It’s something that’s constantly at the forefront of our minds recently. Whether it’s after a long day of lectures or simply because ‘why not?’, it seems that now more than ever the population has nurtured an obsession with Going Out. Reasonable as it may be with the hurdles we’ve overcome throughout this past year and a half, I beg the question: Is it entirely because of the previous restrictions that we are taking advantage of every opportunity to let loose? Furthermore, are we pushing ourselves too far?
This is a country known for its culture, namely the “social drinking” that is double-stitched into its very fabric. We are a people that brag about how “gone” we were the previous night, we boast about our aptitude at the sesh and capability for “keeping up”. This is a country that celebrates the act of partying in itself, whether you are good or indeed bad at it. But is this gloating revelry a blanket to cover something deeper? Aside from the merrymaking and tomfoolery, our dear Emerald Isle has also seen many scenes of travesty and heartbreak, on both a nationwide and personal scale. From internal struggle to fights on the battlefield, we always seem to find a night out in the local pub is the perfect pairing to wash down whatever joy, sorrow or even fury that arise as a result.
It’s what our parents have done.
It’s what our grandparents have done.
And it’s what we find ourselves doing as well.
Yet with the pressure of social media and the perfection mindset that holds our generation hostage, would it be fair to say that the young people of today are more susceptible to the “work hard, party harder” lifestyle? My answer would be a strong yes. Not to say that those before us haven’t gone through woeful tragedy or had a happy-go-lucky life, but what can be seen is that every person on this planet is constantly switched on and tuned in to the negative side of our Earth, we are incessantly exposed to a down-side. All the while, a filtered lifestyle is being advertised to us as a norm. It’s not a wonder to find that more and more people feel greatly underwhelmed and underappreciative of their own lives.
This is where the perfection mindset creeps in, putting even more pressure on the youth of today to strive for more, quicker. To be that step ahead of everyone else. To be “successful”. But what does success mean to the youth of today? To own a house perhaps, to be financially comfortable, maybe even travel for a little bit. All of this was the norm for generations before us. It was standard to have a house and live a simple life and enjoy it. It was accepted to be happy with being content, to live “simply”.
Nowadays, however, we have become addicted to improvement. We feel bored or even lost when we run out of goals to strive for. We feel weak when we can’t juggle that work hard, play harder lifestyle. And with nightlife reopening once again after a year and a half of close contact being the taboo, we all feel that extra pressure to party, to keep up. But is this running us into burnout? Are we reaching for too much?
With everyone re-learning how to function as a social society, we can feel almost overwhelmed to grasp for every rung of the ladder that will bring us back to our old reality, and in turn accept every invitation to a party, launch ourselves into every social event that we can fit in while we aren’t studying or working. But will this making up for lost time eventually lead to another crisis on the mental and physical well-being of today’s youth that an already thin support system cannot stretch to accommodate?
We as students are known for going out, for finding our limits through experience rather than thinking things through. Yet with our young people being subjected to crisis after crisis, blow after blow, is it really a marvel that more and more of us are turning to escape via substance? Perhaps we should seek more viable solutions. Perhaps we should see the silver lining. Perhaps these positives should make themselves more available, more reliable, and more accessible so we shouldn’t have to resort to escape. Maybe those powers that be should work in favour of its country’s youth instead of cushioning old property tycoons that take care of their associates. But maybe we’re just like our parents and grandparents who asked for the same thing.
Rhoen Eate – Features Editor