You go, Gen Y!

I have always felt both sad and a little guilty that, in the dust of the baby boomers, the Gen Xers never really had the opportunity to grab the world by the tail.

September 11, 2014 | | Autumn 2014 | Back Issues | Departments | Editor’s Desk | In Every Issue

When Liz Beatty turned in her story on the Orangeville Fanboys, I confess the opening words stopped me in my tracks. “Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheldon Cooper …” Whoa, who is Sheldon Cooper? I got as far as “Shel…” in my search engine when his name popped up (albeit right below Shell Canada). Not a technology magnate, but a sitcom character – who is, nevertheless, as Liz points out (and most of you probably already know), a cultural icon of no small magnitude. So my research for this issue involved watching a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which is (as most of you also probably already know) pretty funny.

Another confession: It may just be the smugness, but I have always felt both sad and a little guilty that, in the dust of the baby boomers, the Gen Xers never really had the opportunity to grab the world by the tail, to feel that exhilarating surge of energy, hope and sheer power that galvanized the post-war generation.

But with Gen Y – in a phrase probably overused in this issue – that all seems set to change. We talk to several 20- and 30-somethings who are passionately bent on just that – changing things. And who seem to have the confidence, the courage and the technological chops to get the job done.

Better yet, these are not dot-com types, imagining a future through the plate-glass medium of a corporate office tower. They are country kids, local farmers and artists – who don’t buy the notion that the things they are passionate about have to be sacrificed in the pursuit of an economically viable career.

The young farmers interviewed by Yevgenia Casale and the young artists at Club Art interviewed by Liz Beatty are every bit as idealistic as their baby-boomer forebears, but they’ve ditched the rose-coloured glasses. They don’t spurn the principles of business, they retool them to fulfill their own aspirations. And, perhaps most encouraging, they see those aspirations as inextricably linked to the well-being of their broader community.

And that’s good news for an aging baby boomer like me – because it really is time to pass the torch. I have often hoped that the youthful dreams of my generation, that blended the notions of individual fulfillment with civic duty, didn’t go so much off the rails as underground, biding their time for the next revolution. In my less codgerly moments, I even like to think they laid the foundation for the flowering of this new generation.

So over to you, Gen Y. Make it happen.

Signe Ball




About the Author More by Signe Ball

Signe Ball is publisher/editor of In The Hills.


1 Comment

  1. Before I even got to the next generation farmer stories in the fall issue, I wanted to write immediately when I read the editor’s note [“You Go, GenY!”]. I’m neither a baby boomer nor a Gen Y – I guess I’d be an Xer – but I share your optimism and excitement for the future around their desire to turn to essential work, applying modern technology, lessons from the rat race, and social and environmental responsibility along the way. I’d been hoping to see something like this happen, and it looks like it’s time for that hope to bloom. Thank you for summing it up so nicely. Go, Gen Y!

    Jennifer Payne from Mono on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Reply

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