Best Years of Your Life

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Best years of your life? Or worst years of your life? When expressing their opinion on

their adolescence, most people, young or old, have an extreme view of it. When

interviewing people from different generations on their experiences of adolescence, we

find as many similarities as differences.

One of the biggest differences in the last generation and today’s, is that it takes much

longer to make the transition to adulthood. The generation after World War 11 considered

themselves adults, ready to marry and enter the work force, in their teens, right after high

school, and many left school to do so. Adolescences now, for the most part, view their

becoming adult involves being financially independent, therefore extending the years of

their adolescence. Continued education is a big part of today’s teenagers’ expectations,

which was not stressed as much for teenagers in the past.

While interviewing a twenty year old male, and a fifty-seven year old female, when

answering the question, ‘did most of the adolescents in your area attend high school’, the

older said ‘yes’, but had several friends who did not graduate, while the younger said all

of his friends graduated. Asked, ‘what was the most nagging problem as a teenager’, the

older person answered ‘clothes, and fitting in’, while the younger felt intense pressure to

be preparing for college and obtaining a lucrative career.

Asked ‘what was your clothes like’, both answered clothing was one of the

major concerns and stress factors in their lives. Keeping up with their peers fashion was

an important and sometimes unhappy part of both their experiences as adolescence.

The older person expressed the opinion that looking forward to marriage was a big

part of her adolescence, where the younger male said marriage was something for his late

thirties. When comparing dating as a teenager, both had similar curfews, although an

earlier age for dating was expressed by the younger person. He also stated that most of

his friends had no curfew, while the older said all of her friends had curfews. What they

did on dates differed in the fact that the younger person said ‘dating’ was not done as an

actual practice. While he did have girlfriends, they just ‘hung out’ together. The older

person said ‘dates’ involved going to movies mostly, and going to friends houses

together. She also was allowed to date on Friday and Saturdays only, which the younger

person was not restricted to.

The question, ‘how did you get along with your parents’ had major differences. The

older person thought her relationship with her parents, was good. While having the usual

disagreements teenagers have with parents , she felt close to her parents, and felt little

pressure from them. The male said he felt pressured by his parents to perform

well in school, and didn’t think his parents took into account his personal feelings and


Along with that question, when asked about working while attending school, both had

jobs while in high school, but with differences. The younger had not wanted a job, while

the older did. Also different, was that the older contributed to the family income, while

the younger did not.

When asked what advise and suggestions would they give to today’s adolescence,

both gave the answer of enjoying it more, as it passes so quickly. The simple things, of

‘just hanging out with friends’, was the answer both gave for their favorite memories.

After comparing the answers from both, it’s interesting that when asked, ‘would you

like to relive your adolescence, the twenty year old answered that he felt to still be in his

adolescence, while the fifty-seven year old answered with a ‘no’. She went on to explain,

even though she did enjoy her teenage years, she loved her adult life of wife and mother

much more....
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