I’ve discovered recently that I am quite an unsatisfied customer. With a lot of things.
So many stores promise to solve all your problems with a new washing machine or refrigerator. Well, maybe not that far, but you get the idea. I’ve found that my student loans are rather unsatisfying. My education, though well rounded, left some things to be desired. My job leaves a lot to be desired. My car leaves some things to be desired. My dogs, my defective cat, my laptop, my DVD collection, don’t even get me started on my library.
So what the heck is the deal?
I had a great year last year; I graduated from college, I got married, I have a full time job, I moved to a big city, I rent a house in a semi-sketchy neighborhood (it’s not that bad, but there’s a reason we don’t walk the dogs after 8pm)
So what the heck is the deal?
I think I’m in the same boat as a lot of 20-somethings. We went to college, we graduated. So, um, now what? We live in a world where our lives are no longer dictated by our passions, but rather by what pays the bills. Your passions? Oh, be a good girl and put those on the back burner, oh, and file this paperwork will you? We were encouraged by our teachers and professors to go after what we wanted. Because we are the generation to do it. But what happens when you kick those kids out the front door of college and on to the busy street of this so called life? What do we do then? Well for one, we have 2 months to get our act together and get a job before student loan payments kick in. A job that if you were a liberal arts student like myself, is a bit far from what you saw yourself doing in college.
I’m not ashamed to say that I have a bachelors in English. Even when I tell people and they look at me like I was dropped on my head as a child. I would have NEVER picked another degree (except theater).
Why didn’t I pick a more “marketable” degree? Because that’s not how my brain works. I don’t know what about that is so hard for people to understand. My brain doesn’t do numbers, it does words. It doesn’t like stocks, stats, or anything like that. It likes words that fit together. Strange words like conundrum, and archipelago. I love books. I love characters. If I’ve met you, I’ve probably written you into a story somewhere. If you’ve spent more than three seconds with me you know that I’m in love with Science Fiction, that I believe Joss Whedon can do no wrong. I’m a nerd. I’m a dork. I’m a thespian. I’m a writer.
So what does a 20-something with no real direction do? At this point, we cant not work, we have bills. not all of us can pack up and move to New York or California to try and “make it big”. Do I start a non-profit and save the planet? Do I write a book that changes the way we look at literature? Write a screenplay that challenges film-making? Have a baby? Mow my lawn? The world is so loud.
There’s a conflict in Syria that I don’t understand, there are homeless dogs roaming Detroit with no place to go, there are homeless people roaming Detroit with no place to go. What’s a 20-something to do?
Gertrude Stein once told Ernest Hemingway “You are all a lost generation”. Is there a point when we ‘find’ ourselves? Hemingway and Fitzgerald wrote books that changed the way we saw the Flapper generation. Are the 20-somethings the hipster generation? The potheads? The Apple generation? The twerking generation? (Dear God I hope not.) But are we so different from the “Lost Generation”? We party, we drink, we smoke, we’re promiscuous. Are we just a repetition of a past generation? An echo of an ideal smothered on by our elders?
I guess I would more or less call us a generation of narcissists. We’re obsessed with our image. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, has made us connected, in a disconnected way. We have social interactions without leaving our living rooms. I could spend the whole day on the couch in my pajamas and talk to most of the people I know via facebook. I can take classes, I can earn a degree without ever leaving my house. I can instagram my imperfect life and parade it around like it means something to the internet.
Its not all bad. Our ways have also made us privy to different parts of the world. To see different cultures through the eyes of our friends. To see what politicians, celebrities, and other minds of the world are thinking through the power of twitter.
Our connectivity has made us obsessive. Going to the movies? Make sure you check in at the movie theater. Going for a run? Make sure you log that baby on MapMyRun so everyone knows how awesome you are (Guilty). Out for a bite? You better instagram your food before you eat it. We are the 20-somethings of America and we want you to know what we’re doing.
I don’t have any answers, only frustration.
I must have missed the day in college when everyone decided what to do with the rest of their lives.
Brown dog couldn’t give a crap what I’m doing. Just take him for a friggin walk already.