I get infuriated when I hear someone from the baby boom generation say they wish they were in college again so their life would be easier.
It’s not as easy being young today, as MTV has them thinking.
While the “Greatest Generation” fought World War II and the “Hippie Generation” had their war in Vietnam, we’ll be responsible for cleaning up the mess of a never-ending war on terrorism. That’s not the worst of our problems.
Our generation is searching for a shared identity that doesn’t exist because our parents left us with a disheartening legacy of flawed intentions. They wanted political freedom, corporate ethics and free love. They wanted the world to have a sea of choices.
The same sea of choices now has us lost in uncharted waters.
Today, when someone speaks their mind or becomes politically active, they are looked by the rest of their peers as more of a nerd than Ben Stein doing a cameo in a Star Trek movie. After a disputable 2000 election, negative television campaign advertising that insults our intelligence and an administration that is trying to blow a smokescreen in our faces of an Iraqi war to conceal our economic problems, our generation deserves to be cynical about politics.
Today we’re afraid of toiling for some Enron-like corporation that is going to get more stock options from our labor than we are or suddenly swipe our 401k so an executive can buy a house in Aspen. We’re forced to choose between selling out to CEOs and living in a cardboard box behind Wal-Mart. And we despise federal taxes in our paychecks going to a Social Security account we’ll never see a penny of or have any control over.
Today, to some people, sex has become more of a desensitized, mechanical bodily function than an expression of love. Condoms have given them the “freedom” to be protected not only from the worry of catching diseases, but also from the worry about having to feel too much emotionally about the people they’re screwing. But it should be okay because the do-what-feels-good ethic established by the last generation now dominates right?
Those of us who have chosen to wait for Ms. or Mr. Right have to examine the intentions of our potential lovers more than the security at Kennedy Airport would screen a group of male Arabs boarding a 747 with fuses dangling from underneath their shoes. We have no idea who is going to give us genital warts or who is going to be someone we can scream to in the middle of the night saying, “Hallelujah, I’ve finally found the one!”
There are people like me who are less than ecstatic about the opportunity to take advantage of a swingin’ single life by engaging in the one-night stands that are popular with half of our friends. Meanwhile, we’re looked at as pariahs by the other half of our friends who have married and wonder why we haven’t had a relationship last more than a month as they’re happily settling down in their hometown with their significant others.
The majority of us keep our mouths shut because we don’t want to be perceived as too different from our peers by having our “privileged” lives seem less than ideal, but I know you’re out there.
Not only do we have to adapt to our friends’ myriad of ethics, we have the baby boomers griping that we don’t appreciate what it means to be young and living in a politically active, drug-induced, sex-crazed cloud of no consequences as if it still exists. They can’t understand why we are depressed and have no motivation as they obsess over their lost youth. And they have the nerve to call us spoiled and selfish.
We should be disillusioned and skeptical of the idea that we live in a freer world because of the “revolutions” of the 60s and early 70s. It’s no wonder our “Generation X” is known for the existential lonely desperation of grunge rock and Eminem lyrics.
Despite what our parents’ generation wants us to believe, our inheritance from the flower children hasn’t been all roses.