I’ve found what I think is the biggest difference between my generation and my parents.
I mean this in a philosophical way, and not the anti-religious one. I mean the skepticism of the purpose of the meaning of anything.
extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.
Sometime around Y2K, with corporations being deemed people and people being worth less than a company, while still being told that you should think of your company as family, we all sort of … broke.
We stopped caring if the job was our career and made ourselves the future we wanted. We put our joy, our contentment, above the work. But we also wanted the work to have some kind of purpose. We wanted to do good work, to stop supporting companies and things that were disrespectful and problematic.
We were more critical than ever before, but we didn’t just aim our cynicism at companies. We targeted ourselves with self effacing reality, snide sarcasm, and sometimes the harshness of truth. We weren’t going to celebrate the dead just because they were now dead and therefore perfect (except Bob Ross and Mr. Rodgers). We were now realists.
From that, with the decline in humanity in politics and the state of global warming, our morbid natures came to the surface. Gen X, Millennials, Oregon Trail, Gen Z, we all share the same feeling of not despair but reality. As the movie said, Reality Bites.
With this life of abject nihilism, we must seem disrespectful and even offensive to Boomers. We are cavalier about our love, intensely passionate and obsessive, but disinclined towards hero worship. Our support is won by providing a service as stated, but it’s kept by walking the walk. Once lost, regaining trust is nigh impossible.
We hate the idea of ‘the man’ in a different way than our hippie predecessors. We see the bribes and the depravity of wealth and riches, and we don’t want that. If we could live without money, we’d be happy. We just want to be free to create, to live and to love. And when we see people working against the common cause, we rebel.
We hold ourselves to these expectations as well, turning against our own achievements if we should slip. Our friends will hold us to task as well. But they will also life us up and remind us we deserve to be loved, to be happy.
And yet. We do all this in a way that Boomers, Silent, and the Greatest seem to find perplexing. We do it with snide comments and sarcasm. We bite and laugh. We joke “I am personally called out!” without meaning that at all. The word ‘literally’ has become a metaphor to us.
Above all, we don’t know that there’s a meaning in anything, and we don’t let it overwhelm us by using humour.
Because this is the world you gave us, and we’re just trying to make it through.