Sunday, April 21, 2013

Generation Live Fast & Die Young

               I've always been fascinated as to what my current generation would be known for or leave behind after we were no longer the pinnacle center fold of society's admiration and high expectations. What would the current "it" generation do during the "best times of our lives" that would leave a mark for future generations to marvel at. It seems that we have become the generation that is the cause and leader of the trending live fast and die young mantra. This goes beyond the "YOLO" craze that generations behind us are currently grasping to, as I believe we've actually done just the opposite of everything "YOLO" stands for. We aren't taking risks simply for thrills and enjoyment as I believe we understand that you don't live once, you live every day. Death is the simple finite conclusion to life that only occurs once, and its constant presence on the horizon doesn't bother this generation in the slightest.
In fact we have so openly embraced that the end is inevitable we have become obsessed with the living part… but at what cost?

It seems as though after several conversations, reflections, and introspective thoughts I've realized that mentally at merely twenty four, I as well as others in my surrounding age group are experiencing early onset midlife crises. We have become masters at cramming every life changing experience into our twenties because we have been told that this is our peak, our moment, and everything else is down hill from here. We seize every opportunity, dive into every moment as if it were our last because the internal clocks of this generation are ticking at a remarkably quick pace. Why? Because we, myself very much included, as a generation do not see a world or a life past fifty. Not only do we not see it we also do not want to see it. There is no desire to live gracefully into old age but rather to crash and blaze into a rapid end that will be remembered as such. In doing so we believe we will be memorialized in our eternal youth as trendsetters, innovators, experimenters tied in to failures and debts.

Unfortunately that is not how generations before us see our burning desire. They see us struggling and pushing forward and they are saddened for us. They can't understand why we believe that in our mid 20s we are unaccomplished and have already failed at life. What they see as just the beginning we see as half done. I sat down and considered that it is possibly a regional trend or quite possibly an issue that only involves those I choose to surround myself with. But after careful consideration and analysis I've realized that everyone within my age range that I've encountered from every walk of life is contributing in some capacity to the live fast die young mantra. We are all in some way facing a self created war battling against our own time restraints, in which we hustle at full capacity until we reach our burn out point. The drive and motivation is there but a sense of reality and patience is absent in our journeys. How did this happen? How did we become so used to feeling unaccomplished?

My theory for myself that may potentially be accurate for most is the false promises and pretenses that were created by what society placed in front of me during my adolescence. Everything seemed cut and dry, a simple process, specific steps to success that would be easily attained. I was always shown that education was the key that unlocked everything. Go to school, do well, and you won't have to work very hard after that. As a first generation child going to school in America I ate up all of the hype and wound up neck deep in one of the worst economic time periods we've seen. My piece of the American Dream that was offered to me so effortlessly at 17 had been ripped out of my hands by 21. As I proudly walked across that stage during the commencement ceremony, I not only had two degrees under my belt, but I also had no job offers, and a slew of student loan debt collectors knocking on my door before my degree was even in the mail.

Thats where the moment began for many, with a piece of paper that meant nothing but cost everything. A piece of paper that they claimed would change our entire lives, did just that, it woke us up to the reality of what we had to face in the real world. We didn't choose to the juxtaposition from college life to adult life, we were told we'd be prepared. And now with less and less opportunity many are stuck in "jobs" unrelated to their field, "jobs" that can barely sustain their meek lifestyles. That is not what we signed up for and as a mere sense of adaptation we have taken on the pressures of those much older than us. This generation has found it necessary to double up in which they do what they have to do in order to do what they want to do or like to do. It is an unforgiving world and we have relentlessly changed our whole outlook on what the world has to offer because the carpet has already been ripped from under us once before. We can not wait to see our dreams unfold in our 30s, 40s,  or 50s. For us the time is and always will be NOW.  

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