Carpe diem appears to be dead (unless the new meaning is seize someone else’s day, as a vicarious experience, of course — not hands-on or anything that dangerous). I say this because recently I was sitting in a restaurant where a young woman and some friends were celebrating her birthday. As they brought out the flaming cake and sang a rousing, albeit a bit slurred, rendition of Happy Birthday, she was more focused on recording it on her phone than “being in the moment,” as they like to say.
But apparently, being in the moment is another anachronistic concept, gone along with carpe diem to the graveyard of all that is no longer in vogue or useful. Or safe for those of us interested in keeping life at arm’s length. Better to stay in our snug and secure space than chance the slings and arrows of outrageous interpersonal contact.
Hey, life’s hard — especially if you actually participate in it. Good news, though: Thanks to modern know-how, we no longer need anybody else to live vicariously. We can now live vicariously through ourselves, much like those worms that have both male and female sex organs and can reproduce without any help.
Way back in 1983, Billy Joel sang a prescient song titled An Innocent Man with the lyric, “Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up.” It took a while, but we’re becoming the embodiment of that rather trepidatious characterization, especially if you’ve reached adulthood in the early part of the 21st century (and you know who I mean).
I don’t blame our current state of possible imminent collapse exclusively on computers and cell phones. On the contrary, I think the technology explosion is only a part of mankind’s deconstruction of all that we used to cherish as independence and self-sufficiency. Regrettably, that old-time version of the romantic hero was not an equal-opportunity provider, and because some people succeeded and others failed, it wasn’t fair.
OMG! Feelings were hurt!
I remember the two most emphatic precursors of that movement — they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and clanged the fog bell of imminent foundering somewhere in the deep recesses of my primal awakening. I was coaching Little League baseball and attended a meeting of the organization’s board where it was discussing buying chest protectors for every player to wear at all times during a game. You see, a young ball player in California had been hit in the chest by a pitched ball as he stood in the batter’s box, and it killed him. The boy experienced ventricular fibrillation, caused by commotio cordis, a Latin medical term meaning agitation of the heart, which can cause ventricular fibrillation and sudden death. However, as scary as the incident was, it’s about as rare as a bridge collapsing because of resonant frequency.
But thanks to our ever-vigilant media for their dependable hysterical overreaction that helps sell cottony-smooth toilet paper and miracle creams to help stamp out, once and for all, the heartbreak of psoriasis, a movement began. Since it wasn’t practical to cover all the kids in bubble wrap, the ridiculous, expensive and constricting chest protectors became the latest cause célèbre. I know, I know, it’s for the kids’ safety. After all, our kids are delicate china dolls, made of brittle porcelain, right? Precious, dear little artifacts of untold worth because, let’s face it, nobody ever took child-rearing as seriously as we do or invested as much money into the project. Right?
I mean, we’re right, right?
Yeah, we understand that kids die, but we want that to happen no more, so we’re doing something about it, and by God, you better make it so or we’ll hold our breath until we turn blue. Or march with vulgar signs and shrill voices raised in a cacophony of overcompensation. Forget the unpleasant truth that we’re raising generations of ineffectual, namby-pamby, mollycoddled, delicate, self-absorbed and lifelong appurtenances to mommy and daddy (and their surrogates); we’re busy changing the world and one must make sacrifices.
Such as self-esteem. Or self-reliance. Or any sense of self at all.
Which those of us who came of age in the 20th century obtained on the playground and in our backyard through the time-honored tradition of natural selection. Hold on Hercules, Beowulf and Karna, we don’t roll that way in the age of vicarious. Where you used to learn and sharpen your life skills by dealing with bullies and disparities in ability and opportunity, we no longer tolerate those obstacles. No child left behind, and all that. Except bullies, of course. We don’t care for bullies, unless we must bully in the name of righteousness and self-actualization. (There are all kinds of bullying, aren’t there?)
To hell with DNA and eons of learned behavior …
… like a boy I know who found out the hard way. His name is Cyrus and he’s a tough kid who could easily be labeled a bully by today’s standards. In my youth, he would’ve been considered just another boy who stood up for himself, which is no longer acceptable behavior, as he was to learn. At school, a bigger boy took a swing at him, so Cyrus swung back and beat the snot out of the bigger boy. Cyrus received a week’s suspension for protecting himself. The principal explained that it was wrong to fight back, that Cyrus should have turtled and waited for help to arrive.
