7 Indignities of Youth

Elders flaunt the indignities of their youth to validate their superiority to younger generations.

Elders flaunt the indignities of their youth to validate their superiority. Image of a shadowing superhero.

50 years ago you could listen to your neighbors’ phone conversations on the party line. The trimline phone was an innovation. The closest thing to privacy was a long telephone cord that allowed you to hide in the hall closet and whisper to your friends.

Life was hard.

Image of a trimline phone.

When I was young the Internet wasn’t even a twinkle in DARPA’s eye. I guess we can thank the military for email and TCP/IP. Social media was passing notes in school. Facetime was Dick Tracy’s sci-fi watch.  

Dick Tracy's watch.

Image source: Dick Tracy Tweets, after Chester Gould | Mike Licht

7 Indignities of my youth:

  1. Spellcheck was Webster’s Dictionary.
  2. Searching online was the World Book Encyclopedia.
  3. Eating breakfast and dinner as a family every day.
  4. Raw milk, red meat, eggs from chickens not the store.
  5. Paper maps.
  6. TV’s had rabbit ears and tin foil.
  7. 10,000 steps a day was achieved by getting up to change the TV channel. (There were three choices.)

My youngest son experienced his own indignities of youth. He had to get off the Internet to use the phone. Our dial-up modem pumped information at 14.4 kilobytes per second (Not megabytes or gigabytes).

Life is hard. The benefits of difficulty include:

  1. Personal growth.
  2. Empathy.
  3. Adaptability.
  4. Grit.
  5. Gratitude.
  6. Humility.
  7. Work ethic.

Every generation whines about its own indignities. Difficulty makes some delightful and others repulsive. The way you face challenges shapes who you become.

PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) shows up in five ways.

  1. Appreciation of life.
  2. Relationships with others.
  3. New possibilities in life.
  4. Personal strength.
  5. Spiritual change.

Tip: One key to PTG is meaning-making. Reflect on who you are becoming based on your responses to the indignities of life.

What do life’s indignities teach us?

How might you maximize your current experience for growth?

Still curious:

Tom Rath on Getting the Most From Adversity

4 Surprising Times to Express Gratitude

Why Purpose Matters: The 7 Powers of Purpose