Generation Selfie

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Generation Y, Generation We, The Me Me Me Generation, Echo Boomers. This is what they call us-anyone born between the 1980’s to the early 2000’s. I prefer Millennials, it just sounds too cool for school.

Millennials have been called narcissistic, arrogant, disrespectful, and entitled. I agree and disagree. Some of us are disrespectful. I’ve seen kids use their skateboards to Ollie over the body of a dead cat just for “fun”. I know, adorable, right?

We are narcissistic, but so was every generation when they were young. We are still discovering who we are, but I’m sure we’ll get over ourselves eventually.

One day we’ll all stop caring every time someone posts something like, “I just worked out”, on Facebook. And someday we won’t feel the need to put a new selfie up on instagram every 10 minutes.

I admire my generation’s willingness to put it all out there though. It demonstrates some courage, it’s just that we don’t need to hear it or see it every second of every day. We could show a little restraint and be more selective in what we share with the world.

Communication is our biggest issue. It’s easy to be brave while hiding behind our computers, tablets, and smartphones, but our generation has difficulty with real communication. We are the internet generation. We have never been more connected in any other point in history and yet we are the most disconnected.

It’s interesting that we call it “social media” when it encourages anything but being social. We can have entire online conversations without ever knowing someone. We can text and tweet, we can insta this and snap that, but when it comes to just sitting down and making real face to face conversation with real people we are at a loss for words. Maybe we should call ourselves Generation Hashtag since nothing really exists to us anymore unless there’s a # in front of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous advantages of living in this internet age, especially from a business sense. But I’ve starved myself of facebook for the past 4 days and I feel so much better about myself. I’ve gone on a job interview, I’ve been reading actual books, I even set up a date with an actual guy. The bastard ended up standing me up, but the point is I now have the time to put myself out there and work on me. I can start going for the things I want and focus on myself in a positive way rather than focusing on what other people are doing with their lives every 10 minutes or what they think of me.

That’s what facebook and Instagram have turned into for me lately. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing or wearing or dating until you start asking yourself why you aren’t doing those same things. Why aren’t I engaged? Why don’t I have those shoes? Why didn’t I get that job? It’s easy to start thinking negatively when all you do is compare yourself to others. So stop it already and go play outside with the real boys and girls.

As for being entitled, well the internet plays a part in that as well. Everything is available to us. You can order a movie online and watch it instantly, you can type in a term on google and find out everything there is to know about it instantly. We want everything instantly, now.

This stems from our parents as well. They wanted to give us everything they didn’t have growing up so many of them gave us way too much or gave it to us just so they did the opposite of what their parents did.

Some say the result is that we all evolved into little spoiled ingrates. In some ways we did, but in other ways we are better for it. We realize the positive aspects of entitlement. We realize that we are entitled to be happy and we are entitled to go after our dreams instead of the futures our parents or anyone else has planned for us.

Books and movies of our time like The Hunger Games and Divergent are an indication that our generation is simply not willing to put up with shit. We will not be told what to do or who we can do it with. We are a generation of rebels and insurgents. We know about the man behind the curtain and we refuse to buy into his lies or his rules. We want to make up our own rules.

But in order to do that we have to find our voice, our true voice. We have to stop living off our parents, stop hiding behind our iPhones, stop being distracted by the pretty new technology, and start communicating, for real. We need to come out from behind the hashtag so we can start living for real.

The Walking Dead

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Should we be grateful for things we have, but don’t necessarily want?

After my vacation, it’s been difficult going back to work. I got a taste of fun, excitement, and adventure and now that’s all I crave. To go from that to, “Would you like to add any fries or onion rings?” is excruciating. Yup. I literally have a job where I have to ask “Do you want fries with that?” That question is like the kiss of death. It signifies that you are either a high school senior who just needs an after school job for the extra cash, or that your life has taken a terribly wrong turn somewhere. I, unfortunately, am not the former.

I once had a customer say, “Wow, so this is, like, your Iife, huh?” I often ask myself the same question. I ask myself how I got here. Then I remember why I took this job. I was desperate. I was depressed because I didn’t have a job and needed money. But I had no idea, 3 years later, what a soul sucker it would be.

I hate being told what to do, yet I chose a job where all I do is what people tell me to do. I spend all my time trying to please people. They ask for Ranch, I bring them two. They want more water, I rush over and refill their glasses. All in the hopes of receiving a tip. I’m basically a whore with a bow tie. A trained monkey dancing for the approval of the audience.

There are people at my job who actually work something called the graveyard shift. I too have worked this shift and it’s not pretty. You start at midnight and work until 6am. All night you deal with drunken idiots who slur their words as they order gravy fries, chili fries, and even more alcohol. When the sun comes up it means you get to leave. Just as the rest of the world is waking up, you stumble on home. The blisters on the bottoms of your feet pop and sting and you hobble each step of the way like an extra from The Walking Dead.

Whoever said sleep all day, party all night is an asshole. I sleep all day and work all night. You do this often enough and your days begin to blur together. You start to forget what time it is, what day it is, and even what your own name is. You are not a person anymore. You’ve become a thing. A robot that sort of resembles something that was once alive. Is it all worth it? The answer to that is becoming increasingly blurry itself.

