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Emmy Griffin / September 22, 2022

Young American Adults Are Miserable

It’s so obvious that even the Harvard Gazette is talking about it.

Your 18-25th years of life are supposed to be among your most hopeful and optimistic. This is the time when the majority of Americans start their journey into adulthood. Whether that looks like college, immediately entering the workplace, or even starting a family, these are the hopes and joys of early adulthood, and life should be full of potential.

Sadly, American men and women in this demographic today are miserable.

The director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, Tyler VanderWeele, has been conducting a study and spoke about his findings in an interview with the Harvard Gazette. In the study, VanderWeele looked at the difference in the overall well-being and outlook of the 18-25 age demographic from 2000 and again over the past few years. In his own words: “We were beginning to see this in January 2020, right before the pandemic. But January 2022 was the first time it was just absolutely clear: across every dimension of well-being that we looked at — happiness, health, meaning, character, relationships, financial stability — each one was strictly increasing with age. Those who are 18 to 25 felt they were worse off across all these dimensions. It was pretty striking, pretty disturbing.”

It’s hard not to sympathize with Generation Z. Its members have been the first fully indoctrinated guinea pigs in today’s anti-religious, materialistic, hedonistic, and identity-politics society. The message of hope and striving toward a better society and life that is the story of America are lost on this generation because human significance has been boiled down to these shallow views. Eighteen- to 25-year-olds are perhaps the greatest victims of the overarching bigotry of low expectations.

Gen Zers have been inundated with this message of colorlessness and pointlessness from their schools, from social media, and from the government. No wonder they are turning to crime, drug abuse, and suicide. No wonder life expectancy has decreased for the second year in a row.

This generation is so hopeless that a few have gone to extremes like suing parents for the very act of having birthed them. In general, the Church hasn’t done a very good job of helping this generation wrestle with human suffering and evil. Neglecting to address how a good God can allow evil and suffering has allowed many to stray away from faith, family, and morality.

VanderWeele does state this very important tidbit of wisdom that was surprising and refreshing to read in the Harvard Gazette: “Study after study — ours and others’ — have indicated that family life and participation in religious communities contribute across these aspects of flourishing. And participation in both of those are down substantially.”

The Daily Wire’s Jeremy Adams has a poignant sentiment in his piece about this subject that is worth repeating: “We have robbed a generation of that precious and fleeting segment of life where everything seems possible, where love is still mysterious and friendship is rapturous, where unread books still possess enchanting treasures and the future seems to pulsate with high sounding words like grandeur, potentiality, and magic.”

That is why religious conservatives write. We want to restore what has been lost. We want to bring hope, goodness, truth, and beauty to this generation that has been led astray. When a researcher with the veneer of Harvard finally says what we have been saying all along, it is cause for rejoicing — and also doubling down on spreading that truth.

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