In the midst (and dark depths) of a plethora of projects, I’ve come to a belated and overdue realization: I’ve got it all wrong.
Unfortunately, I’m not alone. You’ve got it all wrong also. But at least we’re companions. Comrades, if you will.
Since day one, we’ve been told that if we work hard, we will be successful. Frankly, that’s not true – we’ve known that long enough now, but continue to go along with it, much like we appease our elders while quietly rolling our eyes, wondering whether the sedating medications are potent enough for such rambling. Hate to break it to those who have sucked away their livelihoods simply working hard, hoping your children will have the knowledge to get out of your ruts and achieve the American dream of success. Your children aren’t motivated. Your children have unprecedented knowledge at their fingertips and have no idea what to do with it or how to use it. Your children make contests out of ruining their brains and physiology through their college years, hoping to catch up on missed skills and abilities in the farce of professional graduate degrees. Then your children are surprised to find themselves struggling, just like you did, but with the stain and stench of professional pride rendering them incapable of anything less than a fantasized job, position, and requisite salary – despite a complete lack of experience. We were told we could do anything if we worked hard – but we got the letters on the wall by just skating through.
Consider this my eyeroll if not a ruder gesture toward an entire generation who have made all the wrong choices under the pandering guise of right ones. If X, then Y. If Y, do Z. Simplified flow charts to devise an entire existence marked by little else but blinded optimism in the hopes of avoiding rejection and failure. Scared of not finding a job after college? Follow the Walrus and Carpenter, little oyster, to graduate school. Scared you’ll be rejected from graduate school? They’re accepting people – and their eternal wallets – in record numbers. It’s easier to go to school than to push paper around, right? It’s easier to put your head in the inconsequential desert surrounding the ivory tower, than to take a chance or risk, easier to write one decent essay and prove you can pay (with assistance) than deviate from the lifelong plan set out for you. It’s okay, we know, you always wanted to be a doctor/lawyer/business professional. Really though, we nod and accept without question that you’d really rather be God/a nerdy bully/insulated by your buddies for the rest of your life – or not hear it from your parents and instead keep some outward peace in return for inner turmoil.
Those who elected George W. Bush and his lackadaisical ways for eight years of blatant mismanagement are precisely those who have created this generation governed by fear. Those who elected Barack Obama and his hopeful, changing ways are precisely those who reject this fear of failure.
So now I have to ask: what the fuck have we done? Suddenly this great experience is no longer a experiment as our false expertise drowns in existentialism.
It’s time for things to be different.
It’s time for things to change.
It’s time for the next generation to step to the helm, to take the reins, to get into the batter’s box to take a few pitches from history. As the early Gen Y’ers turn 30, it’s time to quit bitching about our differences and embrace them, harnessing the strengths of each person or experience into something larger, a woven fabric to smother the fire raging out of control through our land and through our hearts. No longer is it about “I” – but about “you and I.”