A Disillusioned Generation

 

I’m 25 years old.

I arrived on this planet in the midst of a technological revolution. In my lifetime, my generation traveled from VHS to VR.  The generation before me had seen a man land on the moon.  With the internet, the knowledge of the world was now at our fingertips. Disney said “dream big,” our parents said, “aim high.”  The impossible was now possible. “We will do great things!”

Or, so we were told.

At 25, many of my peers are waking up in an average life and wondering if they are a complete failure. Perhaps they hold a steady job to support their family, or they stay home with the kids, but they aren’t the President.  They aren’t walking on Mars. They don’t feel they changed the world the way the adults prophesied they would. Did they “fail”?

My generation, striving to change the world, has fallen out of love with the rhythm of everyday life. They scoff at the beautiful and simple things —belittling love, marriage, and family in exchange for dreams, innovation, and fame. 

The 20 somethings are restless. They take pills to prevent motherhood and creams to prevent aging. They ceaselessly seek the fountain of youth and the tree of knowledge–never letting their soul rest. They forgo the way of life their ancestors treasured, all while feeling like a plane delayed on the runway. 

When they don’t find the beauty in the everyday things, they quickly become disillusioned, uneasy, and even angry.  They claim they are forsaken by the world who told them to aim for the highest star but forgot to mention that the journey is really what counts. 

Is it any surprise to see my generation forgo becoming parents? They feel their life hasn’t yet started. Perhaps once they reach the highest aim, then they will be deserving of love and family–they can’t risk any distractions now. They have a world to change.

How can we correct the course for these restless wanderers? How can we remind them of the foundation on which our success has been built–love, family, and service. 

In essence, after having launched their ambition into outer space, how can we bring them back home?

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  1. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    The real task isn’t to convince 25-year-olds that they should want a home. The real task is to teach them how to build (and maintain) a home in a world intent on destroying it.

    That is a compelling charge! If we look around our communities it is clear to see their is more work to be done–more to make beautiful and good.  (More work to be done on ourselves even!) Perhaps we need to figure out how to inspire people to see those opportunities in their own back yards?

     

     

    • #31
  2. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):
    Have you ever read, “The gods of the Copy Book Headings” ?

    It’s been posted in its entirety here more than once.  It’s my favorite next to “Sons of Martha.”

    • #32
  3. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    @DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.  

    • #33
  4. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    I’m 26, and I’m disillusioned — not exactly for the reasons you list (though those sentiments are common), but because of what they say about the culture we’ve inherited: What do we have to look forward to except decay? This has always been a restless country, but that restlessness once had an outlet. Our ancestors built things. They moved west with the expanding frontier and poured their energy into establishing farms, cities, churches, and industries where there had been woodland, swamp, and prairie. They founded the “little platoons” for which America was once famous. They turned the United States into a world power unrivaled in human history. Few of them lived extraordinary lives, but they didn’t need to: The ordinary was good enough.

    We are the victims of their success. What’s left to be explored? What remains to be accomplished? What isn’t yet built? We’ve innovated ourselves out of even the basic human goods: family, friendship, community — all made obsolete by the Internet or else commodified on the app market. Our material needs are met. Food and clothing is just a mouse-click away. High culture is gone, and woke culture is in. Our scholars have nothing better to do than deconstructing their own disciplines and seeking out novel ways to be offended. Our architecture consists of endless repetition of the same drab modernist tropes. Our cinema recycles the same storylines year after year. Our artists would rather shock than beautify — and they fail at even that, since we’ve seen it all by now. We’re alienated from our history, yet somehow stuck in the tar pit of our recent past.

    Plenty of people in our generation still want life’s ordinary blessings. We want spouses. We want children. We want to be regulars somewhere. We want places of our own. But the means by which generation after generation realized these goods are gone. The scaffolding has collapsed.

    The real task isn’t to convince 25-year-olds that they should want a home. The real task is to teach them how to build (and maintain) a home in a world intent on destroying it.

