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Generation - “Why Not?”

Submitted by TC Beckham on March 4, 2010 – 4:02 pmComments

Our generation is changing things up. We want life to be different; we don’t want to accept too easily the things we were told we should want. We question everything, as if we had some inner moral equivalency chart by which to measure past generations. What are these things we were told to want, expected to pursue? What are these things we were told would make us happy? 1. Love 2. Success 3. Freedom.  I might as well quote The Declaration of Independence: we expect “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but our generation feels that love is not to be possessed, nor can it ever make our lives more real; success is undefined and relative; and freedom: we always have less than we’d like. Most intelligent humans I have come into contact with between the ages of twenty-two and thirty-two have decided to ask themselves “why not?” Some have “dropped out” of what they see as a game; they are unable to pursue a graduate degree, keep a marriage together, or make any commitment whatsoever. Some of us are content with our jobs, don’t want to go to graduate school, or keep a marriage together. I think our generation laughs in the face of failure because we don’t believe in failure anymore. We have lost faith in the old gods, and now we are searching for replacement gods. I no longer allow “failure” and “success” to be defined by my peers, by my parents, by my lovers, by my culture, or by the media.  I find that I am not alone, and more Gen-Y’s are asking “why not?” Why can’t I define success, marriage, or what is beautiful and funny? Why am I not doing the work I love? Why should I care about what anyone thinks? Between the three “happiness categories,” I think freedom to be the most complex because it is not until we become free from fear, from the voices of others, and from our own expectations that we can become proud and valiant in our search for what makes us happy. Depression and suicide rates are on the rise, and it is our generation’s responsibility to understand why. George Santayana, a long-dead philosopher, once said, “Depression is rage spread thin.” It is my contention that there is a fault-line running through each and every one of us; on the one hand we resent what was expected from us, we resent this country, we resent the generations that have gone before us. We resent the fact that we do not understand our anger. Perhaps we feel our choices for action are limited; perhaps we believe our imagination and potential development is being stunted by our environment. On the other hand, there is a positive contentment, a secure happiness, I see on the faces of so many people that are younger than me; there are countless twenty-two year olds I’ve met who are confident and seem to have shaken off, or to have never felt, the rage. They do not feel a stifling inability to fulfill their dreams. I honor these people, male and female, because they give me hope for the future, although sometimes I think they grew up fast and have had to become wise before their years.

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  • Beckhambradley
    Some of us starve for love, and come up empty. It is love that we have too little and wish for more.
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