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Being a 13 year old now and being a 13 year old in the 70s

Following the other stories of growing up in different decades, we have another account of contrast during the 1970’s in Greece.

Life as a 13 year old in the present is very different from life as a 13 year old in the 70’s. Today, we teenagers are vastly exposed to technology. We simply cannot escape from it, as it is all around us. I am on technology constantly. I’m addicted-simple as that. Whenever I have a chance to rest, I always go straight to my phone or my PS4. My PS4 allows me to immerse myself in fantastic worlds where I look for treasure in deserted islands, drive fast cars and can find myself in the middle of a raging battlefield. On my phone, I would be scrolling down the page on Instagram, looking at funny videos, seeing what my friends are up to, and stumbling over narcissistic images of “perfect” celebrities. Because of the exposure to people like that, more and more teenagers these days are becoming increasingly self-conscious, as social media encourages  them to look up to people who are portrayed as “role models.” I myself and boys in my class have changed drastically. We now find it difficult to walk out in public without looking good in every way. These pressures are changing our society and our relations to each other dramatically. Many times when I meet up with friends, we end up looking at our phones and not saying a word to one another. This is the society that we are co-creating and living in!

My mother’s world as a 13 year old was very different to mine. When she wasn’t at school, she spent her days reading poetry, writing in her diary and listening to music. She loved going for long walks to the Acropolis and the surrounding area, which was full of ancient ruins and beautiful neoclassical houses. She liked to spend her time in the Archaeological Museum, looking at treasures from thousands of years ago and inventing stories about them. My mother was very shy, she daydreamed and kept to herself a lot; in her thirteenth year, she returned to Greece after having spent four years in South Africa. She found it hard to adjust to her native country and it took her a while to make more friends. When she did, she liked talking about the meaning of life, about art and poetry with them. She loved spending time near the sea and writing letters to her favourite musicians.

Thinking about my mother as a thirteen year old and myself at the same age, I am struck by the fact that her world then seems a lot kinder, calmer and more appealing. I envy that world, but I also recognise that life pushes us forward relentlessly.

I guess that every world is unique in the eye of its beholder.

Anonymous

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