    You said the bad word – victim. You are channeling destructiveness from wherever you are getting your info. Please disconnect. There are many many in your age group and a bit older who are discovering life on their terms. We love HGTV, and the many in your age group who are finding dirt cheap vintage homes and restoring them. They love the original finishes and character – Americana.

    The Internet is your worst enemy. Look to your ancestors. Go outside – plant a garden – learn a new skill (at least once a year). Read old books and history. You have it WAY better than those who went before you – especially my family – who survived WWII, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and overcame with little to start with. Think about that.

    I do love seeing that on GHTV. I am actually one of those young people with a 110 year old fixer-upper.  I love your advice–look to our ancestors, read old books, garden, etc. I completely agree. These are lovely.

    • #34
  5. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I’ll also add something else: my grandparents escaped destruction and fled to the US. They were Ukrainian and Polish (both my mother and father’s ancestry). They escaped a ruined Poland that was absorbed into Russia. There is nothing to like in communism, fascism, or Nazism. Beware of socialism – it has many disguises. It can come upon a sleeping world in a day. Watch Afghanistan – this is a good lesson. Live your life and make every minute count for something good including helping others.

    Amen!!

    • #35
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Some things are eternal.  Feeling that one’s generation has it harder than the previous generations, and that the best of times are behind us.  Then later feeling like one’s generation is the last one to value hard work and discipline.  Feeling like surely we must be living in the end of days.  I suspect a lot of things that people think they are unique in feeling, are actually things humans have been lamenting for a thousand years.  But I’d want to ask @arahant to be sure.

    • #36
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Joy Pullman, on reasons for hope.

    Which include opportunities for action and difference-making.

    • #37
  8. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Manny (View Comment):

    Heck I’m 59 and I’m disillusioned. I think it’s the times we’re in. My disillusionment started with the Obama presidency. The nation has drifted so far left it is unrecognizable. We are firmly now a center-left country in all aspects of the country, which has disillusioned me. When I say all aspects of the country I’m mean fiscally, socially, religiously, militarily, and so on. When gay marriage is an accepted norm now, you know the country is not what it was. I didn’t sign up for this.

    This may sound like a stupid question, so take it from an old timer, but what does VR stand for? ;)

    Virtual Reality :)

    • #38
  9. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla and Kephatholos,

    You’re two of the young, I’m one of the old.

    My responsibility is at least to ensure that you know ‘what is the problem?’, ‘what is the question?’

    I think you have the question right, so I can die happy.

    And Mark will help you with your grammar – enough with 3 letters of the alphabet to describe a word or phrase. Pet peeve: when your phone or Internet finishes a word, fills in a sentence, interprets a wrong word. I can think for myself and I want to remember how to spell…..

    • #39
  10. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I mean, I agree with a lot of this, but people who are more pessimistic than I am make me insist on finding reasons for optimism. Pessimism never feels difficult.

    I’m somewhat ashamed for being this pessimistic but things don’t look good right now, and not just because of Afghanistan. The debacle will certainly lead to conservative political victories in the next 2-4 years, but the problems are not fixable politically. The problem lies with at least half the country that have a very different vision and values that were once the bedrock of the nation. 

    • #40
  11. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Manny (View Comment):

    The problem lies with at least half the country that have a very different vision and values that were once the bedrock of the nation. 

    Amen.

    • #41
  12. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment): You said the bad word – victim. You are channeling destructiveness from wherever you are getting your info. Please disconnect. There are many many in your age group and a bit older who are discovering life on their terms. We love HGTV, and the many in your age group who are finding dirt cheap vintage homes and restoring them. They love the original finishes and character – Americana.

    The Internet is your worst enemy. Look to your ancestors. Go outside – plant a garden – learn a new skill (at least once a year). Read old books and history. You have it WAY better than those who went before you – especially my family – who survived WWII, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and overcame with little to start with. Think about that.

    You’re merely making my point.

    Making it in today’s world can still be done, but you might not be able to make it on the terms you want.  The company I work for pays crane operators $40/hour, and they get overtime.  Carpenters make $25-$30.  We had an equipment operator who probably earned $80k/year.  Most construction companies are begging for help.  You do what you have to do to get by.

