I’ve read various articles detailing the dark side of this current generation. The narcissism, entitlement, and overall predilection for bitching incessantly is something that we are being branded with and subsequently judged on. It’s sad that my generation is viewed in such a negative light. But frankly, if the shoe fits, then so be it. Recently, I’ve not only thought on my own generation but the ones that will follow. I tend to think about these things when visiting my niece.
Now, I feel that its my sworn duty to not only beat the snot out of anyone that wants to date her in the future, but to also help her become a decent human being. The last thing we need is a generation more egocentric than my own. The things I want to tell her are the following:
- Congratulations on skipping crawling and walking and going straight to running. Keep running. Don’t worry so much about others catching up, if they really want to they will. Inevitably, you will find that asphalt is your arch-nemesis, and that gravity isn’t really going to work in your best interest. That’s OK. At some point you’re going to find what works for you. Just don’t be afraid to keep running.
- Stay curious. I’ve seen your explore the world around you. The day you stop exploring is truly the day you stop growing. Long after you’ve reached your full height, you still need to grow as a person. Also, don’t worry about having an opinion different from the norm. Inevitably you’ll find that you can agree with some people but it will make both of you wrong.
- You’ll have some bad ideas along the way. Everyone does. Periodically you might think back on some stupid thoughts or moments you had and grimace or outright cringe. The real trick is to learn to laugh about those moments. Maybe one day you’ll tell your own niece, nephew, or grandchildren about how you totally embarrassed the living daylights out of yourself doing X,Y,Z.
- For the love of god, do not let lack of WiFi be a point of complaint for you. When I was a kid I never judged a restaurant’s merit by presence of internet connectivity. I only cared if I got a kids menu with the appropriate amount of crayons. By god it was an utterly enthralling experience to doodle on my menu with crayons. Enjoy the simple things in life. There is never lack of opportunity to connect to the internet and switch your brain off.
- Listen to your parents. On many occasions I’ve ignored them only to think myself a genius for it. Well, turns out I am a genius for it but only in the sarcastic sense. You won’t always agree with your parents. Look at it this way, their job is to make sure you’re a successful human being after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. To that end, they will do what they need to do. Don’t expect to always be ecstatic about the things they do for you.
- People, not things, matter the most. You can replace an iPad, iPod, cellphone, whatever, but you can’t replace the friends you grow up with or the people that helped you make it to being an adult.
- It’s okay to take pride in a job well done, but don’t let success go to your head. Remember that long before you were coldly calculating your next move, someone had to clean you and change your diaper. In a similar manner, be thankful for the people in your lift that help you clean up and subsequent messes in your adult life.
- Be loyal.
- Workout. You’ll thank yourself for this when you get to be my age. (At the time of writing this I’m 25 years old. But the time you read this and fully comprehend it, who knows how old I’ll be. But if you wind up being anything like the rest of your family you’ll catch on quick.)
In all reality there are too many lessons for you to learn. Some can’t be taught, they can only be lived through. Just be smart about the chances you choose to take and hope you land on your feet and not your ass. I highly discourage posterior-based landings. That however, is an expansive topic and best reserved for another post altogether.