Sep 21, 2017, 07:00AM

Where Do They All Belong?

Lack of instruction prepares youth for lonely lives.

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In my very first article for Splice Today, I wrote about loneliness in our modern world. Since that time, I've developed a more nuanced understanding of the situation, though it hasn't invalidated my previous observations. What I began to understand was that not only do millennials live in a world that inadvertently fosters a culture of loneliness, they are also not learning the skills that could help them get out of that hole.

The biggest issue I ran into was when people lamented the fact that they had no method of transportation, in many cases this was intentionally withheld from them under the logic that they will be more mature if they learn to drive in their mid-twenties. Of course, this lack of experience is going to be more detrimental than brain maturity, which in the end is counterproductive. Having a car in a country with underfunded public transit and suburban sprawl carries a significant boost in autonomy.

This also extends to both financial literacy and even basic social skills. It's jarring when my neurotypical friends remark on the ease that I have interacting with other people. Others don't have the skills to manage their finances because their parents didn't teach them how. This has a compounding impact of making navigation through social situations and financial hardship alike all the more difficult, and interferes with a healthy state of progression towards independence.

While it's easy to scoff at this and say that this is a trivial problem, the consequences of withholding touchstones to adulthood can reverberate for decades. With that lack of progression, the sense of loneliness that millennials face is exacerbated. Now, scientists are beginning to discover that the impacts of this are underestimated. Without the skills to proceed, the lonely will likely turn to distractions and escapism to fill the emotional void. But, could it ever really be a good substitute for fulfilling connections with other human beings?


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