    • #42
  13. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    That’s great! I hope you are socking away money to pay for the $244,000 you are on the hook for.

    Promises that can’t be kept won’t be. 

    Plan accordingly.

    • #43
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    No. Move to Fargo, North Dakota. Good jobs. Affordable homes. Safe neighborhoods. An intact, thriving downtown. 

    It’s a big country. And there are lots of Fargos.

    Hear hear.

    • #44
  15. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):
    Have you ever read, “The gods of the Copy Book Headings” ?

    Every 25 year old should.

    Too bad no “influencer” suggests it.

    Kipling is full of wisdom.

    • #45
  16. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Feeling that one’s generation has it harder than the previous generations, and that the best of times are behind us. 

    I thought I felt that as I approached my 1st retirement. I was disabused of the notion as I watched the Airmen I worked with help out with my retirement logistics.

    The talk I gave was a thank you to them in the assurance that my beloved Air Force was in good hands. Theirs.

    • #46
  17. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Promises that can’t be kept won’t be. 

    Plan accordingly.

    If that happens, any paper you have in the bank is going to be worthless, too.  We do have a little silver laid by.

    • #47
  18. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Promises that can’t be kept won’t be.

    Plan accordingly.

    If that happens, any paper you have in the bank is going to be worthless, too. We do have a little silver laid by.

    The Mayor Pete folks have an eye on “excess retirement” savings.  

    • #48
  19. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Promises that can’t be kept won’t be.

    Plan accordingly.

    If that happens, any paper you have in the bank is going to be worthless, too. We do have a little silver laid by.

    The Mayor Pete folks have an eye on “excess retirement” savings.

    That’ll probably start a war.

    • #49
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Promises that can’t be kept won’t be.

    Plan accordingly.

    If that happens, any paper you have in the bank is going to be worthless, too. We do have a little silver laid by.

    The Mayor Pete folks have an eye on “excess retirement” savings.

    That’ll probably start a war.

    They believe that politics is a generational thing. They are, so they keep telling us, the rising demographic.  

    • #50
  21. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Instugator (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    No. Move to Fargo, North Dakota. Good jobs. Affordable homes. Safe neighborhoods. An intact, thriving downtown.

    It’s a big country. And there are lots of Fargos.

    Hear hear.

    Fargo, ND.  Good jobs, Affordable homes.  And only 1,475 miles to Sea Isle City. 

    The Computer says 22 hours and 8 minutes.  I say, put my little Brown-Eyed Beauty behind the wheel.  She takes loose talk like that as a challenge.  Never seen her fall.

    • #51
  22. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us?  Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    • #52
  23. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us? Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    I trust Mikayla.

    • #53
  24. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us? Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    I trust Mikayla.

    Well, to be honest…so do I.  I really just meant that it was a pleasant surprise to hear a young person say that, and I was using an attempt at humor to express it.

    • #54
  25. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us? Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    I trust Mikayla.

    • #55
  26. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us? Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    No, I genuinely think that would be the best way forward. I am ,of course,  just a person and liable to lose sight of this at times–but it is the ideal. 

     

     

    • #56
  27. Mikayla Goetz Contributor
    Mikayla Goetz
    @Mikayla Goetz

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz (View Comment):

    @ DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Blaming the “Boomers” is lazy excuse that many use for not taking responsibility for getting off one’s duff and accomplishing something. In my little corner of the cosmos I am kind of extraordinary. Few things are going my way, but there are more opportunities to do good than than I have the capacity to meet.

    I think the only productive path forward will be taking full responsibility for our own lives and, in the spirit of what you said, meeting the opportunities and challenges we are presented.

    Did you say that just for us? Because if you don’t really mean it, we may live long enough to find out, and we will call you on it.

    I trust Mikayla.

    Well, to be honest…so do I. I really just meant that it was a pleasant surprise to hear a young person say that, and I was using an attempt at humor to express it.

    I so appreciate your trust and your humor :)

     

    • #57
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