Radiohead – Optimistic (Right Click to open in new window/tab)
Radiohead might have more to say on this subject than I do, but I’ll give it my best shot anyway.
These days, I can’t help but think of heavier things. With the state of the world right now, any logical thinking human being would. I usually tend to meditate on the past but lately, I’ve been looking to the future. What does the future entail? Well, I guess it depends on your point of view I suppose. If you’re past your prime, in your twilight years, you may have already bought a house, had a family, and established a good retirement fund. Your progeny may have already had children of their own or maybe are well on their way to being married. You’ve probably already conquered your inner demons and slashed out all doubts you had about yourself. With age, a better knowledge of self tends to come with the territory. It most likely will be smooth sailing for you as you enter the final quarter of your life.
If you’re like me, young, brash, and full of bravado, then the future may be full of doubt or fear even. As a 20 year old, I struggle to find myself in the cosmos of it all. You may call this just another case of growing up, but I’m not buying it. Everyday, as I read the newspaper, watch television, and look on the internet, I see nothing but bad news everywhere. I see nations slipping into defaults, I see stagnant economies, I see war, I see countries building nuclear programs, I see politicians bickering and squabbling amongst themselves failing to arrive at a middle ground. Its nothing but bad news.
A lot of times I hear from people older than me, “Scotia, this isn’t the world I grew up in. Things have changed”. No doubt. I vividly remember one of my uncles telling me he was able to go to college and work part time while paying for his school fees. Why can’t we do that anymore? Why is everything so expensive? Is it greed or something else?
My generation is one that was raised off of reality television, excessive advertising, instantaneous text messaging, and Internet sites such as Myspace and Facebook. I don’t see children going outside anymore, they’re sitting inside on the computer, their video games, and their cellphones. We don’t ask girls out in person. We send them an innocuous little message over Facebook. There’s no passing notes in class. It’s now “sexting”. Instead of living for others, we are narcissistic people intent on making the world revolve around us. Facebook facilitates this process even more. The more likes you have on your posts, the cooler you are. Our ultimate self-worth is defined by our online presence on Facebook. That is what we live for.
Then there’s college. Oh college. More young people now than ever are going to college. I mean, education is nice and all, but I can’t help but ask some people “why are you here?” All some people do is drink and party and BS. These people then graduate with a BS (harharharharharharharharharharharharyouseewhatididthere) in some degree *cough*Business*cough* *cough*Communication Studies*cough* and then go out into the job market. Some people don’t take college seriously and ruin in for a lot of other people because they wish to be selfish and create the “college experience”. Can’t see a future, so I guess I’ll just drink and smoke my life away, right? Maximum payout with little effort, give me that A just for showing up.
Now when we go out to look for jobs, the job market is dismal. Our parents certainly didn’t have to go through this. Even if they are unemployed, at least they are established. How will we even start? Our concerns are valid. A lot of the jobs have been outsourced. Instead of having 5 people competing for one job, there’s now 50 people. Is it the recession? Or is it because a lot more people have degrees? Or maybe a deadly double whammy of both?
What is to become of my generation? Where do we fit in all of this? Is there even a space for us to fit in? What will happen when our parents leave this earth and we literally have to deal with the sins of our fathers? Enormous national debt, environmental degradation, and mutually assured nuclear destruction is not what I signed up for. It just feels like a lot of the older generation just simply doesn’t care about the younger generation. That’s not a good thing. The generation of World War I was called the “Lost Generation”. The generation of World War II was called the “Greatest Generation”. The generation of our grandparents were called the “Baby Boomers”. Our parents’ generation is called “Generation X”. Our generation is officially called “Generation Y”.
Well, I’ve got a new name for us and anyone who comes after. We are “The Suspended Generation”. We’re stuck in limbo waiting for us to drop into the abyss or for us to ascend into the heavens. We are more open-minded, we know more about certain concepts, and we have more information at our fingertips than any previous generation in history. We are also scared. We are so scared. For good reason. The decisions of those who come before us will affect us more than they know. They keep us this way. Until they realize this and invest their future in us with a sincere, honest effort, we will continue to be this way.