Growing up, our parents taught us that we can be anything that we wanted to be, if we work hard. Lately, I’ve been hearing that the whole reason why this generation of twenty-somethings are failing at life is because our parents told us we were special. Is it just me, or does that sound incredibly sickening? Some children didn’t have parents who treated them so kindly. They’re fighting just as hard as we are; at least I know I am. What kind of parenting is it to not tell your children that they are special? We are all blessed – it just takes getting your head out of your ass to finally see it.
“We run away from our own imagination, but at the same time we’ve got this amazing fascination.”
I never fully identified with the people of my generation. Everyone just seems to be so pretentious and crass, walking around like they feel entitled to everything. I’m not sure how their parents raised them, nor do I care. Truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter how they were raised, they’re going to do what they or society wants anyway. All I know is that I’m sick of being dragged into that group that thinks the world owes them something. I hate the fact that since my parents brought me up to go for what I want, I’m automatically “one of them” now. That’s the thing about stereotyping – our true selves are looked over because the majority of the population are snobs.
“We’ve got big city dreams, but we don’t move from the asphalt.”
Finding a job seems to be the big dilemma of my generation. Some went to college and thought they’d have a job by now, while others who didn’t (the even more unfortunate souls) are at the end of our ropes trying to get noticed in a world full of phonies. Maybe we set our sights too high. Maybe what we truly want isn’t in our reach. I’ve been reading tons of books and articles on this subject matter and I feel like I keep reading the same story over and over again. It’s like they are trying to drill it into our heads that our dreams aren’t realistic. So we should just give up and end up miserable, right? I mean, that’s sort of the impression that I’m getting from these so-called “life experts.”
“We’ve got hopes on the horizon.”
Growing up, I watched every night as my parents came home from work. They were moody, aggravated and fed up. “I hate my job!” they’d say. “I can’t quit because I feel like I have no options. Where would I go? Who would take me? I’m trapped!” I sat there in fear of my own future. What would it look like? I hoped to God it wasn’t a repeat of that. Did history have to repeat itself? My mother always tells me that when she graduated high school, college wasn’t a big expectation. After she graduated, she got a job at AT&T as a secretary. Back then, that was considered a very prestigious position. She’s still a secretary to this day – not at AT&T, which she isn’t too thrilled about, but she’s excellent at what she does. She may like her field of work, but it’s not her passion. My father is a whole other story. He never tried to be what he wanted to be because he didn’t believe in himself enough. He let the world’s criticism ruin his passion. He’s currently unemployed and miserable.
“They shy away from the slightest alteration but at the same time, we’ve got the same fascinations.”
Once I decided I wanted to pursue a career in writing, my parents, as jaded as they are now, told me to work for it – put myself out there, keep writing and eventually someone will get it. They’re constantly telling me to fight hard. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. I don’t expect any of it to all just come to me because the universe owes me something. The universe owes me shit! I owe it to the universe to work towards my goals. Without the strength to pursue what we love, we end up with nothing but a bottle of broken dreams. I don’t want to be my father’s age sitting on the sofa (or a cardboard box in the street) wondering “what if?” I may not agree with the mentality of my generation, but I understand the struggle. It’s a struggle for me to wake up every day and realize how worthless I feel. I’m at a standstill, trying to figure out my next step. Rejection and failure are a given, but persistence keeps the heart pumping.
“We’re sick and tired of keeping silent.”
When we get so jaded to the point where we start preaching that our dreams are not realistic, we start a vicious cycle that spirals on down toward the younger generation. The Baby Boomer generation may want to punch the stars out of our eyes because they are unhappy with their life decisions, but we don’t have to stand there and take it. We need to fight back! Sure, some of our dreams may sound far fetched, but we’ll never know unless we shake off the fear and negativity and march toward them. It’s become a generational war.
“We’re gonna turn it upside down.”
I had a teacher in high school – how he ever became a certified teacher, I’ll never know- but he tried to shoot down a few dreams of mine and my classmates (not to mention how he used to glue his eyes to every pair of boobs in the room). After telling him that one day I’d like to be a writer for Saturday Night Live, he said “That’s ridiculous! That’s as if you want to become a singer or an actress. Stuff like that just isn’t realistic! Work on Wall Street! You’ll make zillions of bucks!” On Parent-Teacher Night, my mother asked him if he watched any TV shows. He nodded. She then replied, “Well, who do you think writes those shows?” Thanks, Mom.
I may never make it to SNL, write a book, write for a magazine, start my own successful website, get married to the man of my dreams or even own a puppy. It doesn’t hurt to work and try. Anything is possible. Like anything worth believing in, you just have to believe to see it through. Pipe dreams can turn into reality. The man you actually had a dream about can turn out to be your soul mate. That idea you had in your twenties can turn into your own successful creation one day. That puppy you always dreamed of having could be licking your face one day. We may be afraid of our dreams but that’s because they feel so much bigger than us right now. That other jaded generation? They’re just afraid of us doing what they were so scared to do at our age.
Don’t be afraid to dream big, but don’t be afraid to try.
“Just let go. It’s a free fall.”
Lyric excerpts courtesy of Echosmith.