Hey, peers. Hey, generation. What the Sam Hall is going on here?
I get it. We've been screwed, sort of, by Wall Street, or The Man, or whatever target is currently squaring off with the arrows of our blame these days. But since we're talking about who's really turning the screw here, let's take a look in a mirror for a second. Or, fine, flip your iPhone cam around and let's all take a self-portrait.
What do you see? Because I see a bunch of whiny, pansy-ass losers. Oh, I'm SORRY, is that harsh? Right. What I meant to say was, I see a gathering of people who are born the way they're born and entitled to live life as they see fit with absolutely no repercussions or responsibility or - heaven forbid - accountability forever and ever, amen.
Not that we're really into prayer anymore. I forgot. We're in that "questioning" phase. Which is totally fine, in case you were wondering. Burned out on whatever it is your parents instilled in you as a youngster? Opting out of what feel like staid and unrealistic beliefs that don't reflect the world around you? Faaaantastic. But that doesn't mean you can stop searching for answers to life's basic questions, nor does it give you a free pass to loaf through life's philosophical conundrums.
Intellectual and spiritual laziness is no healthier for us than physical laziness, and yet while we've basically gotten the hang of a 3x a week workout regime, it appears we've all but abandoned the ongoing struggle to understand what makes us human, why we exist, and what (if anything) we believe in apart from ourselves.
Here's a hint: You aren't enough. Neither am I. You don't get a participation medal in life simply for showing up. This earth we're on? The life we're given? It's a gift, and we're no more meant to squander that gift than we are to eat eighteen pounds of McDonalds every day.
We are privileged and we are, above all else, utterly, inescapably, cripplingly free. But that freedom is too often taken as an excuse to not care at all. If you're reading this and you're older than legal drinking age, I shouldn't have to explain the concept of can and should to you, and yet here we are. The record is broken. Just because you're able to, doesn't mean you should. And shouldn't isn't some mean, old splint meant to trammel your emotional growth or pursuit of freedom and happiness.
I'm not even going to sit here and suggest what you should believe or accept, lest I step on your naked nail-less toes with my opinions and somehow imply that you aren't completely entitled to pen the Official Rules for your humanity in that Moleskin you also scrawl song lyrics in. Because heaven forbid we live for something more than ourselves and our wanton, base instincts and proclivities. Whooo-eeey! That is LIFE!
But guess what?
When this protracted mid-twenties temper tantrum feels more like the rule than the exception, sooner or later you're going to have to grow the hell up. And for the record, this isn't some world-saving missive. But lounging around getting lit or black-out drunk every weekend just because those options are available to you ain't it either, kid.
There's a fine line between recreational enjoyment and careless hedonism, a line I find myself toeing on occasion lest you manifest any confusion about where this rant is coming from. Hint: It's not coming from a snorting horse cantering in a very high place. (To wit, that is not a drug reference.) My point is that I'm in the trenches every bit as much as you are. The questions, the entitlements, the doubts, the laziness; it's all there.
But again this begs the question: What are we doing? Where's the fire? Here's a fun exercise: Practice repeating to yourself, "It's not actually any one else's fault." At a certain point, you're going to have to sort through the Whys and the Whuuhhhhs. That thing your parents taught you, that pivotal childhood event, all the myriad and infinitesimal influences which have shaped you into who you are: Unpack them. Sift through it. But at the end of the day, you're going to have to repack the suitcase, close it, and carry it with you. Because it's yours. And you are uniquely responsible for the person you become as you get older.
In case you haven't been paying attention, peers, we are nearing thirty. Some of us are already there. Others are still skipping through our mid-twenties. But most of us are approaching the third decade of our existence and what do you have to show for it? A tangled mass of confusion and inertia and excuses for why life hasn't given you what you feel you deserve?
Save it for your therapist. Oh, and on that note, if you don't have one, get one. Then whine all you want, because if you find someone worth their salt, they'll roll their eyes and tell you to quit bellyaching. And they're right. Because in this strung out hissy fit marathon you're currently running, the person who's going to get the most tired of hearing your caterwauling is you.
At least, that's what my therapist told me last month when I sat on her couch mewling about how unfair life was.
So buck up. Because this sad-sack I-Just-Don't-Know-What-To-Do-With-Myself schtick isn't working anymore. It's time to grow a thicker skin and approach life with something more than a picket sign and a bank account drowning in student loans.