Tuesday, November 15

Time to grow up

Generation O.  The "ground troops" of the Obama campaign.  In a Forbes article, Maura Pennington explains why she believes it is past time for Generation O to grow up.  Pennington writes
Hemingway and Fitzgerald chronicled the lost generation of the 1920s.  If someone were to write a great novel about our lost generation, the unthinking public would pass it up, but we would devour it.  We talk incessantly about ourselves, post links that mirror our feelings, troll the same blogs, rehash the same ideas, trying to bond ourselves in the experience of being adults at a time when being an adult is unappealing.
We’ve been accustomed to unsustainable standards of living, yet aren’t adapting to the reality that life just isn’t going to be the same as it was for our parents.  We aren’t adapting because we don’t understand why it can’t be like it was for them.  We’re stubborn in our sense of what can be ours, what should be ours, just by virtue of our having gone to those schools and being the people we are.
In our eyes, we’ve done everything right.  We played sports and acted in plays even though we are not currently pro athletes or actors.  Shouldn’t it count for something that we were captains of JV tennis?  That’s what is most difficult to face out here in this adult world.  It doesn’t matter what we did.  It matters what we do, the creative choices we make to adjust, the people we have real live conversations with.  Because no one is going to get a job, live in a nice place, have money to date and take vacations simply because he was president of the campus doing-good society, no matter what he’s been told.  The sooner we stop demanding the world to mold to the rosy, impractical view we had as undergraduates, the better for us all.
"Entitlement" may seem to be the watchword of Generation O, but they are not alone in culpability.  Their parents and many of the rest of us encouraged them to believe that if they went to college, were involved in a host of extracurricular activities, did all the "right" things, the world stand aside and
applaud as they made their entrances into it and would be grateful for their presence.

I do, however, applaud Pennington's very adult observation that "we stop demanding the world to mold" itself to whatever view we hold.  But there's more to this that is true for all of us, not just Generation O.

No matter our age or our political affiliation (and I'm not talking just politicians, lobbyists, and self-serving corporate executives):
  • We need to adapt to the realities of life and see the world as it is right now and how it might be in the future if we do not adapt.  
  • We need to accept the fact that just because we believe something should be true, doesn't mean it is or ever will be.  
  • We need to be less stubborn which is not to say less principled.  
  • We need to have real conversations that mean something.  
  • We need to make creative choices with a larger perspective than just ourselves.
So, yes, Maura, it may be time for Generation O to grow up, but so should the rest of us.

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