This isn’t intended to disrespect – it’s merely an observation.
I feel like I’m out of the loop. I’m getting older. Seven months ago, 30 happened. It wasn’t half as bad as people who hadn’t yet reached it made it out to be. Within a span of two weeks I spent time in Indianapolis before the Super Bowl, spoke at Morehouse College in Atlanta, proposed in the clouds atop a volcano in Maui, surfed the Pacific, partied in Vegas and flew back to Atlanta for dinner at Frank Ski’s Restaurant. I sat in seat 1-A and spent the next weeks traveling to Chicago, D.C., Miami and New York. Not too bad for an “old” 30 year old.
Although my knees ache more than they did at 29, and I don’t bounce back from a weekend in Vegas as quickly as I used to, 30 isn’t too different than 20. We still like to have a good time; we’re just selective and responsible about it. And we still wil’ out; we’re just more private about it. It eventually dawned on me that Jay-Z was right: 30 is the new 20…unless the Democratic National Convention is on.
While the DNC was on, the MTV Video Music Award show was also on. Terrible timing! Thankfully, it was the slow portion of the Democratic National Convention. Attempting to hold onto my youth, I experienced a complete disconnect flipping between DNC and MTV. I went from a cute young curly-haired college kid introducing Jill Biden, to a long-haired Lil’ Wayne falling out and wiggling on the floor like a kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of Toys R Us. Chris Brown’s hair was blue & yellow, and Nicki Minaj had Christmas lights upon her clothing. I felt like a 30 year old who decided 30 seconds of watching the VMAs was 30 seconds too many. Did I lose my connection with the culture?
It wasn’t a cultural disconnect, but more of a renewed self-awareness. It’s cool to observe what the younger generation is doing, but use that cool to understand and help lead that generation. Become involved in the political process and vote on policies that will affect the youth. Speak their language so that you can relate to them and so you’re authentic, but don’t feel forced to fit into a world you’ve somewhat grown apart from. It’s not about age; it’s about maturity. It’s not just about making moves; it’s about growth. It’s about stepping into adulthood.
“I used to let my pants sag, not givin’ a ****,
Baby boy, now I’m all grown up.
I used to cruise the used car lot, put chrome on the truck,
Baby boy, now I’m all grown up.
Now I got black cards, good credit and such,
Baby boy, cause I’m all grown up.” –Jay Z, “30 Something”
Some of the younger generation says politics are a boring waste of time. I disagree. Much of my generation believes awareness of politics is essential. The DNC had 35.7 million viewers. The VMA’s had 6.1 million viewers. Numbers don’t lie. Perhaps that’s something we all can agree on.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up book – “GENTLEWOMAN: Etiquette for a Lady from a Gentleman.” Check his Website Bereolaesque.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as Facebook.