An addendum to Monday’s post:
SPOILER WARNING: More personal/less critical.
I’ve been reading a lot – a lot of commencement speeches, essays, analyses of my generation and how narcissistic it is. I get it. We are for the most part. We’re on our phones, updating statuses, investing in the countless ways to enhance who we are. We put thought into our social media expressions. We are too often self-entitled and self-righteous. And because of such characteristics, the void following college and before the career world has been consequentially labeled a time period of indulgence, self-absorption, immaturity, and lack of drive.
And while I think I can critically analyze my generation as much as one can who is in it, I have to say this is unarguably wrong.
Because here is what I am feeling. I am not reluctant to enter the job field. On the contrary, I’m ecstatic. For the first time, I feel tremendously in control and I love such a feeling. I genuinely love applying to jobs while being blessed to have the opportunity to do so from home, with a paid roof over my head and food on the table. My life is good as is my future – and I’m remarkably grateful for this.
But there is a feeling of insurmountable sadness at my core that is filled with loneliness, disappointment, and disenchantment. On Monday, I referenced Marina Keegan’s now famous article “The Opposite of Loneliness” in which she leaves school and wishes only to have that glorious sense of community so typical of college awaiting her in her future. While the idealist in me would similarly love such a future, the realist in me knows this isn’t the way our tremendously calloused world works. The realist in me sees Eleanor Rigbys and Donnie Darkos and can’t help but feel life is nothing more than simply trying to handle how remarkably lonely the human race is.
I was listening to a song – Skinny Love – a song that perhaps more than any other, takes me back to a night not too long ago in which I discovered incredibly sad news about several friends. News that, while isn’t devastating, instills an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that remains unshakable.
Thinking about that song, I am reminded how the border between college and what follows it seems to be the border of expressing that genuine melancholic feeling of pain, confusion, and impotence – and across that border, where expression is cast off as trivial, indulgent, and childish.
And I am so afraid of entering this supposedly professional world in which expression and connecting – two things that arguably build college friendship foundations - are not only discouraged but indicted.
I am the offspring of baby boomers – a generation whose marriages were built to fail and my parents were no exception. Communication problems were systemically included in the genetic coding of nuptials for post WII babies and the byproduct is a group of citizens entering retirement age who convey lives of opportunity, activism – the movers, the shakers, the dreamers – but whose lives are now disconnected, isolated and lonely.
And I’m sure they saw their parents the way I see mine now. Because all I want is for us to remember how to talk to each other and express how we’re feeling and to keep the friends we have to say these feelings to.
So that at 2AM on a Tuesday night when I hear Bon Iver, I can express something to someone. And that this someone will hear me.