Both young and old like to express opinions. Phrases like, ‘back in the day…’, ‘we never had…’ and ‘when I grow up, I want to…’ seem to crop up regularly. I often think about who says these things, who is listening, and what they hear.
PHOTOS TEZ MERCER
OVER THE LAST YEAR, I’VE LOVED READING THE SERIES ‘HOW IT WAS’ IN UNO., and learning what life was like in the Bay and around New Zealand a while back. I know that many people, myself included, often just brush over and forget that our older generations have led some amazing and interesting lives. We overlook that old people were once like us millennials. They followed the latest trends (some dude ranting about his blue suede shoes, apparently?!) and made trouble like typical teenagers.
THE BABY BOOMERS GREW UP POST-WORLD WAR II, IN A TIME OF HARDSHIP, RATIONING, AND RAPID MODERNISATION. Whilst they started o in tough times, their hard work saw New Zealand prosper as a nation. They helped the country nd its footing on the world stage and somehow raised 70 million sheep in the process. On the other side of this divide are us young ones. We’ve grown up having our world shaped by the internet, events like 9/11, and an unhealthy obsession with lattes and smashed avocado on toast. One day, Millennials will move to the far side of the divide and have another generation labelling us as the oldies. I might even have a grandson who has to help me with my self- driving car!
TEENS AND OLD PEOPLE STRUGGLE TO RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER. I HONESTLY FIND IT QUITE HARD TO CONVINCE MYSELF THAT OLD PEOPLE WERE ONCE MY AGE. I don’t think it will ever change because growing up in another generation is completely di erent from the last one. My grandma telling me about people rationing butter is just as hard for me to comprehend as how Netflix works for her.
HOWEVER WE DO SHARE SOME COMMON GROUND: we both know what it’s like to be misunderstood, and our opinions dismissed.
NOW THIS WOULDN’T BE A LOUIS DONOVAN COLUMN IF IT WASN’T GIVEN A SPRINKLING OF POLITICS! Young people are dramatically underrepresented in councils around New Zealand and in parliament, while older people are, without a doubt, overrepresented. Should this change? And how can we do that? Political parties across the spectrum need to be talent-spotting younger candidates who can bring a di erent side of the story. They mightn’t have had the experience some feel is required, but there are plenty of young people who have done and seen twice as much as some of our current seasoned-career MPs. I believe that younger people will start to become interested in politics if the age divide in parliament is resolved. If political parties bring more young people in, more young people are likely to vote, and take an interest in our country’s future. That’ll be good for all of us.
IN THE WORDS OF LUIS BUNUEL: “Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you’re cheese.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? It doesn’t matter how old you are, I am always up for debate and chat on Facebook @louisdonovanmmc.