The crotchety curmudgeon and the tumultuous teenagers

I’m a returning student, I put school on hold to move to an exciting city and go exploring and soak up culture and live with my friends… and be broke and eat a bunch of ramen to survive. It was great. I’m not being sarcastic. But now I’m back… back at my little Community College to finish up my associates and move on to greater things. Since I’ve been gone other students have gotten younger… the gap between us feels monumental. I detest hearing them speak. It doesn’t sound fair, maybe it’s not, but boy do I feel justified.

Pretty much every class some outspoken child angrily shouts, “Hey, here’s my super extreme opinion that’s based on limited experience that I stubbornly latch on to and dare not question or take anything else into consideration, cos thats way too responsible. Oh, and if you disagree with me I’m going to attack you and say you’re being judgmental, even though that’s what I’m doing cos I’m a projector. Yeah, and I’m not listening to you anyway, because I’m right and my opinion is the only one that matters… even though I’ve done absolutely no self-reflection and am just spewing up all my parents beliefs.”

Okay, okay, I’m paraphrasing, they don’t actually say that.. they say a succession of stupid shit that I interpret as being everything I just said, based on extensive research, self reflection, experience, growth and the [horrifying] idea that I just might have been like that when I was there age… because I had some pretty hardcore opinions that were based on little more than whims and brainwashing. Oh my, what a dreadful thought.

I want to say something now to prove I was different, special, oh-so mature when I was that age… and in many ways I was, but boy was I stubborn and opinionated. Thankfully those opinions have changed shape significantly over the past several years, and I’ve shed many of my parents radical political, religious, anti-government, racist ideologies for more developed, balanced ideas. I questioned my carried beliefs… a lot of times with the help of a friend who cared enough to challenge me, and over time I’ve been able to set many of them down. Not all, but many. And perhaps that’s what I’m so perturbed about when I hear those kids regurgitating what they’ve been fed, because I see myself in them and it hurts to think about all the pain I was in then. I want to make them see what life is like when you start being yourself and exploring your genuine thoughts and feelings. I want to go back in time and make myself see, save myself from all the toxic, life-sucking, happiness-stifling baggage I lugged around for all those years. I want to, so badly. And I can’t.

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