on how nothing is original when you’re 35
the older i get, the more it becomes readily apparent that every BIG IMPORTANT CONCLUSION ABOUT LIFE AND FEELINGS has been done and found out by everyone older than me for generations back. my father has been good-naturedly giggling at my “insights” for about a decade now, and you’d think that would be a clue. but alas.
which is fine, really, when you get right down to it. i don’t have to be revolutionary to have a good life. that’s maybe my favorite thing about being in my mid-thirties: i don’t have to be a special clever snowflake who’s in the know about all these secrets to be happy. the man and i bonded over our shared hipper-than-thou musical tastes, back when the shit was REAL, man. but turns out, as i look back, all my favorite things were super-popular with millions of people. that’s why MTV classic is a thing now. if it was just us into all that stuff, no one would care.
and honestly, community is way more fun than frosty solitude. that’s why 2009–2011 twitter was so great: i found people like me when i needed them most. it’s a king-hell bummer that lonely, angry men have found a way to ruin something so special with their poisonous bitter hatred. but that’s life, and it always has been. it’s just that we know it now. but i digress.
originality is important when you’re trying to make a living off ideas. there are so many beautiful, creative thinkers in this world. but as far as tastes and experiences, there’s only so much under the sun that happens. sometimes, you’re thoroughly typical. and that’s where i find myself: a pretty typical 30-something professional in a big giant city.
i mean, there are deviations. i bring my own thoughts to the table, and at least once a day, i get a flash of that rebel spirit that used to consume my identity half a lifetime (and more) ago. i am full of tossings to and fro unto the day, as it says in job. i am also an atheist who regularly speaks in religious figurative language. typical doesn’t have to be dull. but the challenge of maturing in a digital age is reconciling this human impulse towards needing to feel special and individually unique with the overwhelming digital evidence that there are tons of people in the world who are remarkably similar to one another. that isn’t inherently bad, nor does it devalue your individual contributions. it’s just one of the many growing pains of being in the first real cohort to go through this realization.
hurray for the oregon trail generation, my little slice of trailing gen-X kids who wanted to be as cool as our older cousins were. we’re going to figure this stuff out for you, and in exchange, y’all can teach us snapchat if we want to learn. cool? cool.