And you wonder why this generation is ultra-sensitive, easily distracted and unable to deal maturely with disapproval and failure: they never learned how — they’re being raised by a cadre of Neville Chamberlains. Nor are they being challenged by the difficult realities of life, like the presumed uber-fragile students of a certain eastern Pennsylvania school district. During a recent cold snap of single-digit temperatures, the superintendent closed all the schools because … well … he didn’t want the kids to get cold.
I kid you not!
In justifying the closings for three days, he said, “We have to be sensitive to the babies who are walking outside.” (He actually used those words.)
OMG squared to the gazillionth power! And guess what many of those babies did during that unscheduled three-day holiday? You guessed it: They went skiing and sledding and skating, or spent the day outside playing in the snow (those who knew how to participate in activities that required more coordination than rapid thumb movement, that is).
There’s not enough bubble wrap in the world to fix that kind of assumptive conceit. And the lessons learned are incalculable in terms of self-worth and entitlement. So, if you get a bad grade, go to the board of education. If you don’t make the team, sue. If you don’t get the job, file a complaint with the EEOC. If your candidate doesn’t win, cry and stomp your feet and act like a wild bunch of jejune jackanapes.
I don’t assign this behavior exclusively to millennials, and not all millennials are like this. As a matter of fact, many aren’t, and many longer-in-the-tooth adults are just as caught up in the trend of superficial, derivative identity. I’m not only talking about generational millennials here, but a broader swath of our society that has glommed onto the trophy babies’ mentality, who are fixated on shallow, egotistical validations through external, extrinsic values such as money, notoriety and image, and much less concerned with more meaningful, intrinsic values such as self-acceptance, civility, tolerance and community.
Unfortunately, we currently find ourselves in a caviling sea of narcissistic lollygagging without a paddle or sail or even a boat. And all the carping, feet-stomping, bellyacher-zealots are being led by a bunch of Captain Ahabs, determined to chase the ostensibly elusive yet remarkably unattainable unequivocal truth — the great white whale of subterfuge, exclusively for the benefit of all those emotionally peg-legged, monomaniacal self-pursuers, the shallowest segments of our society: politicians, aided by their first-mate enablers, the media and entertainers — our fearless defenders of all that’s self-serving, the bastion of selfish petulance, the last guard of “I got mine and I don’t really care if you get yours, but I’ll carry and wave that banner as long as you keep me out front and away from the maddening crowd (because let’s be real: You’re all deplorables to us — an inconvenient truth).”
The calamitous result of these autocratic bloodsuckers’ unquenchable avarice is the spawning of a multitude of ill-informed and compliant golems, nurtured and trained to support even the most outrageous nonsense. This malevolent construct is no accident, no fluke of nature; it’s a plan designed to keep the rich and powerful rich and powerful. The first pragmatic manifestation of this Machiavellian concept for group brainwashing appeared in Mein Kampf, written by Adolf Hitler while he was in prison after World War I, and universally identified as the Big Lie. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, took it even further when he wrote: “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
Stupid is as stupid does, and we be doing lots o’ stupid.
As we’re being taught in our complicit education systems because, as I’m sure you know, it takes a village to effectively brainwash enough of us to support such a simple, albeit devious and amoral concept: Make the lie big enough and repeat it often enough and it will become fact to the great (intellectually unsophisticated and nincompoopedly trusting) unwashed.
That’s us, folks!
Now, you on the left are saying to yourselves, “By Jove, you nailed those rascally Republicans on that one,” while you on the right are all, “Golly gee, that’s a damned sound definition of all those deceitful Democrats.”
Congratulations — you’ve just personified the purpose of the Big Lie: Keep the proletariat divided, pissed off and distracted while we continue to pick their pockets and steal their faith and their will. In other words, they don’t care what side you’re on or what you believe as long as you’re thoroughly caught up in pursuing red herrings and not watching them; keep your eye on the mesmerizing bouncing ball and forget about my other hand, boys and girls.
Don’t wanna be an American idiot, one nation controlled by the media. Information Age of hysteria, it’s calling out to idiot America.
Most of the insipid empty shirts we send to Washington these days are a far cry from what the Founding Fathers had in mind. They envisioned people taking time out of their lives to serve, then returning to their farms, factories, shops or jobs, many of whom left George Washington’s (“I’ve got a bridge to sell you”) swamplands broke or nearly broke.
