Okay, this post is a bit of a rant, and my thoughts are incoherent, but something is bothering me and I need to get it off my chest.
I do not exactly know which generation I belong to. I was born in 1998, so feel part of the 20th century ’90s babies’ but then again I was born at the very beginning of the 21st century, who are often called ‘millennials’. This rigid classification of generations does cause me a little uncertainty, since I often feel I do not really belong in any category.
On the one hand, I was lucky enough to have a childhood full of books and imaginary games instead of iPads and iPhones. On the other, I consider myself to be somewhat technologically literate, and understand how social media works, how iCloud works, etc. I also feel incredibly fortunate to have so much knowledge at my fingertips, with the internet providing me with so many opportunities, resources and ideas. Yet sometimes there is too much information, too much data, too many opinions and I feel a bit lost. What really annoys me sometimes is how technology is influencing human life, how people interact more through text rather than actual face-to-face conversation, and how the digital sometimes replaces the real. It makes me feel … disconnected. This is not to say I am not grateful and in awe of being able to talk to my family and friends on the other side of the world, but I think there needs to be a sort of balance in this.
Sometimes I feel like a millennial although ‘numerically’ I am not since I was born before 2000. On the one hand, I despise consumption and ‘hanging out’ in shopping malls and buying things just because they are on sale. Why would you buy something just because it is cheap, when actually you do not need it in the first place? Whenever I do this, I realise only later that I have fallen into a marketing trap, and I feel cheated. What really annoys me about Western capitalist style societies is that we are driven my so many outside factors to consume, consume, consume and be productive, productive, productive NEARLY ALL THE TIME. Surely this is not what being human is all about? On the other hand, I confess that I love having avocado on toast and finding independent coffee shops and documenting my life through Instagram. Instagram is an interesting medium because there is the constant tension of writing for an audience and the need to express your own thoughts, and there is the interaction of the photograph and the caption, the writing of which is an art in itself since it can change the entire meaning of the picture. But it can have detrimental effects on how to see life, always good and pretty and happy, a perfect image which often misrepresents what goes on behind the scenes.
So I do not know where to place myself, or whether I even need to – maybe it is better to think of myself not as part of a specific generation, but humanity in general. I wonder if all generations throughout history felt this tension between two or more generations, or if this is just a symptom of modern society where we are advancing at a very high speed technologically and scientifically.
Another thing that concerns me is how my generation, or humanity at this point in time, is treating the environment. I am deeply saddened by what we, as humans, are doing to planet earth and all the animals on it. It seems we are simply manipulating and abusing our planet’s resources for our own selfish ends. Why did we ever get this right and power? It does not seem fair, but maybe justice is also just a social construction in the human mind.
Sometimes I think about all this stuff and it just does not seem right. Something needs to be done, and I want to be part of the generation which can change these things – or does change just come naturally?
On a more positive note, I read a powerful poem today which I would like to share with you, since it gave me some peace of mind in regard to all this. I feel like I need to reconsider my priorities and create a firm moral compass for myself, so I will not be caught up in modern society’s ugly and unfulfilling parts. The thing is, I know I hold the power to change these aspects in my own life, but I feel like I am part of something bigger than myself so this change will not come easy.
The poem was written by Jonathan Reed in 2007, and it is called The Lost Generation. I absolutely love it because it made me think about my own priorities, my generation, how change happens.