Generation Y grew up in a bubble of PC feel-goodery that cushioned them from the monster of reality. As a member of Gen Y, I received first-hand experience with this bubble. It gave us a participation award when we sucked at sports. When we were fat, it told us we were big-boned. When we were sad, we had depression—manic depression when we were moody. It even invented ADHD when we wouldn’t pay attention. And more members of Gen Y have taken Xanax than have been snowboarding because, to us, the unknown is scarier than hurling down a mountain.
As we grew up and our problems inevitably broadened, the bubble swelled to keep pace. When we can’t get laid, it tells us we’re too nice. When we can’t make money, it tells us we’re too noble. When we kill ourselves in car crashes, it claims we’re too good for this world.
Now we’re told we will never be tough because we never had to battle for anything. They may be right. I have it on good authority that Glee, the Gen Y bubble’s last stand, even suggests dodgeball is a form of bullying.
But in this wussiness we find our own battle. It’s not a battle to defeat a real enemy; it’s a battle to get in touch with reality.
My generation’s fight is the fight to wake up. It’s to realize that we suck at sports because we’re soft; we’re fat because we eat Cheetos; we have ADHD because we don’t choose to focus; we’re moody because we don’t filter our thoughts; and we’re sad because we’re in bereavement for reality.
My generation needs to fight our Birkenstock-clad therapists. We need to fight our union-castrated teachers. We may even need to fight our parents, because unconditional love is the last thing someone who feels the world should love them unconditionally needs.
My generation needs to fight to realize we’re not born special. We’re born a crying, pooping, helpless mess—nothing special about that. If we want to be special, then we need to make ourselves special. Even then you’re not that special, and the effort usually isn’t worth it.
My generation needs to fight to realize that the Occupy movement, if it wasn’t an orgy of self-pitying envy, would be protesting in front of the White House and the Capitol Building.
And my generation needs to fight every urge to blame false demons for our cultural bankruptcy. Kim Kardashian is famous because we yearn for her entitled life. Justin Bieber is The Monkees who sings his own songs. And Twilight is The Little Mermaid.
To win this battle is simple, yet difficult. The simple part is coming to terms with our free will by stating these three words: “I am responsible.” It’s melodramatic to say these words out loud, but when dodgeball is at stake, we cannot take any chances. The difficult part is meaning it, thereby coming to terms with the fact that our every whine, bitch, and moan is of our own doing. The shame diminishes when we realize a bruised self-image is healthier than keeping our thumbs up our asses.
Like any war, Gen Y’s battle for reality will have its casualties. Some of us will have to bite our lips and keep our problems to ourselves. Previous generations called this “pleasant conversation.”
If Gen Y isn’t ready to focus our lens of blame and criticism on ourselves, we can at least turn off Glee and play a game of dodgeball—just so long as the winners win, the losers lose, and nobody gets a participation award.
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