I knew I was getting old the day I saw a car commercial where the driver was clearly younger than I am.
So here’s an interesting bit of news: Generation Y doesn’t like to drive. According to Reuter’s “America’s Generation Y not driven to drive,” the Millennials think driving is more of a hassle than it’s worth. A California think tank analyst, Tony Dudzik says instead of a driver’s license, a cell phone is the new rite of passage for young adults.
The article points to a few different reasons why Generation Y may be less interested in driving:
- Smart phones make it easier to know public transportation schedules
- More Gen-Yers are riding bikes
- People are more concerned about saving the planet
- Car-sharing services are making it easier not to have to own a car
From a cultural perspective, this makes total sense. Gen Y is the hipster culture. The kids in Williamsburg who listen to low-fi indie music on their hi-tech iphone, knit water-bottle cozies that they sell on etsy, ride their bicycles to work, buy their clothes from Buffalo Exchange, spend their weekends at the food coop, brew their own craft beer, and vlog on YouTube. If they drive, they drive hybrids. Because they’re all about the i-this and the i-that, they seek out community more intentionally. Who needs a car, if your friend or parents (they also happen to be the Peter Pan Generation, living at home after college) have one?
I personally fall somewhere between Gen X and Gen Y, making me part of Generation Flux. Generation X refers to people born between the early 1960s and 1980s, while Generation Y refers those born between the late 1970s and the 2000s. I know when I was growing up, there were a lot of cultural arts programs in the school about saving the rainforest and saving the whales, we studied acid rain and the ozone layer, and we joined KAP: Kids Against Pollution. In drivers ed, they pretty much terrified you with statistics, photos, and videos that suggested it was likely you were going to die if you got behind the wheel. The shows that were popular when I was a teen were Mad About You, Seinfeld, Friends, Will & Grace, and Sex and the City, all of which were set in New York City. Other popular shows like Ally McBeal, Frasier, and ER were also set in cities. Our stars didn’t drive. They took cabs and rode the subway. Is it any surprise that we moved into the city and followed suit?
So will a generation who grew up watching Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and Snooki getting arrested for driving under the influence and/or crashing their cars, a generation coming of age during the Great Recession, a generation who doesn’t care about driving, embrace the 1950s road trip adventure of On the Road when the movie comes out and the novel by Jack Kerouac it is based on? Well, here’s another interesting twist: Jack Kerouac didn’t like driving either. If you read his novel, you’ll see that most of the time, the character based on him in the novel is on the bus or in the passenger seat.
How do you feel like the era you grew up in influenced you?
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