After scrambling around my flat for ten minutes trying to find plugs, adaptors, cables, and sockets I sat down to gather myself. I am constantly charging things, and always lacking in sockets to charge them in.
I feel like everything I own needs to be charged daily. And I need them all. Well, I guess it depends on how you define a need because evidently, my definition of need is rather infantile. Regardless, I believe I need my laptop for work (or procrastination), my phone for day to day activities (minor social media addiction and irrational phobia of being lost and stranded), and my kindle to get me through the many, many metro rides I take. I need my music speaker to get me ready for the day and thanks to a (requested) Christmas present, I now must charge my earphones too.
On top of these many ‘necessary’ items, I need somewhere to plug in the television, the chrome cast, the Wi-Fi router, the kettle, the microwave, the fridge and then there’s the lamps, the hairdryer and the mini portable radiator (that has been passed off to us from our landlord because the real one is broken, cheers) and the extension leads themselves to allow for more plugs.
Perhaps to some people, plug sockets are never a concern but when you live in a studio flat and already have multiple extension leads in use – it becomes a worry.
And then there’s the problem of adaptors. I have one plug that can adapt an Irish plug to a Spanish one, and that is not enough for the many, many Irish/British bought technologies I own.
In reality, the worst outcome of my daily plug wars is that one or two items take the hit and don’t get charged. I don’t listen to music on my speaker as I get ready to leave and maybe I go to work with my hair wet and I am okay with that – most of the time.
The real worry that brought on this technology filled overload of thought, is that it’s only going to get worse. My products need to be charged more and more all the time, as their battery slowly drains. And then I’ll have to buy a new version which might bring along with it its own form of plug war hell.
But really, things are going to develop to get so much more complicated. Soon, everything is going to need to be charged. The fact that we live in a world where ‘Smart homes’ actually exist and aren’t just referencing that episode of the Simpsons where they get the Ultra house 3000 (the house plots to kill Homer to have Marge all to itself – if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now it is hilarious) is a bizarre thought.
On top of this – it’s now considered normal to have a little speaker in the corner of your room that you can talk to and ask questions (Alexa/Google home). If you had told me ten years ago that at this point, I would need to charge my books and my earphones, I wouldn’t have believed you – and right now that’s the most normal of the lot.
When will it end? Will I have to charge my shoes soon? My cutlery? My brain?
I recently found out that I am not the correct age to be considered a millennial, that the year I was born is just after the cut-off point so I am technically categorized as Generation Z. To my surprise, I was left inexplicably unhappy and with a sour taste in my mouth at the thought of my new label.
I have spent the last number of years believing I was a millennial. I was under the impression that I was the prime age to be considered a millennial, that it simply characterized a twenty-something who could not fathom how to save for a mortgage or plan for the future, and spent their time caring about things like ‘success porn’ (the romanticized, polished and ultimately unrealistic image of what it means to be successful, think #GirlBoss and so on), social media presence and avocado toast, and that people in their early thirties that banged on about millennials only discussed it because it was a trend or buzz word that seemed to draw attention. Not because they were the millennials but because our generation was the trendy one that everyone talked about – the center of attention.
But that bubble has quickly burst and although I shouldn’t allow myself to be categorized or labeled it seems to have had an effect on me. I didn’t quite believe it at first and there was a lot of conflicting opinions online, but after much research, the general consensus is that Generation Z began with people born in the year 1995 (that’s me).
The problem for me is that I am at the older end of Generation Z. I grew up without a mobile phone until I got the classic Nokia 3310 when I was eleven for emergencies (and to play snake), I had to patiently await the dial-up connection whenever I decided I wanted to use the internet on our clunky family computer, and I sort of remember the 9/11 attacks and the great recession, but none of this was to the same extent as millennials.
I didn’t grow up with instant connection to the world, and I don’t remember having a lot of modern technology around while growing up. I didn’t create a Facebook account until about the age of 14 and I didn’t own a smartphone until my second year of University.
Although I didn’t initially feel connected to ‘my generation’ that grew up online, that are glued to their phones and have access to modern learning tools and information at the touch of a finger, in a way I wasn’t too far from that.
Though the first phone I had was effectively a brick, I still had one at a pretty young age. And even though I did have to use a dial-up connection to connect to the internet, when I did, I messaged my friends on MSN and downloaded music, and even though there wasn’t much technology around, I was considered an expert at it all and would be enlisted to help my parents to do things like save their contacts to their sim when changing phones and so on.
I think it’s important to realize that although the way I grew up seems old fashioned and outdated now, at the time it was advanced and overwhelming, mainly to those older than me. Now we see so many advancements every day that we are desensitized and so far beyond the ‘television makes your eyes go square’ myth that it is important to appreciate and revel in what I had growing up, what they had before me and what we have now.
We are advancing at a rate so fast, that we don’t even have time to adapt to it. No time to revel or acknowledge the progress being made. It’s no wonder that people are constantly having social media detoxes or having days to turn off their Wi-Fi and be unreachable.
I think Generation Z are berated and pitied because they don’t know a life of playing outside with their own imagination or calling over to their friend’s house instead of texting or reading a good book instead of wasting time on social media. But really, generation Z have just been welcomed into a world filled with daily milestone advancements in technology and they’re just trying to navigate the world and work with their environment and with what they’ve been given.
And while the generations above are complaining about the negatives of social media, the unsociable behaviour and resisting the advancements themselves, Generation Z are learning more about the world that is developing around them, connecting and embracing the future that we are being thrust in to at a sometimes alarming rate.
As I am at the midpoint of relating to both Millennials and generation Z in different ways, I must ride it out and embrace both views and experiences.
Like my peers, I want more fulfillment from my job and my life than generations before me. I want to create an ultimate work-life balance and build a future that is convenient and satisfying for me, and I don’t want to fear technology and what’s in store for us.
So, I think I’m gonna’ stick with my new label after all.