the economy are affecting the young generation and making them sad. Everyone is affected by broader social and economic trends, but it can be difficult to see how in our day to day lives. Before the economic recession of a few years ago, we wanted to have hope that our generation wouldn’t have to wait a decade for it to get better. Now we see that this figure is too optimistic, but we keep going on the same way.
The title of this article went viral on social networks. It came from an illustration by Sara Herranz. The author had the idea for the illustration while she was watching the movie Beginners, and she included it in her book Everything I Never Told You Is Kept Here.
Thousands of young people identify with this picture, people who have no health problems and who don’t lack any basic needs, but have seen their future do a 180 degree turn. Their academic and personal aspirations have changed, and for many, it will be much harder for them to accomplish a goal that was once a given: moving out of their parents’ house.
Even so, we’re too young to be so sad. Every day we might experience different emotions, and throughout the week we can go through both sad and happy times. But the common denominator of this generation is hopelessness with respect to the future.
Hopelessness is one of the main triggers of depressive episodes. There’s been an increase of approximately 15 or 20% in cases of depression diagnosed in today’s young people compared with the previous generation.
Many young people see that after spending their whole lives studying, they’ve had to take jobs that aren’t related to their area of study. Others have had to emigrate, but when they do so, they realize that they have to work jobs that don’t fit their qualifications in foreign countries. No one is ever prepared for this situation, which means in just a short while, they have to start using their own personal resources in stressful, overwhelming situations day in and day out.
Therefore, it’s only logical to stop blaming young people and accept that the most educated generation is underperforming. In reality, the situation changed drastically in a very short time.
We have to learn about everything that happens to us
This poor economic situation doesn’t affect people who already had a stable job and a proven track record the same as strongly it does people who are just going out into the world for the first time and encounter nothing but slamming doors.
You haven’t proven yourself because they haven’t let you. You have to swim against the current, disoriented. But thanks to everything that’s happening, you will learn lessons that are worth two or three lifetimes.
So when we feel sad, we have to think about what we’re gaining and what we’re losing. Before all else, we have to learn about everything that’s happening around us. We’ll develop a unique sense of empathy and social conscience that will allow us to analyze the world’s problems from many different perspectives. Our resilience has developed at lightning speed, our emotional intelligence has gotten us out of more situations than everything we learned in previous years.
We’re more open, less naive, and more supportive. We value honesty, simplicity, and decency the way few previous generations did. We consider hypocrisy to be our enemy, as well as vanity and extravagance.
We’re prepared for the change, and we’ll make it better. Maybe our psychological resistance breaks down now and then, but we’ll get up again. We’re too young to be so sad, so we get up and keep going.
We’re sad, but we’re not alone
When you go through depressing or hopeless situations alone, you might be afraid and embarrassed, but in this situation the sadness can be tolerated if you feel like you’re part of a network of people who are going through the same thing.
We can’t relax because it’s a chaotic situation in general, but a psychological phenomenon is also occurring: the guilt is becoming more bearable and dissipating because we no longer attribute the situation to personal failures or character traits. Rather, we realize that it’s a shared responsibility.
In this situation, don’t isolate yourself, because all you’re doing is confronting the situation in a passive and catastrophic way that won’t help anything. You have to pick yourself up, get dressed, and get out of the house, even if you don’t feel like it. The desire to do so will come later. The opportunity is out there to take back control of your life. Like Jean Paul Sartre said: “We can’t waste any time. Maybe there were better people, but this is ours.”