The Case of the Non-Posts

In other news, I’ve been reading up on how to alter Gallery to my needs (mostly layout… I like the features sans modification), and in general acting like a slacker when it comes to actual work. I suspect it is because of this medication I am on, but I haven’t really been able to think for most of the month. This has made getting my schoolwork done somewhat more challenging that I’d like… rather hard to give critical thought on a book or concept when you can’t seem to concentrate enough to think about ANYTHING. I’ll slog through it, though, and hopefully it will pick up from there. (Yes yes, I know, “Hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE!” I’m working on it.)

I had an interesting conversation with some woman today, while waiting for our respective cars to be dealt with down at the dealership where I get my car serviced. She’s in her early 60s, and has been wandering around for the past year or so, camping and exploring. We exchanged pleasantries, and memories of favorite campgrounds, and as she left, she said that she was pleased to see someone my age getting out and enjoying nature.

It seems that most people my age don’t really travel like that anymore. Not the majority of them, anyway. The general visitor demographic at national parks hasn’t stayed the same over the years, it has instead gotten older. The big chunk of visitors are the same people they always were… it’s just that those people have aged.

I wonder why that is, but I have a few answers already on the tip of my tongue. First and foremost: children rarely want to do the same thing as their parents. It is the very principle of rebellion. The young feel chafed by models set up by their elders, and fight to make themselves into something different, often at the cost of really worthwhile, wonderful activities and beliefs. Another thought that immediately comes to mind actually fits in with the first: we as a generation JUST DON’T CARE. We are the children of activists, do-gooders, meddlers, and workaholics, ignored and at the same time fussed over to the point of insanity. We see the long hours our parents put in, we see the rushing and the stress and the hopeless causes, and we become disillusioned by it. We are rushed off to summer camps and daycares for our early lives, and if by some chance the family does take a vacation, it is scheduled, organized, trying to cram as much into a short period of time as possible. There is no appreciation there: there isn’t TIME to appreciate it, so what’s the point? But we’re raised in this miasma of overplanning, time limits, and deadlines, so we don’t know that there is anything more TO appreciate about these places.

That was a bit more of a rant than I wanted it to be, but it doesn’t make it any less true: the new generation is never going to appreciate the wonders the world has to offer until they are given a chance to make that decision for themselves, to make their OWN destiny. All you aging pundits out there: shut the fuck up and let the new generation make their own mistakes. The more you mollycoddle, the more you create your own prognosticated “apathetic generation”.

3 thoughts on “The Case of the Non-Posts

  1. I just want to add, in response to your thoughts about our generation not going out into nature as much…

    We also have WAY more indoor activities to choose from than our parents’ generation ever did.

    We have computers with email and games and a whole unfathomable internet network of information to explore… It’s a wonderful tool but people do tend to use it indoors and alone.

    We are able to interact in virtual environments that are being more and more realistically rendered for our xbox (or PS2 or Nintendo or whatever). And those game realities come without the sunburns or the insect bites or the need for hiking boots. And what about the tiresome climbing of hills to get past the boring landscape and out to where it’s truly beautiful? Is it any wonder in our increasingly-overweight culture that people are choosing less “active” activities? (I could get into a “chicken-or-egg” argument about the lack of activity or the overweight-ness coming first, but then I’d start ranting about the fast-food nation so lets not go there)

  2. Very interesting insights!

    And I pretty much agree, though I feel at least some of it started in my generation and most certainly in the more urban parts of it. Think television.

    I hope we didn’t mollycoddle you guys too much.


  3. I agree with Mickey’s comments about indoor distractions (TV, games, PCs, etc.) competing with the time to be outdoors enjoying nature.

    There are other factors that limit “the younger generation” and their ability to get outdoors.

    Time is one factor. Work and communting don’t always leave much time for recreational activities during the week or weekend. Young workers usually only get two weeks of vacation when they first become employed, as compared to five or six weeks in Europe. There are lots of places that compete for one’s time (beaches, Las Vegas, Paris, and so on) and outdoor activities can take a low priority.

    Location is another factor. Many of us live and work in large urban areas and it isn’t easy to get to a natural area without having to drive or fly large distances.

    A third factor is money. It is easier to get to a natural setting if you have the excess disposible income to do so. The younger generation often has college debts to repay and don’t have the earning power yet to set money aside for vacation trips.

    I agree with your observation about the demographics in the national parks. There were lots of older folks (older than me, even!) seen in the national parks during my recent PhotoTrek from Arches to Zion. The great majority of these older folks were on tour buses so they only stopped at convenient overlook points — they saw nature but they really didn’t experience it. I did see a lot of younger people in the parks but many of them were from Europe and Asia. They were seen on the various hiking trails where the tour bus folks didn’t have the time or capability to see.

    As our population continues to increase and encroach on wilderness areas, I hope there will still be enough uncrowded nature to see and photograph when you get to my age.

    Sorry if I’m meddling….

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