Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Is A "Teenager"?

               The worst invention in mankind and, I believe, one of the sources of a quarter life crisis is the “teenager”. I know this may sound weird but I do not believe in the teenager. I know what you’re thinking, but you tell me, what is a teenager? “A young person between the ages of 13-19?” Yeah, so what? What does that mean?
All this social construct does, is provide young adults with an excuse to delay accepting responsibility. I understand people need time to transition through life, and we can’t expect someone to know exactly what they will do with the rest of their life at 14 but giving a person 6 years to “figure themselves out” is ridiculous and obviously doesn't help society. If anything, it provides us with yet another social dilemma. Is a teenager a child or an adult? The teenager construct says that there are both a child and an adult. The social dilemma being that we now give a teenager the freedom from strict supervision but don’t give the full responsibilities of adulthood.
The teenager is a social invention post World War I. Things like the child labor laws of the early 1900s, and the socialization of American high schools, all helped toward this social invention. So the idea of being a teenager is less than 100 years old. Before this time, you were either a child or an adult. There was nothing in between. Yet, in the early part of the twentieth century, parents wanted to wait longer before they saw their children adjust to the new life of adulthood. Some could say, the teenager was bound to come.
But what does all this have to do with a quarter life crisis? Well, I believe that what you sow is what you grow. If people are being influenced to think that they have more time to figure themselves out then that’s exactly what they are going to do: take time to figure themselves out. Which yeah, can be a daunting task but doesn't have to be.
Like I said earlier, teenagers are people with more freedom and less responsibility. That is ultimately the foundation that I think will lead to a quarter life crisis. It’s like one day in the midst of enjoying this freedom you have, you one day realize that you all of sudden have some responsibilities to figure out. But the truth is that the responsibility wasn't all of a sudden. It was always there, you were just groomed to take more time not to accept it. But what’s sad and what we all taken for granted is that we don’t know how much time we really have…
I am not blaming teenagers for those of us having a quarter life crisis. Remember, teenagers are a social construct. But more than anything it’s a mindset rather than an actual stage of life. The purpose of this article is just to illuminate the truth on the subject hopes that we’ll understand how we got to this point. The point being that by giving people time to figure themselves out and less responsibility, you’re sowing plants that will one day grow up to be a quarter life crisis. 

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