Ha! What imponderous fools. Today, being elected to office is your ticket to wealth, guileful influence and free and lavish lifelong benefits. It’s better than playing the lottery because it’s a sure thing: You get to call the shots and vote yourself anything you please, as you razzle-dazzle ’em with exploitive rhetoric and an unscrupulous deportment fit for the finest reprobates we have to offer.
You dad gum guv’ment, you sorry rakafratchits. You got yourself an itch and you want me to scratch it.
Hey, I’m not making this stuff up. The late Lee Iacocca said pretty much the same thing about our current leadership: “Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane, much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘Stay the course.’ Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!”
Stay the course, of course, means keep electing me, and what better way to keep yourself ensconced in the good life with your year-round climate-controlled mansions and big, gas-guzzling SUVs to transport your armed security detail and your private jets and yachts and your privileged, gated communities than by creating a generation of non-participants, a host of anxiety-ridden, ineffectual dependents willing to surrender their self-sufficiency and sit on the sidelines to root for their team and throw rocks and bottles and marinate in the pure, autogenic hate that fires the engine that makes this all possible, cause fire is the devil’s only friend.
Today’s Big Lies, and they’re coming at us fast and furious, are being proffered by the deceitful, despotic, demented dynasts to promote their own welfare to the exclusion of the people who support their egocentric efforts — beyond a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, it’s the ultimate manipulation of inherent insecurities promoted and exploited by the new masters and mistresses of the universe, the otherwise useless appendages that hang inefficaciously like an infected appendix, covertly sucking the life out of the body whole as it slowly kills it. Reminds me of an episode of The Twilight Zone about the Kanamits, a giant alien race that came to Earth to ostensibly help and promote the welfare of mankind. They brought along a book titled To Serve Man. After spending some time helping the unsuspecting earthlings with all manner of societal improvements, the good people of Earth line up to visit the Kanamits’ home planet, blasting off into outer space with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts. Unfortunately for the gullible and unsuspecting carbon-based bipeds, To Serve Man turns out to be a cookbook.
And how do you suppose you’ll be served: rare, medium or well done? It doesn’t really matter what repast you become because we’re all consumable commodities to the overlords — the dragon-willers and malevolent beheaders in our very real game of thrones. So, before you become a crispy critter or lose your head, take heed: The world is not your oyster unless you’re willing to go digging with all the inherent risks of getting wet, cold or being eaten by the cleverest of all sharks. And it’s especially not okay to forgo oysters simply because you’re afraid. We’re all afraid — life is scary, like a roller coaster or watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. To live, to really live, is to face those fears, to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.
But we don’t do that, do we? Oh no, we continue to pretend to have relationships via Twitter and Instagram, and whenever we’re forced to actually meet up, we hug and kiss like there’s no tomorrow because if we’re hugging and kissing so much, we must be fully engaged and really, really good people, even though that engagement includes keeping those ubiquitous screens pasted in front of our faces because, like, we really, really care about you and all, but, you know, we don’t want to miss anything happening that might actually bring some true meaning to our overly connected, yet incredibly disassociated lives.
And we’ll post and paste our group-approved judgmental opinions and clever memes, totally lacking in any original thought or accountability because, well, it’s important, like, you know, to say and write stuff that’s superficial and tediously predictable because, gee willikers, nobody likes a smart aleck and, wow, that could be like, you know, really, abusive behavior to totally disagree with somebody who’s not entirely frabernackle.
And we’ll buy jeans with holes in them and pay through the nose to look like what used to be called hobos; wear clothes that don’t fit and waste a good deal of our time and energy pulling and tugging and adjusting; grow long beards and shave our heads in an asymmetry that appropriately reflects the asymmetry of our collective confusion; decorate our bodies with images and symbols that are supposed to reveal our true inner souls — our individuality — but in reality are just another plaintive cry for inclusion, a desperate need to count.