Middle class problems you say? Yes, I realize that there are people who have it worse. Some people don’t have jobs at all. Some people can’t put food on the table. Some people don’t even have a table. But just because there is poverty, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t want my own life to improve and be better than what it is, right? Of course not. But it means a decision must be made. I can’t just whine and complain all day. If something in my life isn’t the way I want it, then I need to change it. If there is something I want to do instead, then I should do it, right? But how?

I still have bills to pay. I still have to put food on my table. Or…my lap since I myself don’t even own a table. How can I change my life? I want more. I’m Santiago searching for the Egyptian treasure. I’m the Englishman searching for the Alchemist.

Perhaps the problem is that I’m not sure what treasure I’m looking for. Opportunities usually arise when you don’t look for them, but you at least have to know what it is you want. I don’t want to be unhappy. I don’t want the life drained out of me and I don’t want to work to live or live to work. But those are things I don’t want. What are the things I do want?

I want to be happy. I want a career that’s fun, exciting, and always keeps me guessing. I want more creativity in my life. I want more love, romance, and adventure too. I want more friendships, more parties, and dance nights. I want more kisses, and brunches, and desserts. I want more spooning, more laughter, and more kindness. Maybe if I focus on all the positive things that get me excited and make me feel good. Maybe if I speak it into existence, as my sister says, then the answers I need will manifest. Maybe if I breathe. Just breathe.

Who knows what lies ahead? I can’t control what happens, but I can control how I feel. And I feel better already so that’s a step in the right direction.

Get Up

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My sister pointed something out to me the other day as I was showing her the movie, Bambi, for the first time. She said, “It just keeps coming. One bad thing after the other”. It was interesting to me that she was 23 and had never seen this movie before, but it also occurred to me that this is how life can seem to us at times. It just keeps coming. The bills, the heartbreaks, the loss.

I never realized until recently how much that movie prepares you for life. Bambi is born and the whole world is new and exciting to him. He is loved by his mother, meets new friends, and life is innocent. Safe. Until it isn’t.

A threat enters the picture. Man. Bambi’s mother is killed. This is his first experience of loss, despair, and loneliness. He is taken in by the head deer, the Great Prince of the Forest, who should’ve been there from the start, but was probably too busy impregnating other deer in the forest. He has nothing useful to say except, “Your mother cannot be with you any more.” (Gee, thanks, sir that’s very comforting.) “Come with me, my son”. (Hold up, I ain’t got no father and I ain’t going nowhere with you)

Young Bambi sheds his slightly effeminate ways and grows up to be strong and masculine. (Hint, hint to all us girly boys. Apparently that ain’t gonna cut it in the big bad forest) It’s spring and he and his friends notice that a lot of the animals are acting strangely. Friend Owl explains that the animals are “twitterpated”. Love has taken over the forest, but Bambi and his friends declare that they won’t give in to something so ridiculous, and crazy. But you can’t escape love, of course, and one by one they be begin to fall into it. Bambi finds his match in his childhood friend, Faline. Their romance takes off almost immediately, but is soon threatened by someone who wants to come between them. A dark buck who wants Faline to be his property. “I’m Buck and I’m here to fuck”. Thank you Tarantino, thank you.”

This is where the film gets slightly chauvinistic. It teaches girls that they need to be protected and teaches boys that they need to protect their girl because, you know, they can’t take care of themselves. Bambi fights off the cockblocker and gets the girl. The toughest and strongest dude always does, right?

The lovers get a moment of peace and happiness. But the threat isn’t over. Man has returned to the forest and this time he’s brought along some friends. Bambi and Faline must run for their lives as a pack of snarling, drooling, hunting dogs chase them down. This to me is what life sometimes feels like. You’re happy and in a good place and then wham! Reality smacks you right in the kisser.

The dogs attack Faline aka the helpless woman as she cries out for her man to save her. This chick is obviously not a feminist. Bambi rushes to the rescue with his large…umm horns and fends off the doggies. He rams one and kicks another, each hit like a big “FUCK YOU!” “Fuck you taxes, fuck you dead end job, fuck all you guys who rejected me!” Well, maybe these are just my issues.

Bambi and Faline get away, but if the dogs weren’t enough, Bambi gets shot. His father once again shows up out of nowhere. (Where were you a minute ago when I needed you, ya putz?!) He does have something useful to say this time. “Get up, Bambi. You must get up!GET UP! GET UP!”

This is a slightly better approach than Melissa McCarthy’s “I’m life, stop hitting yourself” approach in Bridesmaids. But this is the best and most important part of the movie. That one line should be your guide book for life. No matter how much crap life throws at you and no matter how hard it can seem, you must get up. You have no choice. The only other option is to whither and die. And who wants that? You want to be here and alive because this is where you can eat ice cream, and create, and enjoy sex, and fall in love over and over again. This is where the fun, and excitement, and drama is. Life can get you down, but it can also lift you up if you let it. And if you don’t get up when you’re supposed to, then you’re gonna miss out, big time. So get the fuck up, Bambi and let’s get twitterpated.