The last few weeks of politics in this little place we call home have felt particularly bruising, although you might rightly ask yourself when is it ever not? Far from moving forwards, it feels like we're going backwards and it begs the question of where do we go from here?
There is an old phrase in politics that says if you don't like the outcomes of the meeting, change the people in the room. In little over a year, we will be in the midst of the election for the next Northern Ireland Assembly. Short of another NI21, we will be presented with the same choice of parties, but perhaps it's time to see some new faces stepping up to lead.
Generational shifts in all contexts come about for a variety of reasons. Some are forced by ambition, some happen by virtue of circumstances and some are well-planned succession strategies.
Age and experience should not be mutually exclusive with energy and ambition in politics. In fact, losing experience accrued over many years of honing your craft can be very damaging in any organisation. Political parties and institutions need both.
However, experience is a two-way street - what it adds with perspective and wisdom, it can take away with inflexibility and prejudice.
In politics, where age and experience become a real problem is when politicians become unable to see the wood for the trees. Their bruising years at the coal-face have meant relationships have been ruined along the way, unconscious (and conscious) prejudices have been developed and minds have become more closed than open to new ideas.
The "but this is the way we've always done it" mantra, where good ideas and creativity go to die, becomes the dominant political philosophy.
It's not difficult to cast your eye back to even the most recent history to see the myriad of examples of where challenges in relationships or views hardened by events have meant that important issues go unresolved.
The Northern Ireland Protocol impasse, an unfortunate cocktail of a lack of empathy, communication and pragmatism on both sides, is a case in point.
When this happens - and it's often unintentional - it's time for a generational change in leadership. The benefit of an injection of youth at the top of any organisation is that it is generally unshackled from past experience.
That doesn't mean the next generation don't have strong political views or principles, but they can often be better at seeing problems for what they are and getting into solutions mode. They are liberated to look at issues free from political baggage with a larger bank of that goodwill and trust to extend to political opponents that is so important to making Northern Ireland work.
As it happens, we are also at the cusp of a major technological revolution (arguably, it's already well underway). This presents vast swaths of major, complex societal questions around things like how we regulate the growth in artificial intelligence, how or whether we should regulate freedom of speech in an anonymous online world and how we address a climate crisis that threatens our very existence.
That doesn't mean our older generation of political leaders are incapable of understanding these problems, or developing the right solutions, but they are naturally less well equipped to do so for obvious reasons.
The initial US Senate hearings with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, where committee members clearly struggled to understand the subject matter in question for a long period of time, are a sign of what's to come if we don't adjust our political representation accordingly.
In this context, new and fresh thinking, far beyond the way we've always done things, is the imperative and in this sense the next generation of leaders carry the right experience.
In Northern Ireland, we have reason to be hopeful. Each of our political parties has talented and committed next-generation politicians: Robbie Butler and Andy Allen; Kate Nicholl, Sorcha Eastwood and Eoin Tennyson; Gordon Lyons, Carla Lockhart and Philip Brett; Deirdre Hargey, Caoimhe Archibald and Linda Dillon; Cara Hunter, Matthew O'Toole, Daniel McCrossan and Claire Hanna; Aine Groogan and Mal O'Hara.
There isn't a moment when people just look to you. Older politicians generally cling onto leadership positions longer than they should and so the road is a difficult one.
Your ideas, especially if they aren't the conventional wisdom (and they usually aren't), are rubbished initially. Your ambition to lead means you're labelled as calculated and disrespectful.
You have to navigate the unfortunate fine line between success and arrogance and build bases and alliances within party memberships without appearing to be "making moves". It takes time, careful judgment and a lot of effort.
But for now, our next generation of political representatives have chosen public life. So, let's see more ideas, more Private Member's Bills, more speeches at events outside of the parliamentary estate, more media interviews, more campaigning on policy (solutions, not problems) and more challenge to the status quo.
This is your time to step up. For all our sakes, let's hope you do.
Gareth Brown is a political commentator and a former Stormont and Cabinet Office adviser