Hope for the hopeless

It would seem: based on a serious look at the status of our generation — aptly named Generation X, or the Lost Generation, or Generation Me, depending on your sources — that we are complete lost causes.

In a careful analysis of where we stand, and where we’ve come from, many would take it upon themselves to forfeit, many would throw in the towel and continue on watching television, and unfortunately, this seems to be the general response in all corners of America.

Kids seem to be giving up, this is apparent on this college campus, this attitude of apathy is flooding through all things, including classes, and all those 17-25 year old former world-loving-goal-aspiring-dreamers have become byproducts of a lifestyle that has no definition.

The American way seems to have become something so vague and indiscriminate, that people don’t necessarily personify it in any absolute way at all, merely in little snippets, which unfortunately for us, kiddos, is enough to suck the life right out of our dreams.

Sound bleak? Or familiar? Or like something you imagine is heard on college campuses from some old nay-sayer cynic as long ago as the 50s? Well … good. I suppose it’s a compliment to be lumped in with the likes of people who simply won’t accept the status of things.

It is however difficult to be an absolute fighter on all fronts of this vague illusory War Against Turning Into Something Worse Than Our Parents. One can seemingly not be a rebel unless he or she is an absolutist, so here we will find the clutter. Henry David Thoreau could not rebel against the arduous woe he saw in a consumerist society without escaping it entirely and turning his eyes to the woods, with Walden.

However his words did make it back to us, and thankfully in most if not all of their glory. Jack Kerouac could not have written about any semblance of an American dream in the guts of New York City, he had to escape, he had to work on the road with the railroad men, he had to travel and practice a life of evasion to properly digest whatever hopes he had for a better life, with such works as On The Road, or The Dharma Bums.

But our generation should likely find itself up against a large brick wall, or perhaps the realization that few countryside dreamscapes exist anymore, if we should try to escape the way such men and women have done so in the past.

But this brings up a question; do we need to escape the things that seem to make us not care, to truly start caring again? Does an alcoholic need to never see another cup of beer to successfully not drink again? Does a mother or father in an unhappy family need to totally escape that environment to perhaps change it, and be happy again?

Certainly not, if this were the reality then cities would no longer be populated, because ad agencies would have found a way to make it worth while financially to have kids running off into the woods to escape their so called fates.

We can certainly forge our place in the world without running away from it to gain perspective. In certain cases, perhaps the evasive method is helpful and it may seem the only way for those already off the deep end.

But for those of us who have to stay in the city, who have to make our ways through college classes and nights of work, through counseling sessions and days of questioning every step we’ve made up until this point; there has got to be a better way of giving our generation a bit of juice, without completely abandoning the very society we live in.

Problems lay ahead of and behind us, and although the road is long and seemingly congested with other people trying to find something completely different, We need not lose our hope. Our hope has been lost on the nights we’ve sat alone wondering about our future. Our hope has already seemed to vanish when we’ve sobbed to parents or friends only to find that no one seems to understand. Our lust for life has been completely forgotten some evenings, and turned into something entirely new the next day; so any thought given to whether or not we should have hope, needs to be fought.

For we should always have hope, we are a part of what will be the most definitive generation in our world’s history. We are members of a society that will redefine the way the world sees us, hears us, and does just about everything else.

We all have hands in the way this revolution of words, minds, medicine, thoughts, technology, and all things otherwise will go. This does not need to be a battle, but there does need to be an aspect of pride in the fact that we are this generation, and we can absolutely define things for ourselves.

We can chase our own goals and define new paths for the youth after us to take. We can do our share in lowering the amount of pollution in our immediate vicinity. We can be good to one another in ways that truly matter, and be good to ourselves in ways that seem to have been forgotten.

We are not just the children of a confused world, not just the babies of some lost American ideal, we are far more, and every second I take to stare at the faces of people that are a part of this Twentieth Century reality, I remember this fact; that in several years, we will have control of this place, and if now we see need to change it, we better make sure we’re ready.

We will control the power, the movies, the music, the books, the families, the morality, nearly everything that truly matters, our generation will have a big hand in, and although it’s an overwhelming concept, we also have plenty of time to really figure out what our place in this new epoch will be.

This is not meant to scold anyone for not being excited about the current state of things. Some nights it is probably very nourishing to spend your time inside and forget the world over a movie by yourself. And sometimes people don’t need to care, don’t need to constantly be worried about the wars and the politics and the religions and everything else. But we must care about that which is near and dear to us, whatever it may be.

We must realize the fact that sometimes we have to work, and sometimes we have to realize that if we aren’t happy about the way things are, we can define new things to change them.

It is merely worth considering; having looked at fresh young scholarly faces and seen such indecision, such confusion, and discontentment; this idea that perhaps things are not all right, but people can absolutely accept that without throwing in any towel.

We can pursue our dreams regardless of convention, or the world’s views, and we can make this life our own, and not be afraid to admit that at times, we simply cannot know everything, but we know enough to care.