Times are changing, but how long have we been saying that? God, that phrase is so played out, but it never ceases in applicability.
–Especially not as it pertains to the generation of late teens to mid-ish 20-something year-olds.
Maybe it’s all the constant banter, the claim that was laid by the preceding generation and all they were confident we were capable of. After all, so many of them iterated (and reiterated) this prophetic blessing over myself and those in my circles.
One day, I am sure I will look back on this somehow and see my past self with a similar type of reverence, admiration and endearment. What’s strange is that we will always bear this label, much like generation X, the baby boomers who held onto their titles even after they were no longer babies.
We are branded and esteemed one day. Yet it’s not far or long off before the criticisms, generalizations, and typecasting manifest through other people of varying age groups and their unconscious prejudices.
There remains a lot of ill-intending energy that comes this way, whether it has some form of basis or none whatsoever. We share this hive mind, this generation of us, we share many common values thanks to pop culture and social influence. However, we all are bound to walk to the beat of our own drum in our own ways, no matter how much we may seek to copy or not, as far as I can tell.
We were the ones who grew up with the likes of big hair, stripes and polka dots, dial up, television being the main entertainment medium, films like Bicentennial Man, probably wondering if a robot could actually do our house chores for us, (only to wake up a few years later to the first wave of that kind of technology with robotic vacuums).
The past tells the future while the future reminds us of the past.
We were also the ones who grew up with parents and grandparents who had seen wartimes so atrocious that it disrupted our family units at the micro level, even if it was just slightly. To be exposed to that kind of horror, at any age, in any venue, is bound to result in some form of trauma.
How many movies and television shows will we watch, or books will we read, or ideas will we conjure up about the impossible, before we realize that these supposed works of fiction are more doable than we thought?
–even the atrocious works.
I will never forget where I was or what I was doing when I gaped at an image on the cover of the newspaper of a man free falling to his death from the twin towers after they had been struck. I was in middle school and I’ll never forget the hysteria that erupted around me when we got word of the catastrophe that day.
The above mentioned does not conclude the list of major iconic, history-altering events that I can recall from my lifetime, not by a long shot. We are in a time of immense push-pull, and maybe this has been going on for a while, but perhaps there is still a prophetic undertone to everything that is happening, a sort of inevitability.
Where the hell are our priorities?
Now, millenials have turned into a meme of themselves. So many of them are asking for it. Just from what I have observed, it seems that a large amount of them have their priorities in a rather self-centered, self-worshiping place. It is arguable that this is just a way of expressing one’s self, that this is the modern way of saying ‘hey, here I am, this is what I look like, this is what I like’ and so on. So much of it still feels like a waste, self-expression or not, art for art’s sake.
What does it all accomplish?
It’s difficult because I am so deeply entrenched in the culture of this generation and yet I feel so profoundly disconnected from all that is the hallmark of them.
I have sat through seminars with folks barely 10 to 15 years our senior, telling us younger 20-somethings that we were full of so much life and potential to change circumstances. Innately, I suspected they may have had ulterior motives, some type of vested interest in the outcomes of our progress.
They were handing out copies of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Don’t get me wrong. I read the book, twice in fact. The concept of investing, at the time, was a dictionary term that meant nothing in practical application. The stock market was an alien language. Life after college was a distant, hazy superstition.
What I Believe So Many of Us Can Be Like for Worse:
- We can be solipsistic, narcissistic self-obsessed
- We can be fearful, ignorant, and naive and not even know it
- We seem to gravitate towards unhealthy brands and experiences
- We worship idols and waste so much of our time
- We are suceptible to some rather elaborate, long-standing scams because of the naivete, sometimes sheer ignorance
I’ll summarize the rest of my thoughts in a way that puts it exactly as Benjamin Hardy put it in his post I found through a Medium publication:
Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.
What I Also Believe So Many of Us Can Be Like for Better:
- We can convey incredible emotional intelligence and empathy
- We are able to inspire others of any age
- We want to ask questions and
- We want to answer questions
- We are alive in one of the most peak moments of the information age
- We are surrounded by a large and growing amount of peers who seek to do something meaningful, truly meaningful, with this information
There is no excuse for inaction when the call comes. As Mark Passio puts it, “we are drowning in information,” which we certainly are and this is becoming more evident, much harder to ignore.
Now, whether or not that information we drown in aligns with the truth or not remains to be determined by and through time.
Don’t think. You already know what you have to do, and you know how to do it. What’s stopping you?
~ Tim Grover
It was difficult to write this particular post for several reasons. One of them was that I could have said so much. I didn’t want to sound generic or gimmicky at all.
In fact, it was humbling. It made me nostalgic.
It was painful.
It was uncomfortable.
It was disappointing.
It was dishonoring and disgracing.
It was a lot, a heavy whole lot in a topic (one word for one label on a group consisting of thousands of people).
I struggled some more because in one way, I didn’t know where and when to start or stop writing. In another way, I didn’t have a clue if I was ready to say anything at all, or if I could do justice all the Thought Catalog and BuzzFeed types of posts I have read that talk about similar topics.
It’s as if I was limited from within the confines of an invisible word count. I suppose that’s why I eventually decided that I would just focus on the most striking, heartfelt ideas that came to mind without reading other similar posts, filtering out all the accumulated mental data I have archived from previous reads.
As in, I had to ask myself: what is my snap impression, the first to come to mind when I think of someone like myself, in this age range and group?
What’s wrong about where we are and what we’re doing, and what is right?
Then I realized that, thanks to some of the imposed delays from the minor technical hiccups and glitches I encountered when writing this, I was better off speaking from a place that emanated from deep within my soul first. Despite all the references, bookmarks of things I had yet to read but wanted to come back to I wasn’t able to include, I just needed to allow the content that is here to say all the rest that I wouldn’t (and still can’t) fully say or articulate.
The way to enjoy life best is to wrap up one goal and start right on the next one. Don’t linger too long at the table of success, the only way to enjoy another meal is to get hungry.
~ Jim Rohn
Millenials have done a lot of work, a lot of building up and tearing down in their own ways, and there is still a lot of outstanding work yet to be accomplished.
Nevertheless, I feel that anyone of any age bears equal responsibility in shaping the future, ideally affecting it for the greatest collective good.
Despite how oversimplified such a statement is, there is a lot of punch that it packs, and I hope that it’s clear where I stand and that I seek to construe no bias in terms of who is better, more capable, more culpable, whatever.
I just know some basic science. I know that there is something about the brain post-years of peak developmental status, such as where my brain was around the age of 21, 22.
That’s where we’re at. We’re no different than, although we’re certainly not the same as, the droves of post-Vietnam vets returning to the states 40+ to 50+ years ago; or the unions and leagues of laborers who organized in the industrial era; or the young adults who were just starting their lives in the times of toaster-sized telephones and calculators.
So much is different, but so much is fundamentally the same with us millenials.
The talent is off the charts. I have been blown away time and again by some of my peers whereas others have made me question everything about the significance of human existence. I’m not kidding or trying to be coy, I mean, seriously.
I just wonder if life for all involved, in its current trajectory, will get worse or progress towards and for the best. I wonder if, ever, any of us want the best, for I think many may just want to be the best, above all the rest.
My relfections upon my own experience as a 20-something woman is an account I could most certainly elaborate upon.
I suppose that may be an important part of why it’s in the Along the Way series. I have a lot of unexplored territory to traverse.
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