Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It’s January, the time to start over with New Year’s resolutions, projects and plans.

First, let’s review a bit from last year: 2007 included news about sub-prime mortgage defaults, high levels of obesity, sleep deprivation and its impact and a teenage pop star being pregnant.

One might say that today’s events could have been predicted. 

When you purchase a home with little to no money down, no credit history and no guarantee of income, it should come as no surprise to your lender when you can’t keep up with the payments.

If you eat a lot of fast food, drink a lot of soft drinks and rarely exercise, there is a pretty good chance that you will become overweight. 

If you do not get enough sleep or good quality sleep, it should come as no surprise if you become sleep deprived and unable to function at your peak performance level. A recent report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds you might also be more susceptible to diabetes.

I won’t mention what activity leads to teenage pregnancy – if you’re not sure, ask your mother.

While some outcomes might have been predictable, that fact did not curb our behavior.

As a subscriber to Wordsmith.org’s a.word.a.day newsletter, I receive e-mails with words and definitions.  Last week, two of them resonated as examples of where we might be as a society: adultescent and chav. 

Adultescent (uh-duhl-TES-uhnt), noun, is “an adult whose activities and interests are typically associated with youth culture.” 

Chav (chav), noun, is “A youth whose behavior is marked by ignorance, aggression, and a fondness for jewelry and clothing.”

At times it appears as if our society is chasing after youth culture, hoping that we can stay forever young, often acting as chavs rather than adults. 

After all, being responsible is often thought of as dull, boring and old fashioned.  While this might be an acceptable excuse for the teenage pop star, it wears a bit thin for those of us over 25. 

Joel Kotkin’s end-of-the-year Washington Post article, “Playing That '70s Funk Again, But Not in a Good Way,” outlines his view that the economy, foreign competition, political and business climates and the environment are all in crisis.  He compares today’s current feeling to the malaise of three decades ago.

I can remember the high gas prices (and long lines), the headlines that focused on stagflation.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.