The 21st Century Participation Award: Massive Anxiety about Everything and Nothing!
I have noticed in recent times that every young child receives an award for simply participating in a certain activity. The intention is to make the individual feel comfortable if not successful for performing a certain activity.
The truth is that most people have not committed themselves to anything more risk prone than attending an expensive college/university [ all of them are rapacious]. We have lost several generations of adolescents and millennials whose only obsession in life was to achieve the best that he/she could do with respect to getting into the college of their choice or doing nothing.
Clearly, these are transformative actions. Applying to schools and waiting for their acceptance is somewhat nerve-wracking. Yet, it is completely blown out of proportion. Unless it is a trade school there is very little value to a so-called “general education” taught by others that are highly compensated. It does not make you think more clearly or creatively. All the education really does is to place the student into debt for the rest of his/her life.
College and postgraduate schools have become a rationale for most ambitious teenagers who have experienced very little else in their short life-span. The approbation from universities and a medical college had always been a secondary concern for me. It was the notion that I could compete in a world vested with ambition, determination and fear of rejection. It was the juice of scaling the societal hierarchy that granted some nurturance and excitement.
The race was more important than the final accolades. It took me several years to completely understand one important aspect of my own life. It’s not what other people think that was important. It was what I had determined to be important in my own life that made my journey incredibly interesting and exhausting.
Every time I would reach a post office mail box, I was excited to insert what I had thought was the most important manuscript every written, especially by me. I did not even know how to type when I first started to write novels. Instead, I derived my greatest pleasure in writing with a pen on a yellow legal pad of paper. In time, a very dear friend of mine [really his daughter] taught me how to type and the words kept flowing out of my mind like diarrhea. Many of those words were in fact quite ‘shitty’.
In this age of the internet, the notion of a steady job becomes increasingly more ethereal. “Gig employment” has supplanted the steady paycheck and lifetime job security. Today’s youth must be able to initiate one new job after another until the end of his/her life. Automation supplants both manual labor and skilled employees including doctors, lawyers, warriors, and truck drivers.
Past jobs have disappeared into modern times. Patience and focus have been transmuted into short-attention spans thanks to the IPhone and IPad. Anxiety has mounted exponentially because uncertainty/fear defines the millennials’ present and future.
Quo Vadis Domini? Where forth do I go my Lord?
It’s not an easy question to answer. In a world of many choices accompanied by empty promises [virtual education/reality] nothing is guaranteed.
No one job will/can fill a lifetime of effort. There will have to a combination of vocations combined with avocations in order to mollify the high anxiety state. Wars will be fought on the battlefields of binary numbers and worldwide surveillance.
Sanity will become an “acquired taste” [attributed to a Syrian-Jewish-Mafioso].
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” may become the path of the new unknown, undefined personal future. Everything is possible while at the same time nothing will be achieved. Thoughtful choice and calculated risk will be the defining norms of this uncertain millennial future. Failure will become one’s best friend or enemy…depending on that individual’s needs and perception.
A full life will be realized in nanoseconds or eons. The choice will always be determined by the individual. Yet the collective will always be able to pressure the outliers and the seekers by constantly haunting them with newly evolved ad hominem norms.
As more changes, less change will really occur. The paradox of the future has already been inscribed into the tablets of different heuristic models which will play out in narratives with new initials and fewer alphabetic characters.Twitter becomes the paradigm of brevity. The obituary column will be nothing more than an Instagram photo with RIP texted below appearing one second and disappearing the next moment.
Gustav Flaubert, the prominent French novelist, wrote the following:
“To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking all is lost.”