Talkin’ bout my generation
Chicago, it’s been awhile. I dare say we both felt a little defeated by our last blogging episode. It’s oddly embarrassing and deflating to know that someone reads what you wrote only for the purpose of somehow getting you in trouble or putting you down. Does that mean they didn’t notice that I thoroughly edited for proper spelling and grammar or they didn’t find it the least bit funny? Or was it SO FUNNY that they wanted to make sure that I didn’t write anything again so as to not overshadow any future endeavors of comedic writing? The latter, obviously. Anyways, Chicago, fuck em, right? If you don’t care, I don’t care. Let’s talk about something else entirely.
What’s going on with you, Chicago? It’s been raining on and off for what seems like months now. I’m not one who dislikes a good afternoon rain shower but when it’s coupled with a high of 60 and it’s mid June I get none too pleased about pretending like I hate staying indoors all day. Are you feeling moody? Are you anxious about something? Are you feeling like you aren’t quite living up to the expectations placed on you by society? I can definitely relate to all of these things and I’ll tell you, all of these melancholic bike rides home in fog and torrential downpours have given me more than enough time to think about what the fuck am I even doing? Especially when my sneakers are soaking wet but I’m still trying to pick out a podcast on my IPod.
Chicago, let’s discuss. What is the source of these qualms? Could it be the unstoppable boulder of age quickly gaining speed on the downhill slope of life waiting to crush me into oblivion? Could it be some creeping sense of unfulfillment (this is a word, according to Merriam-Webster) slowly drying me out like a prune until I have no recourse left to change my path? Or could it be that the internet is constantly bombarding me with articles written by Nobody S. NoOne telling me that my generation is dumb, useless, selfish and spoiled and that life at and after 30 well, you may as well just kill yourself. Seeing as the internet is the only real source of information on how to live life I will say that it is my last suggestion that rings true.
In between reading articles about 35 different ways to do squats and taking quizzes telling me what kind of sushi I am (a California roll, clearly I have been living all wrong from the jump) I am inundated with lists, essays, memoirs, poems, drawings, debates and videos about ‘my generation’. According to my one true god, internet, my generation is Generation Y or the Millennial. Personally, I don’t think it’s fair that I be associated with Millennials because I was a well-formed human being (I got my period on the last day of 1999 so it counts) before the new millennium began. I didn’t grow up with a computer in my house. I didn’t have a cell phone. Facebook did not exist until I was a sophomore in college (and praises be for side stepping the emotional scarring that could have been had it shown up earlier). So I am left to be heaped into the mixed bag of assholes known as Generation Y, simply due to the fact that it came after Generation X.
A quick Google search will show what the populous thinks of us. We have been dubbed the laziest generation, looking for everything to be handed to us, having no knowledge of what a hard days work is like. Ouch, internet. What did I ever do to you but love you? Couple this with the close at hand turn of my 3rd decade and I feel like people are sneering at me at every turn. I’m not young enough to be apathetic anymore. It isn’t charming that I’m taking time to ‘find myself’ before pursuing a career. My seemingly endless supply of twenty something years is drying up before my eyes and society begs of me to give them what I have to show for it. “For the love of GOD, stop being a human being with a unique set of characteristics and desires and get in line with this grouping in which we are allowed to make you feel bad about yourself!”
Let’s put it together. I am considered lazy and self important, unwilling to work for success and considering my nearness to being a crone, I should have a husband in my crosshairs and my ovulation schedule on my phone calendar (notification sounds turned on). I should be in or pursuing the career of my dreams, looking into purchasing real estate and have a 5-year plan. I should own a car with insurance that is more a month than incidental. I should have a savings account and a retirement plan, a cocktail of choice and one dish I know how to make well (I do own a microwave so that’s a leg up on that last detail). I should tell myself that I’m not getting what I want (whatever that may be) because I’m lazy and spoiled, that I’m falling back on Facebook likes for sense of self satisfaction. I should remind myself constantly that the only reason I don’t have it all is because I am too busy looking for someone to come by and give it to me instead of going to get it myself.
What should I make of all this? Should I force myself to pursue something that I don’t want in the name of the right direction? Should I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat or realization that for the past 29 years I have been doing nothing and have nothing but 1,000 years of crippling debt to show for it? Should I try harder to want the things that I really don’t want right now because I’m almost 30 years old? Should I start yearning for an engagement ring because come February 2016 the flesh is going to start slipping from my bones into wrinkly, sagging coin purses and I’m going to have to learn how to put make up on in earnest? Should I finally face the fact that I am just a LAZY PIECE OF S who doesn’t want to grow up? Should I have gone to college for something that didn’t interest my or should I pursue a career path strictly so I can move up the ladder and start earning a salary so I can put it all away just in time for the years when I’m too old to do anything with it?
You know what internet and the society folks that say these things? Fuck you. You may have been 30 once but there is no collective way to define the experience. 30 looks and acts and is different every year. Even as I’m writing this I’m feeling bad about myself and you know, why should I? Despite the intention of lumping me into a category of thousands upon thousands of people with very different wishes, I know that I’m not lazy. I know that my generation is not lazy. I have friends all around me pursuing their own interests and businesses. I have friends and acquaintances pursuing artistic goals. I know people who don’t know what they want to do yet but the same thing about all of these folks is that they damn sure aren’t lazy. No matter what they’re doing they are constantly hustling. Despite being reminded that what I’m doing is not a ‘real’ job I do my best and I earn my living so that I’m free to pursue things that interest me, perhaps finding what I want to do with my life therein. Maybe my peers and I appear lazy because it’s not as easy to come right out of college and find a job. Or because we aren’t willing to go to a job we hate every day just to make a paycheck. Or we want to work in such a way that the personal and moral pay off is bigger than the monetary pay off.
I’m tired of feeling bad because I haven’t followed what someone else deems is the proper course for me. I’m tired of being made to feel like the work I do isn’t valuable. I’m tired of being made to feel like because of when I was born or how old I will soon be that I’m supposed to want certain things and behave in certain ways. I’m tired of feeling like I have to take any opportunity to get ahead because it’s better than where I am. I’m tired of watching other people devalue my life course because they think theirs is better because they have a car or a spouse or a house or kids. I’ll find what I want to do at some point, I am sure of that, and in the meantime I’m working hard with what I’ve got and making sure I take time to enjoy my life. Maybe I’ll get married, maybe I’ll be a CEO (no) or maybe I’ll just finally buy a car. But in the meantime, keep your opinions to yourself.