Ah yes, the millennials, Generation Y, Generation WE, The Boomerang Generation (because they have a tendency to move back home with their parents), The Peter Pan Generation (because they shun responsibility) — lots of unflattering monikers for a curious sociological group spawned in the residual fallout of the technological revolution, dust-of-the-earth manifestations of complex programming languages and miraculous microprocessors, here to usher in the latest frontier, self-possessed guides to the new order, void of obsolete conceptualizations such as privacy or singular uniqueness or risk/reward. And nowhere is that sociological distinction more prevalent than in today’s workplace, where according to Sally Kane at thebalancecareers.com, millennials crave attention. She writes that they seek “feedback and guidance and appreciate being kept in the loop and often need frequent praise and reassurance. Millennials may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their talents. This is where the boomers come in handy because (though mostly retired), they have something to offer and see mentoring millennials as one way they can continue to contribute to the workforce.”
And voilà, or as Andy Kaufman might have put it, here I come to save the day, a bonified, genuine baby boomer (mostly unretired) to offer a bit of wisdom and a touch of avuncular guidance to all you fledgling abecedarians. As you might expect, millennials are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, and as employers compete for their talents, the group’s distinctive and idiosyncratic characteristics are becoming harder and harder to disregard. Companies can no longer ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this large and demanding generation that has come to be defined by a perplexing set of personality traits. Here are a few of those perplexing traits and advice from my distinctive and idiosyncratic perspective:
Millennials Need Instant Gratification: Instant gratification is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. What comes easy, goes easy and has no real value to begin with.
It don’t come easy; you know it don’t come easy.
There are no participation trophies out here in the terrifying jungle of humanity, so stop expecting people to give a damn about you just because you showed up. Showing up may be a big part of success, but you need to bring with you something more than a quizzical smile and neat-o ’do. Unfortunately, your sense of self has been all tied up in group identity — that’s how you’ve been taught — but out here in the cold, hard world, and in spite of what the puppeteers say to keep you divided and comfortable in your odious outrage, most people don’t care if you’re male or female, black or white, where you were born, who you sleep with, who you worship or who’s your daddy, just what can you do for them. Accordingly, you should be more focused on who you are rather than what you are, so please resist the unrelentingly reinforced notion that you are special. You are not.
Millennials Think They’re Special: Being special is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. This popular notion that everybody is born special is pure poppycock. Special is not given; special is earned. If you want to be special, a truly special person, then don’t follow the well-worn path of conformity, of fear-based living. Oh sure, we’re all special to our families, our friends, our lovers (well, most of us are), but, generally speaking, that’s a biological reaction, an unregulated electronic impulse emanating from the brain, programmed into our systems by millennia of fighting the harsh realities of protection and fortification against the ever-changing machine of life. Rage against the machine! Don’t be like:
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It’s alright we know where you’ve been.
You’ve been in the pipeline, filling in time.
Be more like:
We need a movement with a quickness.
You are a witness of change.
And to counteract,
We gotta take the power back.
But that’s not easy to do, and they sure as hell don’t want you kicking up any dust or peeking at the man behind the curtain. That kind of dangerous attitude is heresy in the ongoing war for the ultimate control of your mind and soul. They desperately need you to believe you are special, and that it’s them (the machinees), and only them (the corrupt, devious, inglorious bastard machinees) that make it so. So, rage, rage against the dying of the light, and do not go gentle into that good night. (Lots of nifty quotes to Google while spending quality time with your BFF.)
Or maybe that’s all too much and you just want to go on thinking you’re special. Okay then:
You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.
Millennials are Multitaskers: Multitasking is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. Oh, I get it: You’re the superhuman generation that can do it all, harness technology and use it as your bitch. Well guess what? The bitch is back … and she’s pissed off! To begin, technology is a tool, not a reflection of who you are. Unfortunately, it’s being used more as a disguise, a distorted mirror of who you think you are or who you’d like to be; a mask, something to hide behind, to protect you from being discovered for the freighted fraud, the compliant charlatan you may very well be.
Throw ’em a fake and a finagle. They’ll never know you’re just a bagel.
Please get this through your pointy little heads: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS MULTITASKING! (And yes, I’m shouting.) Can’t be done. You’re either doing one thing or another, and if you’re trying to do two things at the same time, you’re doing them both poorly. Period. End of story. And here’s why: Regardless of all the empty platitudes and cute bon mots, you have only 100 percent to give. There is no 110 percent or any other sophistic deviation from the laws of math that apply — only 100 percent of your time and concentration is available. So, if you’re trying to do multiple tasks, you are only giving some of yourself to each of them and cheating each of them of the rest of you. In other words, you’re doing a half-assed job on everything. Keep that up and it won’t be all:
You’re my end and my beginning.
