I am certainly not the first to notice -- or to bemoan -- the perpetual adolescence of my generation (that is, the Baby Boom Generation). And I readily acknowledge that I cannot exempt myself from my own condemnation. (That being said, I can unequivocally state that I have never worn a baseball cap backwards.)
However, reading one of Giacomo Leopardi's Thoughts (Pensieri) a few years ago, I had occasion to consider whether I was being too harsh on my generation. To wit: is it possible that life itself is much more adolescent, much more childish, than we imagined it would be when we "grew up"? Here is Leopardi:
"Assuredly that which first, and perhaps above everything else, strikes with wonder the minds of well-educated young men on their entrance into the world, is the frivolity of the ordinary occupations, the pastimes, the talk, the inclinations, and the dispositions of society in general. Most of them, it is true, soon become accustomed to this frivolous mode of life, and adapt themselves to it, though not without pain and difficulty. It appears to them at first that they have become children again; and so it really is for those who have been well-educated and who possess good natural abilities.
Such persons, when they commence to live, as it is called, must, as it were, retrace their course and infantilise themselves as much as possible. They discover that it was a delusion to imagine that it was their business to become men in their thoughts and actions and to put away all remnants of childhood. For, on the contrary, men in general, however old they grow in years, always continue to live in great part like children."
Giacomo Leopardi, Pensieri, LXX, in Essays, Dialogues and Thoughts (translated by James Thomson) (1905), pages 366-367.
So, am I being too hard on my generation? Is perpetual adolescence the way of the world? Could it be -- perish the thought! -- that Baby Boomers are not distinctively immature? I shall leave that determination to posterity.