A couple weeks ago, I boarded a flight from Charlotte to my hometown of Seattle and noticed something intriguing.
Now, I never grew up hyper-observant of anything other than starting lineup rosters for the Sonics, Seahawks, and Mariners (and all the other teams in the NBA, NFL, and MLB…I love sports). However, it is a trait I’ve been working on since I realized its benefits: it broadens my perspective of my surrounding environment and, subsequently, can provide me with insight I would never gain otherwise.
Anyway, what was intriguing? Across the aisle and one row in front of me, a passenger was using the Headspace app on his phone. The catch is he could not have been older than 12 years old. To give context, Headspace is a mobile app which guides users through meditation exercises to relax and clear their mind. I have friends who use it and love it. Except I cannot help but think back to when I was in middle school, when *some* of us *may* have had flip phones, and that was if we were lucky.
I realize how old I sound, but that proves the point I’m trying to make: that age was already 10 years ago now for all of us recent college graduates (and soon-to-be graduates @co-op engineers). Time has flown by and the generation gap continues to close at a faster pace than it ever has before. And with that comes the trickling down, in age, of mental health issues in the youth. Now I am not trying to assume what that particular passenger may be going through, and I’m not judging him either. It was just fascinating to see someone younger than college-age using the app because I had never seen that before. And it opened my eyes to how fast the world is changing. We can point to so many factors as well: technology, social media, communication, among many others contribute to it. But that cannot be the final takeaway of seeing something like this.
In fact, it should introduce a conversation. It should spur so many questions for us to begin trying to answer:
How do we instill self-esteem in Generation Z and even Millennial students when they are clinging to outside forces for approval?
How do we convince someone, on an individual basis, that they are enough when they do not believe they are?
How can factors like technology and social media better us as people and challenge us to grow?
Our team is trying to answer these types of questions. We realize there are apps like Headspace which are extremely effective in their missions. And I hope that passenger has found value in using that app, whether he just wanted to relax or if other goals were involved.
I just think a smartphone should not be mandatory to maintain one’s mental hygiene.
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