High school drama lurks around the corner, and the person asking for our rent is right outside our door. We ping pong between business casual and Forever 21 slowly morphing the office dress code into "dressy jeans" and ironic t-shirts. No one blinks at my nose ring, even as I apply for a job working with small children. Tattoos are a topic of conversation rather than grounds for dismissal.
We move out of state to start a new life, finding our own places with a roommate or two or four, work three jobs in between classes if we even decide to have any because our BA degrees are about as useful as toilet paper. We buy our own cheap beer, smoke some green whenever we want, and have parties until two am then arrive bleary-eyed to work the next day. We pat ourselves on our back for making it to work or school despite the college antics we have yet to let go.
Then, when eviction looms because our work has cut our hours for yet a third time, we call home and come crying back into our childhood bedrooms. We don't understand relationships or how to be in one. We think we can talk our way out of anything if we try long enough, like cops are just like school teachers and it's just in-school suspension they're threatening, not jail. We never even learn how to cook.
I could tell us to grow up, grow a set, take charge and responsibility, find actual jobs, start giving a shit about the mundane crap like renewing tags on our cars and paying bills on time; but it's never going to happen. We are firmly on top of the world blissfully unaware of our pending rude awakening. I'm right up there too and I can kind of see the stormy clouds approaching, waiting to knock me down. But as an apocaloptimist, I'm certain that despite how we are all going to hell, we will all be okay.
I see the pending apocalypse but I'm optimistic that things will take a turn for the better.
I'm firmly within my mid-twenties. It's not what I expected it to be. Half my friends are married, another half have kids, and most of us are all struggling day-by-day and laughing about it as we blow money on organic food because it's "right" without really knowing why. Some of us are blissfully ignorant, others are obnoxious know-it-alls. I preach about vegetarianism in the most annoying way possible, and other vegetarians are glad to pretend they don't know marshmallows contain animal ingredients. Whoops, now you know.
I swing wildly between trying to save the world and saying "fuck it all" as I trash a plastic bottle instead of recycling it. I drop off all my worldly possessions at my parents' house because I can't stand to pay rent for three months while I'm away working at summer camps. Things become ten times more complicated for my bosses because they have to find temporary replacements for me while I leave for the season. I feel awful for adding stress but am thrilled for all the adventures ahead of me. I'm selfish and compassionate at the same time.
We all are.
Social media is the "Me" generation and it also spurs the "You" generation. We exhibit our egos but create awareness for plights across the earth at the same time. We are a group of paradoxes, veering between children and adults.
The teenage years were dubbed the awkward years. But society, revolution, technology, and more have created a longer awkward era. Parents wishing easy lives upon their offsprings urge it along. Knowledge has created an environment of confusion. Globalization has turned us all into citizens of the world. What is our purpose now? What is the correct behavior? What are our expectations?
There is a mantra that I've come to adopt through my experiences: We are exactly where we need to be right now and it will be okay.
Thinking ahead with global change or thinking inwardly with self-satisfaction. Surviving or spending. Making right choices to succeed or creating mistakes to learn from. There is no right or wrong. One day, our parents will not pick up the phone. One day, we will figure out how to love our significant other in the right way. One day, we will create families whether by divine act or purpose, and we will proceed to screw up those children for the rest of their lives, and they their children, and so on and so forth. We will recycle four plastic bottles for each one we throw away. We will incite positive change and create negative effects.
There is a balance, a wave moving to and fro. While the world may veer towards the negative with climate change and the destruction of nature, our balance lies within this generation blindly encouraging an eco-friendly revolution. While wars continue to exist, our spirituality will grow through breaking away from corrupt religion and thinking for ourselves. We are unrecognizable and equally recognizable to every generation. Revolution and conformity.
Let's go on and live.