Even when I lose I’m winning
’Cause I give you all, all of me.
It is often said (usually by millennials) that millennials are multitasking pros and can juggle many responsibilities at once.
Pure unadulterated hogwash!
What it really means is that you are easily distracted and find social media and messaging hard to resist. In other words, we’ve weaned a gaggle of electronic junkies who can’t focus on any given, single task. Sure, you can ride your bike and use your phone, you can run and use your phone, you can work out and use your phone, you can send emails and post really cool memes and use other functions of your phone at the same time, you can chew gum and talk on your phone, you can be in a face-to-face conversion with a viable, breathing human being and use your phone, and I assume you can have sex (with a viable, breathing human being, hopefully) while using your phone, but you cannot — no way, no how — live your life to the fullest, exist on the edge of uncontaminated enlightenment, suck every ounce of nectar from the sweet fruit of being, smell the roses or shout out I am I cried, I am said I while using your phone.
Turn it off and tune in. It’s not as scary as you think. Honest.
Millennials Want Balance in Their Lives: Balance in life is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. Unlike generations before you, you seem unwilling to sacrifice your personal lives to benefit your career. You appear to believe that playing hard is more important than working hard, and you seemingly have the misguided impression that work is supposed to be fun.
Fun? They call it work, remember? That’s for a reason: It’s work. Fun is a three-letter word that backwards spells ‘nuf’ — which has no meaning, which is the same value fun has to the job. Workplace fun is an oxymoron, morons and moronettes. FYI, an oxymoron is combining two words with opposite meanings to create a desired effect, and in this case the effect is, “Are you freaking kidding me?”
Yes, your job should be rewarding, should be fulfilling, should be satisfying, but fun is what you do on Saturday night at Skate-a-Rama with Sloppy Sue and Big Bone Billy. Don’t confuse happiness with fun, or pleasure. As Margaret Paul writes at huffpost.com, “We are a pleasure-seeking society. Most of us spend our energy seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. We hope that by doing this, we will feel happy. Yet deep, abiding happiness and joy elude so many people.” That’s because we tend to confuse the two concepts, especially those of instant gratification orientation. Pleasure is a temporary feeling that comes from external stimuli: a good meal, an enjoyable movie, executing the perfect travailing toe pivot with Sloppy Sue, making love while not on the phone, etc. Happiness, on the other hand, is internal and comes from being connected to yourself.
Don’t panic — you won’t find an app for that on your phone. But there is an icon embedded in your internal system, deep down inside, and all you need to do is find it. It’s there you’ll discover the fulfillment you seek (and nowhere else). As you begin this amazing journey, though, please keep in mind this truism: Life is not fair, and good luck with that balance thing:
Get over it, get over it.
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit,
Get over it, get over it.
Millennials Want to be Equal: Equality is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. You may be equal in the eyes of the Lord, but here on terra firma, you ain’t jack, Jack and Jackettes, at least not until you’ve paid your dues. Regrettably, you’ve been led to believe that you can accomplish anything you set your mind on. Oh, okay: Please let me know when you harness that positive energy enough to jump over the Empire State Building — that I want to see. Truth is, you can accomplish many things in life if you’re willing to work hard, but you have limitations. Sorry to burst your bubble, but learning to accept those limitations and concentrate on your strengths is a tough bucket of nails, especially when you’ve been coddled and propped up all through your formal schooling.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re such a gifted generation of brainiacs that your elementary school eschewed structured grades and used only passive recognition on your report cards, such as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” instead of letter grades, along with appropriate comments such as “Well Done” or “Good Job” or “Nice Work” except the one time a teacher wrote, “Great Effort” and your mom and dad had to go down to the school to set that teacher straight by reminding her that “Great Effort” means you failed but really tried and that kind of passive-aggressive patronizing of such an obviously and extremely gifted child is completely unacceptable and you never got a comment like that one again, for sure, because, let’s be clear here, you’re the most gifted, special, extraordinary example of homo-erectus-ascending ever erected.
