My father’s uncoolness and the age of discontent

The age of content starts with just one person

My father lives a boring, unassuming life, which no one in this generation would ever aspire to

He has a set routine — a large amount of that goes into daily chores like bathing, eating, exercising etc. He hasn’t travelled to a single country and vehemently opposes any proposal to do so. The only way one day differs from the other is that it doesn’t. 

Our hunger for travel, whatever the purpose — be it enrichment, thrill, a break, or soaking in cultures from different geographies — dies on him. Most of us are bored most of the time, and need constant stimulation — from reels to food to travel. We are perennially searching for that elusive contentment, moving from one dopamine hit to the other. And that’s because we millennials were born in a life of abundance and convenience, always chasing the next high. 

Gen Z, on the other hand, is smelling all the gloom and doom around them, holding on to this dying planet and withering hope. They are doing everything in their capacity, subscribing to fluidity, sustainability, ethically sourced and what not, in their bid to save humanity and carrying discontent on their shoulders while at it. 

This era of discontent, which started with the 2008 crisis, saw Covid-19, is now witnessing a looming recession, the rise of conservatism and falling democracy. The socio-economic situation is bound to make its way into our personal lives. And while Instagram Reels can help us cope with it or rather divert our attention from it, they can’t change the bigger disasters waiting to happen.

The age of discontent is upon us. It is a period of volatility, as the ebb and flow of the stock market and changing interest rates around the world would tell you. It’s the era of inconvenience, and I believe it has its reason to be here. Furthermore, it is not necessarily the crystal ball of impending dark times, but a jolt to tell us to put our act together. It’s the era of eruptions and tsunamis, which will hopefully pave the way for calmer seas, once it has taken its due from us. 

We are fighting back…

The great resignation, thinking about our mental health first, living a life which doesn’t borrow a leaf from capitalism, and pushing back the conventional playbook of success are all our attempts in that direction. We are fighting for our happiness against all odds, against the system of rigid values and set choices. 

It’s said that our individual life is merely a micro reflection of the bigger game being played at a global and national level. It’s said that the broader political and economic scenarios shape our individual discontent. While that might be true, I also believe that the age of content will start individually. The citizens of the world, one person at a time, will find their moorings, discover the joy of mindfulness, and discard the straitjackets handed over to them just after their birth certificates were signed. They will slowly and surely but silently reject the system which only considers the planet to be today’s resource to exploit. 

The age of content will start with just one person, and change the political and economic system from the ground up, like the tremor which originates deep down from one point and manifests at the surface on a wider level — without the destruction though, I hope.

And maybe then, living life like my father — being mindful of eating, exercising, and bathing, not looking at travel as one wonder drug to take away all our pains and learning to be happy with his people, his place, and his surroundings — will be cool again.  Because I know he might not be well travelled with stories to tell from the multiple encounters, but definitely he is content. 

Here to hope: from dis-content to this-content. Cheers!

Featured image: Marcelo Cidrack / Unsplash

Neeraj Sharma, Senior Vice President, Strategy at L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, Mumbai

Neeraj is often baffled by the dichotomy of human behaviour – how intelligent and how stupid we all are at the same time. He believes that this should be the bedrock for any brand or communication strategy. He is a big proponent of calling people, people and not consumers. See them in 3D and a beautiful picture emerges, giving you a strategy that works

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