Youth culture is a beautiful thing. An artistic project matching how a young person feels is proof they're understood and the feeling of psychological survival all rolled into one. I mean, have you ever looked at an album, an artist, a song, a movie, or a show like it was an "it's-okay-to-be-you" license? The creativity and the must-have-authenticity (if it's not real, it won't last) that surrounds a youth-oriented project reminds us—no matter the age—that a loud enough voice can be heard. Special enough projects can serve as a palette cleanser that pushes out the old and makes way for the new like only the combination of creativity, humanity, and the flow of the universe can.
But I recently discovered that the impact of youth culture can leave a bigger impact later.
People born in the 1980s watched the show Full House. At the time, it was just a fun, family show filled with sayings like, "You got it, dude" and "How rude!" It felt good to watch.
Now people born in the 1980s have Netflix and Netflix streams Fuller House. Why? Because Fuller House is a great show? Eh. Because there's already a built-in audience? Sure, that helps. Because it had an impact on us when we were little and now we reminisce about that impact? Bingo.
Whether it's a show, an album, a song, an artist, or a teacher—at the time it's being presented, it's just what's present (sometimes there's a huge impact, sometimes there's not), but later—the emotion, the message, and the authenticity leaves its mark and the impression/influence is felt on a deeper level.
Do you secretly want to dress the way you did when you were 17? How do you feel when you listen to the music you liked in high school?
Kids born in 1992 were around 16 when the Great Recession hit. Now those young people are around 24. At the time of the recession, their parents most likely talked about how they needed to cut back and be more resourceful. Look at a 24 year old today—that resourcefulness is visible in their style, their lifestyle habits and their sticker-covered laptops.
Youth culture is freeing, liberating, impressionable, and expressive—all without saying those words. I felt my coolness level drop a notch just for typing that sentence.
With all its beauty, why do so many of us leave it? Is your condo cooler than how you felt when you were introduced to the creativity that identified who you were and exposed you to how you really felt? Sure, responsibilities happen, but I dare you to get out that album, bring up that song on youtube, and/or carve out some time tonight to pursue that idea you once had. The emotion behind it is like medicine for the soul.