Congratulation on that erection. However, the true equation for success in life is really rather uncomplicated: No one is going to treat you as an equal, appreciate your talents and efforts, empower you, legitimize you, liberate you, enthuse you or disabuse you until you see yourself as equal, appreciate your own talents and efforts, empower yourself, legitimize yourself, liberate yourself, enthuse yourself and disabuse yourself first. When it comes to establishing your place in the world, you are the alpha and the omega, the yin and the yang, the be all and end all, the boss with the sauce, the last word — it’s all about you (just as you suspected all along): the good and bad, the successes and failures, the pleasures and frustrations, all up to you.
But there is one thing holding you back. The obvious and over-messaged response to that statement, of course — the one you’ve heard so many times it’s become a cliché — is you. But I’m afraid it lies much deeper than that perfunctory answer, somewhere in the safest recesses of your tattered psyche, a secret place you keep hidden from the world, the real you, the one you know best, the one that makes you feel inadequate and unlovable because that’s exactly what dependency does to people: It teaches them that they’re not capable of taking care of themselves, that they’re inadequate, unworthy, a burden, and those feelings inevitably lead to self-loathing.
Where do you think all this hate comes from? It sure doesn’t come from nowhere. No, no Nanette, it starts with you and how you feel about yourself. It’s as simple as that: Fix the way you feel about yourself and cure the world of hate (at least your world). You better, seriously, because hate doesn’t destroy the other guy; it destroys you.
But how do you do that? Well, it takes some real effort and applied disciplines to slay the mightiest dragon of them all, the one that lives inside your barely penetrated cranium, stirring up all the head trash it can lay its crooked, sticky fingers on. Step one in the crusade: Watch She’s Out of My League. The movie stars Jay Baruchel as Kirk who meets a beautiful young woman named Molly, played by Alice Eve. Kirk’s buddy, Stainer, played by T.J. Miller, labels her a solid 10, and Kirk an arguable five. No chance for Kirk in this mismatch, right? We’re talking Hollywood here, babes. The central problem of the movie is that Kirk believes he is a five, and because of that, Molly is unattainable, and as long as he believes he is a five, she is. (Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.) These guys have spent their entire lives rating people on a system based solely on external characteristics, and after the predictable trials and tribulations of young love, both Kirk and Stainer come to realize that it’s what’s inside a person that counts; that who you are is more important than what you are. With that hard-earned knowledge and the conviction of his newfound inner strength, we see Kirk and Molly flying into the sunset together forever (which by Hollywood standards means about as long as it takes for the ink on the prenup to dry).
Once you get past the obligatory profanity (because you millennials, apparently, love the f-bomb … and blowing up stuff) and the superfluous scatology, it’s a good movie with an important and timeless message. Whoever you want to be, you already are. You just need to find it. And that’s been no easy task for you millennials. I thought my grandmother’s generation had it rough with all the monumental changes during their lives — going from no conveniences to electricity, telephones, washing machines, refrigerators, movies, radio, television, cars, jet planes, space travel — but you guys trump that in spades. You’re the first generation that had to deal with the daunting burden of having the entirety of mankind’s accumulated knowledge at your beck and call, and the utility to instantly communicate with the entire world.
That’s overwhelming and an awesome weight of power to carry around on your shoulders. No wonder you equate external connections with being in touch with yourself, and no wonder you’re so overstimulated and hypersensitive. Like right now, I bet you think I hate you. I don’t. (I have a plethora of millennial progeny, being not just a wise old soul but a prolific one, as well.) You may think I hate you because hate is an essential operative construct in today’s abstract conceptual emotions. But hate is not an emotion. It’s a reaction, a direct result of fear. Unfortunately, fear drives most of our actions. Being afraid is not a weakness, but letting fear rule your life is:
Got to pull myself together
I don’t want to die of fright
What can I do to keep from going
Crazy in the night
The best way to combat fear and all its debilitating manifestations is to engage fully. Join your life copiously and repulse those trying to control it. My final advice is to listen to The Who’s Baba O’Riley, but if that’s too esoteric for you, go with Funkadelic: Shit, goddamn, get off your ass and jam. Too urban? Then try one of your faves, J.K. Rowling: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
That’s right, dudes and dudettes, life can be hard, very, very hard, but even harder when you try to hide from it. Truth be told, you can’t hide from it because it will eventually come and get you. Like growing old: It’s inevitable. You may think you have it schussed, but you’re only fooling yourselves. So stop fooling yourself — seize the day, stay in the moment, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.