I went to Paris on the day of the brexit vote and it was awkward
What a weird week. On Friday morning I woke up, checked my newsfeed, swore loudly, and ran out of the house to catch the Eurostar.
For me, the Brexit results coincided exactly with a bizarrely luxurious trip to Paris. I took a punt on a competition with Coca-cola, and actually won it. I wasn't sure what to expect, but as it turned out the prize 'trip to see the Euros in Paris' included unlimited champagne, two michelin starred meals, a free tablet computer and an actual driver. Yes. For 48 hours, I had an actual real life driver. It was pretty surreal.
In fact it was brilliant, but I can't pretend it wasn't tinged with sadness. The results of the referendum left me feeling deflated. Not because I expect the economic fall-out to have tangible effects on my personal day-to-day (that said, please oh please jesus don't let me lose my job), but because it felt like a triumph of press sensationalism and ministerial selfishness over simple practicality and global progress. I feel angry that the media and political systems have let my country down, and I feel angry that only a third of people my age bothered to turn out and have a say in their own futures.
Most of all though it left me feeling angry at, and a million miles apart from, the older generation.
We, the people under thirty, a generation just starting our careers after the last catastrophic recession, were raised on sharing, collaboration and the movement of information. To us geographical boundaries feel pretty irrelevant. The world feels small, and is small, and the lines that divide it up are to us little more than historical artifacts. A leftover marker from a bygone age, like a weathered gravestone or a shard of pottery.
For us this is not only a step into the unknown, but a step backwards. It feels completely at odds with how we now live, but we will have to live with it.