I used to be pretty sure that my generation got screwed. The way I figured it, for as long as I can remember, the world was concentrated on the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. Every day Tom Brokaw would greet us during his 6:30 newscast with another story about how fabulous the generation that fought World War II was, how much their sacrifice and honor meant to the world, how we must never forget what they went through. How I prayed someone would forget and I wouldn’t have to hear about this brave bunch of seniors anymore! To the other side of me were the Baby Boomers. My parents generation that just wouldn’t leave. Everywhere they went I saw them, always in positions of power over me. The owned the places I worked, legislated the laws I had to follow, reported the news, you get the picture, they were everywhere. I understood it though and assumed that at some point they would go the way of the Greatest Generation, retire, and at some unknown time, be nothing more than stories on the evening news my kids would have to put up with about how they fought against the military industrial complex and won, tore down the walls and taught us all to distrust the government. Yeah, that’s what I thought but it never happened.
I don’t know if it’s because of improvements in health care, the screwed up economy left us by so many Republican administrations or just a change in thought about working and retiring but my parents generation have made no moves toward retirement. Not only have they not retired but it’s beginning to seem like they never will. OK, so my generation, good old Generation X has gotten screwed. How you ask? Well, we still believed in the corporation as an institution, we still believed in an honest day for honest pay, we still believed in career advancement. When the generation before us didn’t leave, we had nowhere to go and by the time we realized they weren’t going anywhere our chance at risks was starting to expire. It’s so much easier to jump into the wind and off a cliff when you don’t have a family or own a house and a car, when you’re just out of college trying to find your way, when you’re too dumb to know better. The problem is, we do know better now. We’re a little tentative about following our dreams now without a safety net and the promise of some sort of paycheck.
The generation after us, Generation Y, knows no fear however. While we were waiting on our parents to retire and the corporations they were running to reward us the kids in Generation Y were starting their own tech firms. They were writing code and running towards the future. They were young, owned nothing and as a result made millions. This process just didn’t work in business either, almost every field of art, except music, felt the same shifts. Music, our saving grace, only entertained my generation for the briefest of moments. Grunge was about our only movement and in the big scheme of things that lasted for barely a minute.
So, what’s my point? Am I just complaining? Let’s be clear, I do love to complain which works out well because I often feel like I’ve been screwed by powers and situations beyond my control. It helps me sleep at night. After all, it’s much easier to feel like you’ve worked as hard as you could and something over you stifled you rather than admit you failed or even worse, that you never even took the shot when you had the ball. I’ve done all of that. I’ve not taken the shot, I’ve complained, I’ve given in and given up, I’ve blamed faceless men, I’ve even wished away a few opportunities that should have been mine.
I wrote a column at the beginning of the year about how I was going to live for the moment and really take some chances. I wanted to shake things up and do things differently to affect a positive change in my life. To that end, I’ve decided to do what the generation after me has done and take the bull by the horns and build my own track to run my own race. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a collection of poetry published. I have it completed. I made a half-hearted attempt in college but when the publishing world didn’t see the genius I knew was inside me I folded my table, took my ball, mixed some metaphors and went home. Well no more. I plan on self publishing two collections of poetry over the next several months. One will be Beat inspired, the other confrontational, both will cement my place in the upper echelons of poetry for the new few centuries. I expect all of you, my loyal readers to purchase a copy. This year I’m taking a shot when I have the ball and buying a ball and hoop if there isn’t one for me to take a shot. I hope you all do the same.